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Short films can be truly amazing. Like the best short stories, short films often pack more meaning into their brief running times than full-length movies (or novels) do. There’s something about the genre that compels those who revel in it to make one really strong, overarching point, and to do so in a very short space of time.
Short films can be anything up to 40 minutes long, but most are considerably shorter than that. As can be seen on the best short film channels on Vimeo, most short films are a few minutes long. But there is a new trend emerging for even shorter films… films that last just a few seconds.
These are “short short films” or “micro films” (both of which are terms I’ve just made up), and the very best of them are well worth watching. After all, doing so will only take a couple of minutes at the most.
All About Vine
Vine is a video-sharing service launched in January 2013 by Twitter. It enables people to easily create and share videos of up to six seconds in length both on Twitter and elsewhere on the Web. The app enables this with a simple click-to-record interface, with multiple edits spliced together.
Vine videos can be watched in a variety of different ways, with several ingenious websites popping up to bring the Vine video feed to a wider audience. There are a surprisingly high number of different ways of using Twitter Vine, with those six seconds enabling creative people more than enough time to create something worth watching.
Tribeca Film Festival Vine Competition
The Tribeca Film Festival is an annual film festival held in New York City. It was founded in 2002 and draws in around 3 million people each and every year. As well as recognizing the best actors, documentarians, and independent filmmakers, Tribeca also celebrates short films.
For the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival the organizers held a competition centered on Vine. Everyone was invited to take part, with entries divided into four categories: ‘Genre’, ‘Auteur’, ‘Animate’, and ‘Series’. There was a shortlist of potential winners, with the final selection announced at Tribeca itself.
The Tribeca Film Festival Vine competition was judged by the team behind 5 Second Films, renowned Vine user Adam Goldberg, and film director Penny Marshall. What follows are the best Twitter Vine videos uncovered during the judging process, with the Vine videos embedded being the winners of each category.
The ‘Genre’ category applied to any Twitter Vine video that fitted into a particular genre, whether that genre was comedy, sci-fi, or western. The Vine videos shortlisted in this genre can all be viewed, with a reminder to click to unmute.
The winner was @MattSwinsky for ‘LazerAndDonald Close Shave‘. This successfully manages to encapsulate the horror genre into the space of six seconds. It’s atmospheric and spooky, with some great lighting and pitch-perfect editing.
The ‘Auteur’ category applied to those Vine videos that stood out for depicting a truly original idea or story, one that showed the filmmaker truly expressing himself or herself. The Vine videos shortlisted in this genre can all be viewed.
The winner was @KevyPizza for ‘There Is No Sunny-Side to This Story‘. This is a simple idea brought to life perfectly, and it has layers beyond what we immediately see thanks to an analogous nod to wars involving people rather than eggs.
The ‘Animate’ category applied to all Vine videos that eschewed live-action and instead concentrated on creative animations. The Vine app lends itself perfectly to stop-motion animation. The Vine videos shortlisted in this genre can all be viewed.
The winner was @JethroAmes for ‘How to Clear Your Garage From a Scary Ghost‘. This is a well-conceived short that plays with lighting and perspective to show off both the power of animation and of the Vine video app.
The ‘Series’ category applied to all Vine videos that told a story over a course of clips rather than just one. For Tribeca it was limited to trilogies, though there is scope to carry on for much longer than that. The Vine videos shortlisted in this genre can all be viewed.
The winner was Chris Donlon (@creepycrawler) for ‘The Book Beetle trilogy‘. This is a brilliantly animated set of three videos showing a book beetle (?!?) burrowing its way out of its nest and paving the way for an infestation.
I was already a fan of micro films before Vine appeared on the scene, but the Twitter app has undoubtedly helped foster an interest in the form factor. It has also forced creative filmmakers to concoct new ways of condensing their work down to just a few seconds.
The Tribeca Film Festival Vine competition has proved that six seconds is long enough to create compelling content, with the Vine videos that were shortlisted being spellbinding. Those embedded above represent the best Vine videos created so far, but I’m confident there is even better to come.
What do you think of Twitter Vine videos? Is six seconds long enough to get a message across? Are you impressed with the quality of Vine videos created so far? Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below, and then why not download the app and create your own six-seconds-or-less wonder to share with us all.