Defined by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences as any film under 40 minutes, the first films in history would all qualify as shorts. The first motion picture, “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” (1895), made by the Lumiere Brothers, is only 46 seconds long.
The ’90s boom in technology saw the emergence of equipment that lowered the barrier of entry for filmmakers. Then came the Internet which allowed people outside the studio system to create and distribute their own work with unprecedented ease. The founding of You Tube in 2005 created a platform to both distribute and view short films.
Shorts provide the opportunity to digress from traditional storytelling rules of structure and continuity allowing for more innovative film interpretations as is seen in Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia’s “The Long Goodbye”, which won Best Live Action Short Film at the 2022 Academy Awards. Much of the film was improvised and propelled by the use of a rap monologue injected with intensity through its immersive filmmaking style.
Furthermore, short films may serve as proof-of-concepts seeking representation and support for feature production. Michael Matthews’ “Apocalypse Now Now” (2017), produced by XYZ Films, Be Phat Motel, Magical Illusion Factory, Redlab Digital, First Generation Films and Stage Five Films, acted as a visual presentation for “Love and Monsters” which he later directed and was released in 2020.
Short films remain an essential part of cinema, storytelling, and culture. The opportunity for audiences to discover and celebrate the medium is now more accessible than ever.
Stage Five Films supports the essential role short films play in the development of emerging filmmakers. In the past 10 years, Stage Five Films has produced six short films and is a premium South African platform for first and second-time feature film directors.
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