‘As the usher brings forth the Ice cream and snacks, we wait for the main feature to resume’
This is the bit where I show my age. When I was a boy and I used to go to the ‘Pictures’ there were several things that happened in that emporium of the imagination that do not anymore. Along with intermissions, ushers selling ice-cream and those weird kia-ora juice box/container thingies, there was normally a supporting feature. This would normally be a short film shown before the main feature, most of the time it would be some strange unrelated documentary about wine growing in Italy, or Glass blowing in some factory. When I saw Star Wars in 1978 (it was released in the U.S in May of 77 but didn’t make it too the U.K until Christmas, I didn’t see it until the next year) from my dim and distant memory there was some documentary about ATV’s (Now known as Quads).
If you were lucky though you may get a gem of a supporting feature. There are a couple of interesting films I remember, one was one done by some of the Monty Python team and involved a large packing crate traveling around the world. All you saw was the crate being transported and heard voices and sounds, weird goings on happened inside that crate along with some vomit. I have since looked for that film but as yet been unable to find it so much so I’m wondering if I imagined it. If anyone knows of it and what its called I’d love to know as you may save my sanity.
Famously supporting The Empire Strikes Back was a strange little film called ‘Dark Angel’. At the time I never remembered much about it apart from a Black Knight on horseback going through the mist. I also remember the same film being shown as a support for David Lynch’s Dune 4 years later. This film was rediscovered recently and was released on YouTube and it’s an interesting one. I think at present the filmmaker is trying to get funding to make a full length feature.
Short films are a way that numerous film makers get to cut their teeth, sometimes these shorts can lead to a full length feature. ‘Cargo’ which is on Netflix was based upon a short and it’s well worth a watch, along with films such as ‘Alive in Joberg’ which Neill Blomkamp used as a stepping stone to ‘District 9’. In the same way short stories can help develop skills and ideas for a full novel, short films are also an important part in the development of ideas and skills for filmmakers. If you get a chance give these shorts some love you may be surprised about their quality.
‘The lights dim, we now resume the main feature’