Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Conventions Of Short Films

Examples of a short films are Double Take directed by Toa Stappard, Sold directed by Nadia Attia, For the Love of directed by Chris Sherrif and Veronique directed by Patrick Bo.
The narrative structure of Double Take is seen as non-linear as there is a mixture of events that are happening in the present along with events that have gone on in the past. Also these events are in a non-chronological order. Another reoccurring technique used in short films such as Double Take is the open-ended ending as within a short film the directors do not have enough time to reach their endings therefore they leave some suspense on the end so no one knows the end of the film therefore audiences of short films do not have to same expectations of those of feature films as they do not expect to see a closed-ended ending. Feature films would be shown in mainstream cinemas such as vue and odeon and are funded by very successful film companies such as Warner Brothers who are the film company that funded the Harry Potter saga. 
Within these short films we see techniques used in terms of cinematography, editing, sound and mise en scene. For example in Sold it is filmed using high key lighting to add realism to the film. Even though there is elements of surrealism within the film as the TV is almost talking directly to the protagonist. Another short film which incorporates some more cinematography techniques is For the Love of which includes a voice over and challenges traditional conventions of a normal mainstream film as the image and voice over contrast with each other. A convention we see in short films is Kinetic handheld camera work as this adds a greater realistic element to these low budget films such as in Cherries directed by Tom Harper and in Double Take. The style of this kinetic handheld camera work can be said to be very similar to that of a documentary this again adds towards the realism of these short films. Feature films would normally be filmed with celluloid film which improves the colours of the film and makes the film appear more glossy and glamorous for example as seen in many Hollywood films such as Sex and the City.
Themes explored in British short films raise awareness and provoke discussions on social issues and comment on moral, ethical and political issues. Examples of these themes and issues raised are seen in short films such as Cherries which is a dystopian film set in the near future has elements that the British audience could relate to within contemporary British society such as the wars going on in Afghanistan, Iran and Russia. Another issue raised in British society is about consumerism as these days you can pretty much buy anything and even buy musical success as shows such as X-Factor promote this view in contemporary Britain. We also see a lack of community within Nadia Attia's sold as the protagonist comes across as being quite isolated at home alone and does not open the door to his neighbour when she knocks at his door.
Common reoccurring genres seen throughout short films are romantic comedies, social realist, dystopian films. Short films explore a wide range of genres because they are experimental as they don't have to worry about distribution and many are already established directors and just want the chance to experiment with their material in order to see if certain genres and themes would work with certain films. Such as Neil Blomkamp's Alive in Joburg was a short film that had a big budget and eventually was developed into the feature film District 9.
Another convention of short films is the fact that the actors are normally unknown because of the low budget in order to give them some exposure and credibility as actors within in the film industry.

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