A short film (also short or short subject) is a motion picture that is shorter than the average feature film. Definition of maximum length vary from 40 minutes (AMPAS rule) to about 80 minutes. The short-form film is to the full length film what the short story is to a full-fledged novel.
The short film, in theatrical environment usually shown prior to the feature, is usually less complex and covers only one main or a limited number of narrative arcs and threads. Most films of this genre focus on one character or show one special incident. The structure often resembles that of a joke or stories usually told by word of mouth. The short film is able to focus on difficult topics full-length films usually avoid. Its filmmakers benefit from larger freedoms and can take higher risks with their films.
The genre itself splits into several sub-categories, mainly:
- Live action short
- Animated short (hand-drawn or CGI)
- Documentary short subject
- Experimental or abstract short films
Today short films are usually shown on dedicated short-film festivals rather than prior to features (a habit Pixar seems to change). They are popular as first steps into the cinematic art among young filmmakers. As well, short film making is growing in popularity among users outside the traditional short film scene who are taking advantage of broadband Internet connections and affordable equipment such as "prosumer" or semi-professional cameras (now costing under USD 3,000) and PCs with free or low-cost software capable of video editing, post-production work, and DVD authoring.
The roots of the short film genre lie deep in cinematic history itself. The earliest examples of motion pictures were short films. The first shows of the brothers Lumière were merely a few minutes long. It took several years until the multi-reel film and later the full-length film took over.
- AtomFilms a popular short film portal and one of the pioneers on the net
- iFilm No.2 in short films on the net
- At Confession Independent Short Film
- the9th short quicktime movies
- Clipland Short Film database of nearly 10,000 films
- Hypnotic on- and offline publisher of short films
- LA Freewaves experimental new media festival