The first films were shorts. Most leading film-makers made shorts including Chaplin, Keaton, Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Lindsay Anderson, and more recently Lynne Ramsey and Damian O'Donnell. Though a standard and much-loved part of the cinemagoing experience for decades, short films are now rarely seen, even though more are made than ever. Hundreds of student films are made annually, television stations use shorts as fillers and broadcast whole seasons. Dotcom companies fight to secure rights and short film festivals take place all over the world. This work looks at the history of the short film and its current role. It focuses on contemporary short-film producers and directors, and its role as a training opportunity for new talent. It also covers issues of distribution, funding, exhibition, festivals, training and publications.