Short films tell some of cinema’s most moving, emotional and life-changing stories. They can portray a vision, communicate an ideology, highlight a political viewpoint, or simply showcase a director’s style through profound storytelling.
As artists, film directors have their own individual style and often have signature trademarks. You may have noticed these nuances in big Hollywood, award-winning blockbusters, but many began showcasing their unique auteur trademarks in short films.
Despite the fact that some of Hollywood’s biggest directors have made incredible, impactful and inspirational short films, this is a cinematic art form that rarely gets the recognition it deserves. However, with award season upon us and some amazing nominated short films, it has provided an opportunity to look at some of the best from our favourite directors.
Arguably one of the most famous and successful directors in Hollywood, Spielberg is known for directing Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park. Much of his work features troubled relationships between parents and their children, with particular focus on the father-son dynamic.
His first work, a short film called ‘The Last Gun’ was no exception. Set around a teenage boy who is orphaned after the death of his parents, this short from 1959 had many of the hallmarks of a Spielberg film and helped to launch his career.
Guillermo del Toro
Known for his dark and fantasy-based work, Guillermo del Toro is an exceptionally talented director. As an artist who treats the extraordinary as ordinary, he incorporates fantastical elements into his stories in a unique and profound way. This can be seen one of his best loved works, Pan’s Labyrinth, but his signature style was evident even in his earliest work.
Released in 1987, del Toro’s short film ‘Geometria’ explored the ordinary within the extraordinary, when a school buy struggling with geometry calls upon a demon. Written in Spanish, this short film highlights his fascination with the bizarre.
Master of the gothic, Tim Burton has directed some of the most influential gothic films of modern cinema. Instantly recognisable, Burton has delivered award winning cinema, including live-action, such as Edward Scissorhands, and animated features, like the well-received Corpse Bride.
Known for his unique style of animation, Burton started his career as an animator at Disney, helping him to hone is individual style. He perfected his vision many years ago, with shorts like ‘Tim’s Dreams’ in 1972 and ‘Vincent’ in 1982.
One of the most influential British directors, Guy Ritchie is best known for creating gritty, fast-paced crime films. His characters are his trademark, all of which are diverse and well developed, such as Mickey O’Neil from Snatch.
His short, ‘Star’, was no exception, with excellent character development and his trademark closeups. But he also has another lesser known personal obsession that he tries to incorporate where possible: cycling. He even recently starred in a short film about his favourite pastime.
Favoured by film school students and huge Hollywood directors alike, short films are an important part of cinema that deserve more recognition. These awesome examples only just skim the surface of this incredible art form.