It would be easy to think in an era of rapidly advancing technologies that short films are a thing of the past.
The release of James Cameron’s film Avatar sent moviegoers rushing to cinemas in record numbers to see the first ever blockbuster 3D movie.
The film still remains the highest earning Hollywood movie of all time. It is no surprise then that given the American film industry’s love for sequels and remakes that the studios have already signed up to make Avatar into a trilogy.
Avatar’s global box office success led to many raising the question of whether the 2D feature film was dead. Fortunately, the 3D buzz quickly fizzled out. A few years down the line and the great 3D revolution has floundered.
These days, only the biggest Hollywood blockbusters get a 3D release, and even then movie theatres still show a 2D version alongside.
Virtual reality has also been touted as replacing the 2D movie. While this technology is still relatively undeveloped, it promises to give audiences the most realistic sensory experience ever. Some filmmakers have already begun to make films in this exciting new medium.
But will virtual reality ever replace 2D movies?
Probably not. Even though current behavior trends show that we are spending more and more time staring into our phones rather than engaging in “traditional” forms of social behavior, we are still social creatures who need to be around other people.
The likes of Facebook hope that one day we will be content to hang out in online 3D virtual chatrooms. VR chatrooms might be a lot more convenient but they will always lack the personal physical experience we all need.
A recent study showed just how important physical contact is to us, humans. It concluded that “More Cuddling Can Make Every Couple Happier And Bring Them Closer.”
It looks likely that our trips to the local movie theatre with friends and loved ones are not likely to end anytime soon. I doubt anyone who has ever found themselves roaring with laughter alongside a whole movie theatre full of people would ever disagree.
So what about short films?
As I pointed out, technology is changing our behavior. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter thanks to the way we use our smartphones. Meanwhile, studies are showing that those of us who are regular users of Facebook are becoming increasingly unhappy and jealous of others.
Interestingly, shorter concentration spans and our increasingly hectic lives actually play into the hands of short films. A typical short film has a running time of less than 30 minutes. Filmmakers are forced to tell stories in around a quarter of the time of the average feature film.
To this end, they use clever techniques to allow them to tell the same story and elicit the same emotional responses that feature films do.
Shorts will use more dramatic ways to convey character motivation. A short flashback to a traumatic event such as an assault is enough to inform the audience of a character’s troubled past. In feature films such as Mystic River, a large portion of time is given over to showing such an event in detail to achieve the same result.
I would argue that stylistically, due to time and budget constraints, the majority of short films are actually more suitable for a modern audience that is suffering from shorter attention spans.
In part to try to counter this problem, Hollywood is adding more and more dramatic action sequences to its films. Anyone who has seen the last few The Fast and Furious movies will know exactly what I mean. I remember watching number 5 and left the cinema with my head literally spinning.
While this ever increasing adrenaline shot might suit a portion of the mainstream audience, most of us movie lovers want something more. Short films could be the answer.
Time for a Change
It is clear that after decades of neglect by movie theatres that shorts are still considered largely undesirable. With the exception of Pixar shorts, which the company insist are shown before their features, shorts are universally absent from movie theatres.
It is entirely possible that rather than showing a single feature, movie theatres could instead show 3 or 4 shorts. This would give audiences the chance to get far more entertainment from each trip to the cinema.
However, movie theatres are heavily controlled by the major Hollywood studios. And as we all know, Hollywood has never been a trendsetter.
This leaves it to the rest of us to create new trends and movements.
How Sofy.tv intends to start a short film revolution
One group of innovators who are looking to change the way we all view films is the team behind Sofy.tv. This passionate group of short film lovers believes that by making short films easily accessible they can begin a revolution.
Sofy.tv will be the Netflix of short films. The platform will be launched this week during the Cannes Film Festival. It promises to make finding and viewing short films a breeze.
All its films are presented in the best possible quality possible, while a sophisticated AI rating system automatically rates new movies so that viewers can find what they are looking for faster.
Think of all those moments in your day that you want some entertainment but don’t have time to watch a full- length feature film. A vast catalog of great short films at your fingertips that can be watched anytime and anywhere is the answer to your problems.
Many of us travel quite a distance to work by public transport and would welcome being able to watch a short movie during this time.
Alternatively, we could simply replace a feature with several short films. This would be especially good if we are watching movies with friends or family. This would give more people a choice over what films they watched. For movie lovers, each person could select a short to share with their friends, for example.
I believe that not only are shorts more suitable to the demands of modern life, but they also stand to make viewing movies more fun too. If I am right, then short films are set to make a comeback. As more and more of us decide to watch them, it will change mainstream viewing habits.
Eventually, if enough of us discover a love for watching short movies, we may begin to see short films make it back onto the big screen at our local movie theatres.
So if you are a short film lover or interested in joining the revolution, then check out Sofy.tv today.
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