Off the Shelf: National Short Film Day
Posted Dec. 8, 2020
By Matthew York, Adult Services Librarian with the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library
Many all-around movie fans and independent-film junkies will be observing National Short Film Day December 28th. Questions? We have answers!
Q. What is National Short Film Day celebrating and why is it held when it is?
A. “On December 28th, National Short Film Day commemorates the day the motion picture industry was born, when the Lumière brothers projected a program of short films to a public audience for the first time […] 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. […] The two pioneers presented 10 short films, each about 50 seconds in length, to the amazement of all those in attendance.” (“National Short Film Day – December 28”).
Q. What organization is responsible for this holiday?
A. “[A company called] Film Movement founded National Short Film Day in 2019 and celebrated its first observance on December 28, 2019. They created the day to celebrate the impact of the short film and to commemorate its long and enduring history.” (“National Short Film Day – December 28”).
Q. Who contributed to the early days of movies?
A. “English photographer Eadweard Muybridge […] created a sequential photo projector — the zoogyroscope — in 1879 [and then projecting] his photos to an enthralled San Francisco audience [in 1880]. […] In 1888 in New York City, […] inventor Thomas Edison and his British assistant William Dickson […] set out to create a device that could record moving pictures. In 1890 Dickson unveiled the Kinetograph, a primitive motion picture camera. In 1892 he announced the invention of the Kinestoscope, a machine that could project the moving images onto a screen. In 1894, Edison initiated public film screenings in recently-opened ‘Kinetograph Parlors.’ […] In 1895, Auguste and Louis Lumière introduced the Cinématographe, a projector that could show 16 frames per second. In their public cinema, audiences were spellbound by the films of simple movement and action: images of a baby eating, a hose squirting water, and the workers pouring out of the Lumière factory.” (Pickford).
Q. What are the names of some movies from the earliest stages of movie production?
A. Various filmmakers made early short films, such as: The Black Diamond Express (1896), The Great Train Robbery (1903), Life of an American Fireman (1903), The Little Train Robbery (1905), and The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906) (Hamid 66-67).
Q. What was the name of the first “talkie”?
A. “Alan Crosland [directed] the first talkie The Jazz Singer (1927)” (Hamid 66-67). “Talkies” meant movies that synchronized recorded image with recorded sound, an innovation of the late 1920s.
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Hamid, Rahul. “Edison: The Invention of the Movies.” Cineaste, vol. 30, no. 4, Fall 2005, pp. 66–67. EBSCOhost
“National Short Film Day – December 28.” National Day Calendar
Pickford, Mary. “The Early History of Motion Pictures.” Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)