Two minutes, seven minutes, fourteen minutes? The length of a short film pretty much runs the running-time gamut.
And while most feature films'll fall in the 90-minute to just-past-two-hours slot, one short film can be six or seven times as long as the next. But the common characteristic that briefer films share, for worse (there's no "better" part of the equation, sad to say, hence just "for worse"), is that they can be more challenging to find on the big screen.
Except for that magical window that arrives near the end of January each year, just a few weeks ahead of the Academy Awards. The Oscar-nominated short films play together -- and sometimes separately, by category, but more on that in a jiffy -- at select theaters around Southern California, for a couple of weeks, giving film fans the chance to see the full slate of lauded works, be they two minutes long or fourteen.
The program will run at a handful of venues through early February. The theaters? Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles is showing the live action and animated shorts while Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills is covering the documentary nominees.
If you're in Orange County, and want to take in all three categories at once, you can: Head for Regency South Coast Village, which is screening the docs, live action shorts, and the animated works, too.
It's the 10th anniversary for the Short Movie Channel presentation, which has become the go-to for getting movie fans up-to-speed on the quicker flicks getting the acclaim. True, some of the shorts, like "Feast" were widely seen -- the doggie/food love story played ahead of "Big Hero 6" -- but others have had a longer journey to the larger theaters.
That changes, at least for a handful of days, ahead of the Oscars. Check the schedule at the participating cinema closest to you, and then speak up for the idea of shorts showing at our cinemas, all our cinemas, on a more regular, year-round basis.
Honest now: Telling a story in two zippy minutes is major, not minor, and as big in spirit as a traditionally big, as in longer, film.