Short films and their history are deeply connected with how film in general evolved. When film as recording medium was invented, the length of a single spool limited how long a film presentation could last. Early film theaters, on fairs or as attraction thus featured very brief films, mostly comedies or other content made for a specific effect, like impressing the audience. The tradition of 5-15 minutes film comedies carried on when animation short films or cartoons became popular. During the 1930s and the vast changes in how US cinema distribution worked, short films were packaged with longer running feature films and shortfilm segments were commonly shown alongside the main attraction feature film. Apart from fictional content in animated short films, a great number of short content exhibited in cinemas was newsreels or other casual footage which today is mostly associated with television.
Short Film databaseClipland is a database dedicated to short form media and focused on short film. Since the early days of the medium, distribution of short film has dramatically changed. In mainstream cinema, short films are more or less not existent anymore. The short film circuit has detached and is now mainly shown in art-house cinemas and as part of festival or special programming on TV. The Internet has become one of the main outlets for short film productions, while many festivals and awards like the Academy Award still require a short film to be shown in theaters to qualify for the category of short subject - short subject being more of an industry term for live action short films and their animated variant.
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