Dec. 28 will mark the inaugural celebration of National Short Film Day, commemorating the day when the Lumière brothers projected a program of short films to a public audience for the first time.
In support of the impact of short films and of their long and enduring history, Film Movement has registered the observance with National Day Calendar and the Registrar proclaimed the day to be observed on Dec. 28, annually.
It was in 1895 at the Grand Café in Paris. Two brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, lit a spark of fascination in front of a paying audience of 33 customers that would ignite the world’s obsession with cinema.
The two pioneers presented 10 short films, each about 50 seconds in length, to the amazement of all those in attendance. The experience of watching movies came alive that day, and it all began with those first 10 short films.
Today, short films come in many genres, lengths and styles. They entertain us with animation, fantasy, comedy and drama. They also inform and educate us through documentary subjects that provide revealing insights into real life stories we may have never known before. In short, short films continue to move us, just as they did that first time more than 120 years ago.
To help observe National Short Film Day, on Dec. 28 and every Short Film Day thereafter, Film Movement will stream 10 short films for free on its signature streaming service, Film Movement Plus (FilmMovementPlus.com) and offer new subscribers exclusive membership discounts.
This year’s acclaimed and award-winning films from around the globe include:
“Driving Lessons”; 2012; director: Elodie Lélu, Belgium; French with English subtitles. In this short comedy/drama, Manon’s mother forces her to take her garrulous grandmother along to her driving lesson. Already out of sorts, the 17-year-old finds out she’s pregnant just moments before taking the wheel. (14 minutes).
“Feral”; 2012; director: Daniel Sousa, U.S. Nominated for Best Animated Short at both the Academy Awards and Sundance, this fantastical short follows the adventures of a wild boy found in the woods by a solitary hunter and brought back to civilization. Alienated by a strange new environment, the boy tries to adapt by using the same strategies that kept him safe in the forest. (13 minutes)
“Finale”; 2011; director: Balazs Simonyi, Hungary; Hungarian with English subtitles. Two suspiciously well-dressed men have a few drinks in a bar and then ominously head off into the night to finish a mysterious job in this comedic short film. (8 minutes)
“Job Interview”; 2013; director: Julia Walter, Germany; German with English subtitles. When Lisa applies for a job, everything seems to be turning out pretty well. Until the boss Marie starts asking strange questions and the job interview turns out to be a little different than expected. (10 minutes)
“Le Ballon de Rouge”; 2012; director: Sylvain Bressollette, France; French with English subtitles. Paris, France, 1963. A couple have an argument in a bar. A young man sitting nearby hears the man threaten his wife (Lou de Laâge). When a speaker announces the assassination of President JFK, everybody stands up and moves closer to the bar to hear the news again. The young man takes the opportunity to talk to the girl and tells her what life together could be if she runs away with him, now. (20 minutes)
“Social Butterfly”; 2013; director: Lauren Wolkstein, U.S. A 30-year-old American woman (Anna Margaret Hollyman) enters a teenage party in the south of France. Some of the guests wonder who she is and what she is doing there in this maverick indie nominated for Best Short Film at both Sundance and SXSW. (14 minutes)
“The Amber Amulet”; 2012,; director: Matthew Moore, Australia. In this winner of the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film at Berlin, the Masked Avenger can make things happen. Though only 10, he has already proved himself highly effective in the pursuit of peace on Franklin Street. This is the story of a superhero, a beagle, an amulet made of amber and the potential that is locked inside all of us. This drama is based on Craig Silvey’s novella of the same name. (23 minutes)
“The Gunfighter”; 2014; director: Eric Kissack, U.S. In the tradition of classic westerns, a narrator (Nick Offerman) sets up the story of a lone gunslinger who walks into a saloon. However, the people in this saloon can hear the narrator and the narrator may just be a little bit bloodthirsty. (9 minutes)
“The Land of Heroes”; 2011; director: Sahim Omar Kalifa, Belgium, Iraq. All 10-year-old Dileer and his sister Zienee want to do is watch cartoons, but they must contend with TV propaganda, collecting used weapons for their mother to resell and their bullying cousin. Winner of Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, this drama is in Kurdish and Arabic with English subtitles. (19 minutes)
“The Queen”; 2013; director: Manuel Abramovich, Argentina; Spanish with English subtitles. Lost in a world of grown-ups, young Memi is torn between the glamour of the carnival pageant and the social pressure to become a winner in this award-winning Argentinian documentary short. (19 minutes)
Founded in 2002, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide.
Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent.
In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola.