To Short or Not to Short? 20 Filmmakers Who Successfully Transitioned from Short to Feature

To Short or Not to Short? It sometimes feels like the eternal question without a definitive answer every filmmaker asks herself/himself at some point, when dreaming of making a feature film.

Every year, an unknown filmmaker creates the buzz with a short film that looks a million bucks and unlocks him the doors to Paradise (getting representation and a Studio deal to make a feature film). It doesn’t matter if half of those filmmakers disappear in development hell and that we never actually see the feature film, those stories feed our collective imagination, pushing us to ask again: to short or not to short?

A handful of filmmakers have successfully adapted their short films into a feature. As we’ve seen in the past on mentorless, sometimes the short is a scene from a screenplay that can’t get financed, and sometimes it becomes the inspiration for a back-up plan after a project failed. Sometimes it’s also a way for a crew to find out if they’re fit to work together on a bigger project.

As often, motivations vary, but the result is a same, a short that has become a feature. I’ve looked long and hard on the net and chose 20 filmmakers, from George Lucas to Damien Chazelle who made a feature based on an often eponym short film.

Unlike the infographic dedicated to filmmakers who started making films well into their 30sTo Short or Not to Short lacks diversity in nationalities, races and gender, but the film genres do vary, from the expected horror and sci-fi shorts to the indie drama, and comedy. The sample is way too thin to deduct anything scientific out of it, but it’s still worth noting.

Check the result below, and after that for more articles about short films, including the journey of some of the filmmakers present on this list. And if other names come to your mind, please do share them in the comments section!



More About Short Films

– Screenwriter Terri Tatchell on Turning Short Film ‘Alive in Joburg’ into Oscar Nominated ‘District 9′

– Don Hertzfeldt On Changing Our Relationships to Short Films, Misusing Crowdfunding and Releasing ‘World of Tomorrow’ on Vimeo

– What We Can Learn From ‘Whiplash’ the Short Film and Damien Chazelle’s Fearless Journey

– How Do You Do A Short Film on a Tiny Budget? 18 Tips From Filmmakers Who Made it Work

– Cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, The Angel’s Share, Philomena) on Why He Still Makes Short Films

– Watch ‘Mama’ the 2 Min Horror Short Film That Convinced Guillermo del Toro to Produce a Feature Version

– (Re)Discover George Lucas Pre Star-Wars Short Films

– How to Deal With VFX on an Indie Film: 12 Tips From Erin Li to Stop Worrying and Save Your Time, Money and Sanity

– Damien Chazelle on the 4 Criteria Whiplash Met that Made It the Story He Would Fight For, and the Benefits of Making a Short First

Thanks to Marco North for the link about Sundays.