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-   -   What's the minimum running time for a feature-length film? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/81689-whats-minimum-running-time-feature-length-film.html)

Heath McKnight December 13th, 2006 02:21 PM

What's the minimum running time for a feature-length film?
I'm trying to remember, but I can't. I think it's at least 72 minutes to be officially considered a feature film. Anyone have an idea and/or a link?


Richard Alvarez December 13th, 2006 07:08 PM

The answer will depend on who you ask. If you check the WGA minimums, they will dictate the running length for Feature payment schedules. Film festivals will have their own length for 'feature' and 'short'... which will often vary from Documentary 'feature' length.

But if you want an answer from somebody, I'll give you a quick one. A 'feature' narrative must be ninety minutes in length.

There, THAT should stir up a hornets nest. Some will say 'eighty', no doubt. I forget what the Academy sets as feature length... that should probably be the answer your looking for. Those are minimums, by the way. With 120 being the optimal 'maximum'... though films are tending a little longer these days.

Paul Cypert December 14th, 2006 04:47 AM

The shortest I've seen widely released as a feature in a long time had to be the movie phone booth or whatever that was with the over-rated Irish actor that's never Irish in anything he's in :)


Paul Jefferies December 14th, 2006 07:22 AM

"Men In Black II" runs at 88mins according to imdb

Heath McKnight December 14th, 2006 11:13 AM

Paul C,

Except for Daredevil! BTW, wasn't there a Woody Allen movie that was 74 minutes or so? And I think Jurassic Park 3 was around 80+ minutes.


Richard Alvarez December 14th, 2006 12:32 PM

I don't think anything under eighty these days would cut it... Again, we might be looking for the Academy's definition. What does the Academy ask for in "Feature Length" submissions for award consideration?

Heath McKnight December 14th, 2006 12:49 PM

It seems these days the movies that clock in at 2:30 to 3 hours seem to win all the awards. Titanic, The English Patient, Return of the King, etc.


Marcus Marchesseault December 14th, 2006 06:19 PM

The Hawaii International Film Festival seems to just separate short from feature by the 60-minute mark. Of course, shorts are usually only 15-20 minutes and features are usually 90 minutes or more. I'm guessing that you don't want to fall between about 40 and 80 as your movie would be too long for a short and too short for a feature. I think the 60-minute mark is exactly the wrong amount of time for a movie as it is too much for a simple short movie and not enough time to develop a feature-style story.

Heath McKnight December 14th, 2006 07:44 PM

60 minutes is a featurette. I really think it's 72 minutes or so.


Dylan Pank December 15th, 2006 07:21 AM


Originally Posted by Paul Cypert
The shortest I've seen widely released as a feature in a long time had to be the movie phone booth or whatever that was with the over-rated Irish actor that's never Irish in anything he's in :)


David Cronenberg's first "feature" Stereo is 65 minutes long.

Really a feature film is anything that gets a released as a standalone film. I think really anything over an hour gets considered a feature and anything under a short. I've seen "short" films that are an hour long. Festivals don't like short films longer that 30 minutes (and some less) because they are hard to programme. It's tricky to put them with a bunch of shorter films and not long enough to warrant it's own slot. A ot of documentaries that aim for broadcast rather than theatrical fall into the 45minute-1hour time slot and it can be tricky for festival prgrammers.

Daniel J. Wojcik December 17th, 2006 07:51 AM

Why does 87 minutes stick in my head?

Richard Alvarez December 17th, 2006 08:58 AM

Well as a screenwriter, a 'feature' length will be considered 80 to 120 pages, with one page roughly one minute of screentime.

My documentary "American Jouster" www.americanjouster.com is 57 minutes long. I entered it in probably two dozen film festivals. About half of them considered it a 'feature' length Doc, and half of them considered it a short. Again, I think Docs are a different breed from narratives in this respect.

Lori Starfelt January 3rd, 2007 11:38 PM

I know this - distributors want 90 minutes
and lately, they've been complaining that they're having a hard time getting that from most indie filmmakers. I've met a handful of filmmakers that have had to re-edit to hit the 90 minute mark or the distributors wouldn't take it.

Heath McKnight January 4th, 2007 11:05 AM

I've seen 80 minute movies in the past couple of years. I think this may depend on the distributor. I'm a big fan of 90-110 minute movies; not too short, not too long.

Miami Vice's running time was almost 2 1/2 hours, but around 10 minutes or more of that was END CREDITS!


John Vincent January 11th, 2007 01:32 PM

Yep - end credits count too! So, if you have a movie that's say, 70-odd minutes long, you can legitmately extend it out with a long end credit sequence. I had to do this with my first feature DEADEYE, which was around 75 minutes long without credits.

We made up many, many funny, fake names to beef up the end credits. I talked with a couple of distributors who said this was fine and in the end it did get picked up.

As for the 90 minutes or more thing, remember that if it's going to be shown on commercial TV to subtract 12 minutes per hour of footage - ie - 12 mintues of commercials per hour.

The reality is, the network will chop down your flick to fit its needs in any event. So, in my mind, even a 75 minute long flick is feature length, at least as far as TV goes...


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