Have you ever seen a short film? The answer is most likely no. While the majority of the world’s cinema-going public has perhaps never seen a short film, there is a growing audience for those who enjoy shorts.
What’s amazing however, is that some of the world’s renowned filmmakers began their foray into film making with short films. Movie legends such as David Lynch and Chrstopher Nolan are just two names who started out their filmmaking career with short films.
As a genre, short films have gained more popularity and recognition in recent times.So what separates short films from feature-length cinema?
A short film is any film that is not lengthy enough to be considered a feature film. However, there are no set boundaries to this definition. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines them as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.”
Some of the earliest short films in the history of cinema were simple, comic films. But now the genre has evolved and covers a range of themes from social, cultural to the political. They have carved a niche both in Indian film industry and globally, as an appetizer or preview of the possibilities.
Short films in the festival circuit
Typically short films are released and premiered at film festivals and art theatres. This signifies the genre’s importance in the world of art and movies. They are also considered an initial test or benchmarking tool for younger directors, writers and actors. More often than not, short films are made on a limited budget, reducing the risk of failure. Short films present the perfect avenue for showcasing or discovering new talent.
A number of websites now have a database of short films for each genre. In fact, there are specific websites dedicated to showcase short films. Some of the greatest short films of all time include the likes of The Red Balloon, Glory at Sea, A Dog’s Life, Greener Grass, Lights Out, Alexia.
Indian short films at the Oscars
This year, several Indian films showcasing unusual stories are making bids for the coveted Oscar in the shorts category at the 2021 Academy Awards.
These include Keith Gomes’ “Shameless,”and Shaan Vyas’ “Natkhat” and Tushar Tyagi’s “Saving Chintu” in the live action short category. Saurav Vishnu’s “Tailing Pond” is vying for the documentary short subject category.
Shameless is a contemporary story about a work-from-home software engineer who is trapped by a delivery girl. While Saving Chintu is the story of an American-Indian gay couple travelling to India to adopt a child living with HIV in an orphange.
Saurav Vishnu’s Tailing Pond is a documentary that investigates the impact of uranium extraction on the health of the indigenous people of Jadugoda.
Previously, India has been nominated twice in the live action short category for The Creation of Woman and The LIttle Terrorist, whereas once for documentary short for An Encounter With Faces. The Oscar shortlist will be announced on February 9.
Here’s hoping that some of these make the short list, making India proud again.