Three thoughts on short film and short film festival

The rapidly increase in the number of film festivals and the film markets segments improve to the development of specialized film festivals. According to the categories, they are divided into identity-based festival (such as LGBT/Queer film festival and Women’s film festival), genre-based festival (including film genre, type, length and social concern), as well as national and regional showcases. After watching the Best MIFF Shorts in 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), I have several thoughts on short film which is one of the genre-based specialized films and also, on short film festival.

Short of What

Since the early 1920s, the short film has been the format of preference for (new or) modern idea in the film. With its shorter production time, cheaper production funding and more suitable screening length for audiences’ attention span, short films remains an importance as same as it was 100 years ago (Walde and Canciani 2018). Actually, the first film Train Pulling into a Station released in 1895 was a simply and short film with only 50 seconds. Shown a train pulled by a steam arriving at the train station of the French coastal town of La Ciotat, while folks of Lumiéres factory were waiting for. The reality is however that short films are on the edge of culture as well as lack support (Testro 47). Also, as Testro noted, short films are usually defined as stepping stones by young filmmakers to go ahead their careers (47).


Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (The Lumière Brothers, 1895)

Short for Whom

Instead of thinking quantifiable patterns, for some short film festivals, they are taking qualitative as the standard. In other words, the self-image, desire, programs and curatorial style become standards to measure a festival rather than the amount of film submissions and visitors (Walde and Canciani 2018). While this transition seems a positive trend, if too often develop films with the self-style, the audience – the most important group – would probably be ignored. Also, fun, another factor in the film should not be forgotten (Testro 49). Short films in MIFF this year, for instance, are not attractive to audiences. Although those films contain a lot of thinking elements yet lack of laughing. Talking more in detail, both seven films selected by MIFF this year have won awards in other famous (short) film festivals; however, all films are based on gloomy background and lowering soundtrack which strongly affected audiences’ viewing experiences.

Why Shorts

An interesting relation has existed between short films and students. Since the emergence of the film schools in the 1960s, short films are usually used by students who need to practice (Walde and Canciani 2018). Testro also mentioned that many short films (especially for those reflect youth issues) are produced by films student (47). As a result, short films as well as festivals are considered as an education and training tool. On the one hand, some short film festivals, such as Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival, has established several projects, including educational workshop, youth screening and short film festival training. On the other hand, considering people are able to remember 80% of what they see, hear and say (316); short film as a diverse teaching method (320) as well as one of the audio-visual tools has also been used in high school and university for multimedia education (317), according to Kabadayi. Thus those are discussed above are also the meaning of our short film festivals.

The biggest international short film festival and holding annually in Clermont-Ferrand, France. (be known as Short Film Cannes)

By Lu


Davidson, Rjurik, and Lucas Testro. “Go short: recent Australia short film.” Metro, no. 165, 2010, pp. 46-52. EBSCOhost Communication & Mass Media Complete,

Holboom, Michael. “Nine thoughts on short films”. KurzfilmMagazin, 31 October. 2001,

Kabadayi, Lale. “The role of short film in education.” Proccdia Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 47, 2012, pp. 316-320. Elsevier ScienceDirect, doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.657

Walde, Laura, and John Canciani. “Tendencies in short film and the task and mission of short film festivals”. KurzfilmMagazin, 19 April. 2018,

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