Short film

A short film (English short ( film) or short subject) is defined as the counterpart of the full-length film exclusively through its length. A film that is up to 30 minutes may apply as a short film, where the term was generated to be only around 1915. A short film can thus just like the full-length feature film serve all film genres.

  • 3.1 New opportunities through the Internet
  • 4.1 Selected Short Film Festival
  • 4.2 Funding
  • 4.3 film distributors and film distributors
  • 4.4 Associations and Institutions


Short film in early Hollywood

The story of the short film started in the early days of cinema. At that time, basically all the movies " short films " because they consisted of an act. This changed with D. W. Griffiths Judith of Bethulia ( 1914) and The Birth of a Nation (1915 ). The late 1920s were films with a duration of one to two hours, no longer a rarity. What remained were certain categories of films, such as cartoons or comedy, especially slapstick. In these categories, the short film was still a power base. For many film studios short films also offered the opportunity for experimentation. However, over the years, the studios lost interest in short films. Compared to full-length films, the short film was in bad shape. It was television that brought the short film in Hollywood on the case. On one side of the audience, the production costs became smaller, on the other hand, higher - and thus it was no longer possible to support the medium Short. The cinema chains they did not want to, because you through television tried by competition to accommodate as much film screenings as possible in one day - so that was the short films of the space taken away as a program filler. Thus, it came to an end of the short film in Hollywood, brought about by the same reasons, by which he had originated at the beginning: economic conditionality.

The short film outside of Hollywood

In the 30 years the gap between film as art and film as business grew. After the Second World War, more and more filmmakers began to experiment with the usual conventions of "normal " film.

With " Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943 ) Maya shook Its the basic form of cinematic storytelling. This is one of the most important and influential works of experimental cinema and the avant-garde movement in the American film industry. Dissatisfied with the formulaic style of the popular Hollywood cinema, also other filmmakers made ​​in the 50 years to revolutionize the language of film in their own way. In this decade, he also wrote his first display equipment for such unconventional work. The 60s were then the heyday of experimental short film. But in the early 70s was from the theaters so-called multiplexes, which focused primarily on materials from Hollywood.

The American short film from 1970

In the 1970s, the first film department created at the universities in America. Through this film schools and the growing number of international festivals a kind of new genre emerged in the short film milieu: the "calling card" film. Most modern short films by film students are not experimental, but have a narrative structure. These films should demonstrate above all the skills of a student. Many now -famous directors started out small, such as Steven Spielberg ( " Amblin ' " ), George Lucas ( "THX 1138:4 EB (Electronic Labyrinth ) " ) and Martin Scorsese ( "The Big Shave "). Often short films are only one way to make a name for himself in the film industry, and to finally be able to realize a long movie. Because ultimately are long films that terrain where you will find money and fame. However, short films also offer renowned directors the chance to experiment without greater financial pressure. However, there is still a frame by one finds experimental short films music videos - they are the most obvious and most popular form of non-narrative short film.


The length of a short film is usually less than 30 minutes. However, the boundaries are not clearly defined here. In short film festivals often have different length limits apply. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences provides a film having a length less than 40 minutes as a short film. The International Film Festival Berlin define the maximum length of a short film, depending on section 15 to 30 minutes. The German Short Film Award, the limitations to 7 minutes to 30 minutes. As part of the German film Promotion Act, a short film has a Vorführdauer including opening and closing credits of at least one and at most 15 minutes.

Reception today

In common usage, the term short film is now also used frequently in the context of non-commercial film projects. In many cases, the short film is also equated because of its popularity among filmmakers learning, with the student film.

Meanwhile, the short film is, however, much like its literary counterpart, the short story, conceived as a genre with specific expression. Due to its brevity opened the short film filmmakers artistic possibilities that are missing from the feature film. So also successful directors of movies sometimes come back to the short film format. Through the introduction of the DVD, the short film pleased as DVD addition of a certain popularity and thus provides an additional offer for special editions.

Despite the difficult situation in the commercial cinema of the short film is recognized as a separate category of major film awards. At the Academy Awards Academy Awards in three different categories will be awarded only for short films ( short fiction, animation, short film, short documentary film).

For special short film projects create directors (partly in a competitive situation ) short films about a given topic, which are then presented as a whole feature length. Major projects are 11'09 "01 - September 11 (2002), Ten Minutes Older (2002) and the 99 Euro Films ( 2001) In the latter project is not allowed to film in the production cost more than 99 Euros The thematic concatenation of several. . done short films, an episodic film arise, so in homage to Paris Paris, je t'aime famous directors such as Tom Tykwer and the Coen brothers.

A special feature is the experimental project The Five Obstructions (2003) by Jørgen Leth. For each of the five short film episodes made ​​him the filmmaker Lars von Trier restrictions and stipulations that had to turn in the film the director.

New opportunities through the Internet

By sharing sites and download portals on the Internet, the short film since 1995 a revival. In this new medium, he plays from his home advantage of brevity, and can be sometimes just copied sooner or friends shown on the computer. Have achieved the short films like the German Forklift Driver Klaus, or the Polish Katedra of Baginski The international notoriety, would not have been possible without a copy on the internet. Movies like the Adicolor series Bernards or Blue Screen of Death show that with this new generation of short films, the border advertising and podcasts blurred. While movies are sold barely legal in normal length on the internet at present, the short film on the Internet has reached the market and has a presence on YouTube, Vimeo and many download portals. The organizers of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival even published short films were selected in the program on their website. Using the dissemination through the Internet short films have won a certain extent their appeal back, which also became interested in it again some cinemas or private TV station, and again showed short films in their program. Because of this new sales opportunities, there is a real chance for filmmakers to make short films with a little money. Whether short films can ever be commercially now, and there will be people who can live on, however, is very questionable. But there will be they will continue - whether it is to create art or as an introduction to the film industry.

Festivals and organizations

Selected Short Film Festival


  • International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
  • Hamburg Short Film Agency

Film distributors and film distributors

  • Inter Film Berlin, Short Film Festival & Rentals, DVD releases
  • Hamburg Short Film Agency, Short Sales, Short Film Festival & Rentals, DVD releases, DVD Download
  • W-film Cologne, short film cinema the label NIGHT OF THE SHORTS
  • Future Shorts (UK)
  • The Short Film Distribution
  • Sixpack hire ( rental for short films, experimental video, animation and documentary films from Austria )

Associations and Institutions

  • Short Film AG, Federal Association of German Short Film
  • German Short Film Award traveling, cinema tour of the nominated and awarded the German Short Film Award Movies

Short films on German television and the Internet

The oldest forum for short films on German television, the magazine is short on ARTE, which now has over 450 broadcast programs (as of early 2011 ). 3sat shows regular short film nights program to accompany the Short Film Festival Oberhausen. The third show programs regularly to later time short film nights, such as the WDR with kurzundschön, hr with fresh film - Night of the student films, or SWR short film. The transmitter BR shows several times a year short film nights, which are grouped around a particular topic.

The TV channel 13th Street shows in the series Shocking Shorts short films in the genres of action, crime, thriller, mystery and horror. In this context, the Shocking Shorts Award is awarded. Under the label DVDs are published. In commercially oriented private television there for short films generally have little place at irregular intervals the channel Tele 5 shows short films from the Shocking Shorts series. The regional television RNF shows since March 2010 his short film magazine Bermuda Shorts short films from the region Rhein -Neckar.

Another exception is the music videos shown on the music channels.