Is There an Ideal Length for a Film Festival Short?
Length is always a tricky issue when it comes to short films. Some advise that you should keep them as short and sweet as possible, others say you should let them be as long as they need to be to properly tell the story. Continuing the great conversation with HollyShorts co-founder Daniel Sol, Film Courage asks with the clip below “How long should a short film be?” Click through to check it out.
It’s clear that if you make a good film, it’s going to find its way into a festival somewhere, but as Daniel mentions, length can become an issue. You might find yourself in more festivals if you make a 5 minute short versus a 15 minute one. A lot of this is simply down to the math involved. If two movies are of similar quality, and both deserve to be in the festival, it’s only logical that the shorter film has a better shot, especially if there are multiple shorter films that could be programmed in place of that one longer movie.
There is also the subject of how long a film feels. A faster cut 20 minute film may work better in a shorts program than a very slow 10 minute film. These shorts programs aren’t just about the movies in the screenings, but how the screenings as a whole are put together. If you put a bunch of very slow films together, the audience is going to get restless fast, and it’s going to make people think twice about coming next year.
So what’s the takeaway from all of these clips? Know exactly the story you’re trying to tell, and tell it as well as you possibly can. You’ve only got so much time with a short film, so it’s probably best to save the genre-bending twists and turns for a feature. If you can tell the same story in 10 minutes that you can in 20, you might have a leg-up when the films are being programmed, because there are only so many shorts that can fit into one package.
If you want to enter the HollyShorts festival, there is still time left, so head on over to their website to learn more about their submission process.
What do you guys think about short film length for festival films?