There is no set definition for what counts as a short film, but anywhere up to around 40 minutes is typically classified as such. Shorts can be a great taster before a feature, a quick treat on their own, or can be played as part of a collection. They introduce characters, tell stories and make us feel a range of emotions in a matter of moments, and can be an ideal way to bring Literacy learning to life.
This list brings together some of our strongest and most-loved short films – both individual titles and packages – ranging from a couple of minutes to half an hour, from countries all over the world, in different styles and genres, and tackling a variety of subjects. From archive to silent film stars to modern animation, there are short films for every occasion.
Lost and Found(2008)
Charming animated tale about a young boy who finds a lost penguin on his doorstep and decides to row him home to the South Pole.
This 24-minute animation remains a hugely popular title on the Into Film catalogue. With narration from Jim Broadbent, this gentle story is about the lovely friendship between a boy and a penguin.
Animated tale of a clever little mouse who uses his wits to stop being eaten by the scary Gruffalo as he takes a walk through the woods.
Adaptations of Julia Donaldson’s much-loved children’s books have also long been popular with our members, whether it’s this, ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’, ‘Room on the Broom’ or ‘Stick Man’. Each contains memorable characters who go on exciting adventures, encountering warm, funny and kind creatures on the way.
Pixar’s hopping desk lamp logo appears for the first time in this humorous short about a baby lamp and his parent.
Featured on Volume 1 of the Pixar Short Films Collection, this was the second short film the company ever produced. It helped set the trend which would become the norm for all Pixar features by appearing before ‘Toy Story 2’, and features the studio’s lamp mascot.
A repair robot tries to fix his spaceship whilst chaos unfolds around them.
Not all Pixar shorts precede features in cinemas, however. All of the Pixar shorts which contain spin-off stories from features, such as ‘BURN-E’ – which is set in the ‘WALL-E’ universe – from Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2, can be found on DVDs or Disney+.
A small, young bird must navigate the world of the beach and find food for itself.
One of the more recent Pixar shorts is ‘Piper’, found on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3, which shows how far the studio has come in terms of computer animation. Premiering alongside ‘Finding Dory’, this photorealistic short film about nature is one of their many Academy Award winners.
Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1(1961)
Collection of Lotte Reiniger's stunning depictions of popular fairy tales using her unique silhouette animation style.
Lotte Reiniger was an early pioneer of animated filmmaking, working in Germany at the start of the 20th century. Celebrated for her innovative silhouette animation technique, here she brings a collection of fairy tales to life like you’ve never seen them before.
Oscar-winning animated version of the timeless folk tale, set to Sergei Prokofiev's classic orchestral composition.
This film also provides an innovative twist on a well-known tale, and has been a popular choice to demonstrate how sound and image interact on film due to the skill in which it blends a classical soundtrack with dazzling stop-motion animation.
Laurel And Hardy - Pardon Us And Related Shorts(1931)
Slapstick caper from the famed comedy duo, who here are arrested for breaking Prohibition and wind up in jail.
Short black-and-white slapstick comedies can be a great way to introduce young people to early Hollywood cinema. These shorts, featuring one of the most cherished double-acts of the big screen, contain the duo’s trademark silliness and physical comedy.
A short British film exploring race relations in post-riots Notting Hill in the 1960s through the friendship of a little girl and boy.
This simple and affecting story about young children making friends also provides an important historical snapshot of racial tensions in London during the 1960s, while remaining accessible and easy-to-follow for young viewers.
Fascinating early slice of science fiction and a founding stone of modern cinema.
One of the earliest fiction films ever made, this 14-minute story can be a useful way of introducing young audiences to silent cinema as well as showcasing its pioneering use of special effects and other formative techniques.
Short animated versions of Shakespeare's plays, the perfect way to get to know the work of one of Britain's greatest writers.
These short, animated versions of some of Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays are a great way to engage members with his language, themes and ideas. The three discs are split into Tragedies, Comedies and Histories, with each short animated in a different style.
A newly-formed bright yellow star, who feels lonely out in the vastness of space, seeks a friend of his own.
One of many titles we have acquired and which are available to watch on Into Film+, ‘The Little Bang’ is a gentle, non-dialogue story about friendship between two stars in space for the youngest film club members.
A teenage boy is gifted a puppy by his mother, but it isn’t to his liking.
Also available on Into Film+, and for slightly older audiences, ‘The Present’ is an animation about disability whose story may surprise viewers. When a young boy learns that he’s been gifted a three-legged dog by his mother he’s unimpressed, but why?