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Film: Short Film

Page history last edited by Ryan Goble 15 years ago

Genres and Topics


This page seeks to address the short film as its own unique form of study.  Short Films are a unique genre with ties to short stories, magazine features, music videos, film and television.  Unlike many film clips or amateur YouTube videos many of the shorts featured here have professional production values, fully developed characters, rich themes and compete narrative arcs.  Many short films allow you to explore the same themes and issues found in feature films using less instructional time.  Many of these films have running times around five minutes! Whether you’re using a short as “stand alone” content or as “supplemental text” for core curriculum these films allow more time for in-depth analysis of the film's content and construction.


Short films are now widely available on the internet and remain one of the most underutilized teaching resources in K-12 & college classrooms. Many film festivals now present their content online and/or in DVD collections.  Additionally, Wholphin DVD Magazine proves the DVD short magazine has finally come of age. 


For related resources see the Poetry and Visual Culture page as well as the film resources.



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25 Brilliant Animated Short Movies

American Made - A Sikh family is stranded in the American desert and no one will pull over to jump their car. The patriarch's youngest son attributes it to the fact that they are of color and that their father is being perceived as a terrorist, due to his turban, dark complexion.  Incredibly teachable.

Atom Entertainment (formerly Atom Films) - Online short showcase now owned by MTV

Disney Short Films on iTunes

iTunes Short Films

New York Times Video

     Three Shorts about New York History

          #1: "Concrete Jumble: Meat Packing District"

          #2: "Concrete Jumble: Unnatural History of Wall Street" 

          #3: "Concrete Jumble, Instant Bowery"

Media That Matters Film Festival 

     3rd Annual   

     4th Annual + Discussion Guide

     5th AnnualDiscussion Guide

     6th Annual + Discussion Guide

     7th AnnualDiscussion Guide

     8th Annual + Discussion Guide

     Focus: Good Food  + Discussion Guide

Media That Matters Film Festival by Theme

     criminal justice

     economic justice


     family & society

     gay / lesbian

     gender / women

     health / health advocacy

     human rights




     politics / government

     racial justice

     religious freedom


The My Hero Short Film Festival (documentary shorts) 

PBS Independent Lens (documentary shorts) 

Pangea Day Film FestivalOnline Film Archive

Pixar Short Films on iTunes

Shorts International Films on iTunes

Stories of Us - A unique series of film-based education resources for supporting students, educators and the broader community in addressing the problem of bullying in schools.

Story Of Stuff - Pre-dating National Geographic’s “The Human Footprint” this short documentary.  Described on the website: The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.



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Academy Award Nominated Shorts: 20042005, 2006, 2007 

Cinema 16: British Short Films, European Short Films (2007), American Short Films, World Short Films

Filmmovement.com presents: Art of the Short Film (2006)Festival Short Collection (2009)

Full Frame Short Documentary Film FestivalVol 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5

Media That Matters Film Festival: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7thGood Food, 8th

Pixar Short Film Collection Vol #1 

The Official Selections: Featuring the Best Short Films from the Sundance Film Festival (2003)

Resfest Vol 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3

Short Cinema Journal - This short-lived Warner Brothers DVD magazine from the late 1990's has many issues available used at Amazon.  See complete listing of issues and themes here.

Shorts! Film Festival CollectionVol. 1Vol. 2Vol. 3Vol. 4

The Short Films of David Lynch (2002) - Descriptions of shorts at Amazon.

Wholphin DVD Magazine: Issue 1Issue 2Issue 3Issue 4Issue 5Issue 6Issue 7, Issue 8 



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Black Girl (1966) Dir: Ousmane Sembene - Short Story "The Promised Land" by Ousmane Sembene collected in Tribal Scars and Other Stories

"The Hunger Artist" (1997), USA, Dir: Tom Gibbons - Short Story "The Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka

"An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" (1962), Italy, Dir: Robert Enrico - Short Story "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce

"The Pearce Sisters" (2008) ,UK, Dir: Luis Cook - Short Story "The Pearce Sisters" by Mick Jackson collected in Ten Sorry Tales

"To Serve Man" (1962), USA on The Twilight Zone Season 3, Episode 89Short Story "To Serve Man" written by Damon Knight

"Two Soldiers" (2003), USA, Dir: Aaron Schneider - Short Story "Two Soldiers" by William Faulkner in Collected Stories of WIlliam Faulkner

"The Tonto Woman" (2006), UK Dir: Daniel Barber - Short Story "The Tonto Woman" by Elmore Leonard collected in The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard.  NOTE: The short is NR but contains brief nudity.



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"Because of Mama": Drafting the Short Screenplay

Media Teacher Blog "Teaching Short Films"

Reading Film at KS1: The Lesson - Tanya Redhead, a teacher at Dulwich Village C of E Infants School, inspires a Year 2 writing session with the short film, Dangle.



Backdrop NYC - NYCTV show showcasing short films by New Yorkers (with episode guide and film list)

Short Film Central - The International Short Film Database

Short of the Week - Website with weekly short features.


ARTICLES (for teacher background knowledge)

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•British Film Institute, Teaching with short films in media studies. Retrieved March 1, 2009 from http://www.bfi.org.uk/education/teaching/movingshorts/mediastudies/


ARTICLES (for students, short, readable, and high interest)

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BOOKS (about teaching this topic/genre)

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•Quy, S. (2008). Teaching Short Films (BFI Teaching Film and Media Studies). London, UK; British Film Institute. 


BOOKS (general information about this topic/genre)

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•Cowgill, Linda J. (2005). Writing Short Films: Structure and Content for Screenwriters. Los Angeles, CA; Lone Eagle Publishing. 

•Gurskis, D. (2006). The Short Screenplay: Your Short Film from Concept to Production. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technolgy.



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