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Old August 20th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #1
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Best running time for short films for film festivals

I'm working on a new short film for the film festival curcuit, and am wondering about the best running time for getting accepted.

I've heard (in Chris Gore's Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide) that the longer you make it, the less chance it has to get in, as it is more difficult to slot in long short films. This would be the 15 min and up range I'm guessing. I've heard others say that just under ten minutes is the safest time frame for getting in.

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts or experiences of they own on this?
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Old August 20th, 2008, 04:13 PM   #2
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6min or 11min, and these numbers come from three festival directors

credits no more than 30s
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Old August 20th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #3
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I always had my 10 minute and under short films in fests. The shorter the better, it would seem. Also, I advise EVERYONE to put the credits at the end. Sounds funny, but I was watching some short films online the other day, and they all had these long opening title sequences with nothing really going on. For a short film, it's odd.

I used to run a local film event at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the people who picked the films always said they preferred shorts up to 16 minutes, but they have let in 20 minute films. No 30 minute shorts in 6 years.

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Old August 20th, 2008, 07:00 PM   #4
 
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Seems that most festivals want to put shorts at the beginning of features. As a result, they like to keep them short, short, short. I would say 15mins, tops, more like 10 mins, is desireable-est.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 07:01 PM   #5
 
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Was talking to a rep from Sundance, who's on the selection committee. Seems that most festivals want to put shorts at the biginning of features. As a result, they like to keep them short, short, short. I would say 15mins, tops, more like 10 mins, is desireable-est.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 12:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback guys! Trying to cut a couple more pages from the script... sigh.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 03:17 PM   #7
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Yes, CUT THE SCRIPT! Sorry to go all caps here, but I can't stress enough that it's harder to cut dialogue in post-production than it is during the writing phase. Too many times, I've tried to help cut dialogue down in editing to bring a short film's running time down, but we ended up hurting the plot.

The dialogue was long and boring, but once we started cutting stuff out, it became confusing to the viewer. I always believe, if the character can say something in two short lines vs. four long lines, cut it down.

And I'm just as guilty; some short films I did in college were way too long, and I was way too "in love" with my dialogue to cut it out during the writing phase, or the editing phase. I wasn't David Mamet, but I could dream, right? (wink)

Anyway, off my soap box.

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