The birth of the motion picture industry is celebrated on National Short Film Day on December 28. In particular, this holiday commemorates the event when a public audience viewed a series of short films for the first time ever. Since then, people have experienced love, tragedy, and drama through movies. Accessible to all, and the best in visual entertainment, movies allow viewers to live vicariously through different characters and stories.
History of National Short Film Day
There was no one person behind the invention of cinema. However, there were a few people integral to its take-off and success. In 1891, a prototype of the kinetoscope was demonstrated successfully by the Edison Company. This device allowed the viewing of motion pictures by one person at a time. Three years later, the kinetoscope became a sensation and led to the establishment of public parlors worldwide.
It was the Lumière brothers who presented moving pictures through a projector for the first time to a paying audience of 33 people in Paris, France in 1895. The contraption used for playing the films was their own invention, the ‘Cinématographe’, which was a 3-in-1 camera, projector, and printer. The two brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumière ignited the world’s fascination with cinema. 10 short films were projected, each of them just under a minute in length. This was an extraordinary moment in history, as the seed of ‘watching movies’ was planted on this day. Fast-forward to the present day, and we have short films in various styles, genres, and duration. Not only do short films entertain, but they are also a quick way to educate and inform on subjects through storytelling. These documentary films provide insight into the lives of real people around the world.
National Short Film Day was initiated by Film Movement on December 28, 2019. Established in 2002, Film Movement is the distributor of many award-winning indie films set in New York City. With more than 250 shorts and feature films in their portfolio, their movies have been played at distinguished film festivals worldwide. National Short Film Day was created to mark the importance and resilience of the great short-film industry.
National Short Film Day timeline
Edison and Dickson invent the Kinetoscope, a motion-picture camera.
With a duration of only 2.11 seconds, “Roundhay Garden Scene” is the earliest-known short film that has survived.
A different holiday, Short Film Day is initiated by Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée in France.
Film Movement restores classic films with the reissuing of their Film Movement Classics label.
National Short Film Day FAQs
What is a good length for a short film?
A short film’s duration can range from 15 seconds to 40 minutes. Filmmakers suggest that the shorter, the better, otherwise you might as well just make a full-length feature.
What is the shortest film ever?
At 1 minute, 41 seconds, “Fresh Guacamole” is the shortest film produced that was nominated for an Academy Award.
What are other names for short films?
Short films are also sometimes called short subjects. They are also known as avant-garde films.
National Short Film Day Activities
Watch short films
Take your pick! Watch award-winning short films on YouTube, or be a purist and watch the classics.
Make your own short film
Make short videos and edit and compile them using easily available editing tools for your computer and even your smartphone.
Host a short film night
National Short Film Day is a relatively new holiday. Let others know about it by hosting a movie night featuring short films.
5 Facts About Filmmaking That Will Blow Your Mind
A musical band would be present
As most of the early short films were silent, a band would sometimes play live music during the playback of the movie.
The panorama shot
Cameras had to be moved entirely by hand or with a tripod to capture movement. The introduction of panning cameras created the panorama shot, which proved revolutionary for filmmaking.
Only 16 frames per second
Early cameras filmed at the sluggish speed of 16 frames per second.
A standard reel of film measuring 1,000 feet long will produce only 11 minutes of video, if set at 25 frames per second.
Titanic, the blockbuster
With a runtime of over three hours, the movie Titanic had 17.7 projection reels. That’s over 17,700 feet of film!
Why We Love National Short Film Day
Exploring the human spectrum of emotion
Short films invoke every single emotion in us today, just as they did when they were first introduced.
The birth of short films meant the birth of modern cinema. Without movies, our lives would have been entirely different. Pop culture wouldn’t exist, neither would meme culture or even celebrities.
We simply love films
We love National Short Film Day simply because we are film buffs and enjoy entertainment in all its forms. It is a medium for expression and we are all for it!
National Short Film Day dates