Types of Film

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

How many types of films do you know??? Do you know what the meaning of the film is? The film has many other names, such as a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or picture. It is a work of visual art that introduces experiences and communicates ideas, stories, feelings, beauty, perceptions, or atmosphere through the usage of moving images. These images combine with sound and other sensory stimulations. Moreover, the word “Cinema” is an abbreviation for the phrase Cinematography. It revived the film industry and the art form.

In 1891 the Edison Company created a prototype of the Kinetoscope, which enabled the people of this period to view moving pictures. In 1893, the first public Kinetoscope appearance took place. By 1894 the Kinetoscope reached commercial success. Then, producers established public lobbies around the world.

Furthermore, in December 1895, the Lumière brothers presented projected moving pictures to a paying audience in Paris, France. They invented a device called the Cinématographe. It was a camera, a projector, and a film printer all in one.

At the beginning of films they were very short, sometimes only a few minutes or less. Producers displayed films at music halls, fairgrounds, or anywhere a screen could be set up with a room darkened. The themes of these films included local scenes and activities, views of foreign lands, short comedies, and newsworthy events.

The filmmakers linked the films with lectures, music, and plenty of audience participation. Although movies did not have a dialogue, they were not silent as people used to describe them sometimes. By 1914, the filmmakers had founded several national film industries. During this period, Europe, Russia, and were the controlling industries, while America was much less important. Films became longer, storytelling and narrative. 

The film industry grew as people paid to see more movies. Thus, the industry could invest more money in its production, distribution, and exhibition. The First World War severely affected the film industry in Europe. On the contrary, the film industry in America grew. 

The Editors first added colour to black-and-white movies in many ways, such as hand colouring, tinting, toning, and stencilling. By 1906, they used the principles of colour separation to produce realistic colour-moving images with the British Kinemacolor process. It first appeared to the public in 1909.

The early Technicolor processes were expensive, and editors did not use colour more widely until the introduction of its three-colour process in 1932. Then, editors use the Technicolor process in films, such as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and A Matter of Life and Death.

Different Types of Film

Types of Film
Types of Film

Short Film

The first genre of film that we will discuss is the short film. A short film is any movie not long enough to be considered a feature film. Besides, it is an original motion picture, having a running time of forty minutes or less, including all credits. Hence, the term is used by many as a collective term for anything less than ninety minutes in length.

Independent filmmakers often formed short films that were not for profit. Filmmakers produce them with a low budget or no budget at all. Movie franchises, non-profit organisations, sponsors, or personal funds usually fund Short films.

Filmmakers usually produce short films to gain experience and knowledge. They also use these films as samples of what a filmmaker’s vision of a feature film may be. Besides, they also want to prove their talent to gain funding for future films. Thus, they target private investors, entertainment companies, or film studios. Most film festivals show Short films. 

There are many essential steps for making a successful short film, such as having a good camera, a computer with editing software, a script, a crew, and actors. Additionally, the short film can be of any genre like horror, romance, Comedy, animation, or documentary. 

However, there are sub-genres of short films. The first sub-genre is a narrative short film. This sub-genre depends on storytelling. It is often fictional and written to present a dramatised version of a story.

The second sub-genre is the documentary short film. It is a nonfiction and subject-focused cinema that presents a natural exploration of a topic, person, place, or theme. 

The third sub-genre is an avant-garde short film. It is a film school that describes a more experimental, stylistic, or abstract motion picture that is less focused on story or themes and more immersed in mood and tone.

Furthermore, many festivals are concerned with short movies. Thus, Here is a List of the Names of these Festivals:

  • Ann Arbor Film Festival
  • Aspen Shorts Festival
  • Athens International Film Festival
  • Atlanta Film Festival
  • Black Maria Film Festival

About two hundred and fifty short films gain several rewards, such as Wavelength, the Woman who Powders herself, and instructions for a Light and Sound Machine.

Feature Film

The second genre of film that we will discuss in this article is the feature film. The feature film is also named a feature-length film. It is a narrative with a time long enough to be considered the main presentation in a commercial entertainment program. The term feature film originally refers to the principal, full-length film in a cinema program that included a short film and usually a newsreel.

This genre has a duration greater than or equal to sixty minutes. Moreover, its length may be up to one hundred and eighty minutes. However, its period may also differ depending on the country. Films screened in commercial movie theatres are features that run over eighty minutes. 

In the early 1910s, feature films gradually expanded from all over the world. The filmmakers produced early features in the United States and France but first released them in individual short scenes. Early feature films were documentary-style films of noteworthy events, while some were films of boxing matches.

After that, the demand for stories told through motion pictures grew, and soon studios were established to create many motion pictures to earn more money. These motion pictures screened in theatres started with shorter lengths. Later, they eventually evolved into what we now know as feature films.

However, there are many differences between short films and feature films. Feature films are considered the backbone of the movie industry as they provide billions annually, while short films do not achieve any profit. The purpose of short films is to gain experience and influence people. Moreover, short films do not need high shooting techniques, unlike feature films. 

While expenses of short films are lower than the costs of feature films, several films left a mark in the history of the cinema, such as: 

  • Citizen Kane
  • The Godfather
  • Space Odyssey
  • Singing in the Rain

Animation Films

The third genre of film is an animation film. It is a method that manipulates fixed figures to make them appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent sheets to be photographed and introduced into films. Nowadays, editors create most animations with computer-generated imagery.

The theory of the animation film preceded the invention of the cinema by half a century. Between 1895 and 1920, many different animation techniques were re-invented and developed during the rise of the cinematic industry. These techniques include stop-motion with objects, puppets, clay, and drawn or painted animation.

Hand-drawn animation was the dominant technique throughout the 20th century and became known as traditional animation. Then, computer animation became a technique, especially in Japan. Computer animation combines a three-dimensional appearance with detailed shading, although computers created many different animation styles.

Walt Disney is one of the greatest pioneers of animation. Walt Disney initially went to Louis Mayer, the head of Metro Goldwin Mayer, with his idea of a cartoon about Mickey Mouse. However, Mayer responded that women mostly attended films, and women were afraid of mice. Thus, he refused to produce this idea and felt profoundly sorry about that later.

Although Walt Disney is considered one of the most famous animation pioneers, he is ranked 5th. However, the wealthiest animators are “Trey Parker and Matt Stone”, creators of South Park. Walt Disney won not only an Oscar award for the cartoon “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” but also one enormous statue and seven smaller ones. “Toy Story” is the first feature-length film created with the help of 3D technology.

However, the animators create animations to influence emotions and entertain the audience. The filmmakers design these animations to become a new and more effective way of storytelling. It is essential because it enables people to tell stories and communicate emotions and ideas in a unique, easy-to-perceive way that both small children and adults can understand and accept.

Different types of Film for Kids
selective focus of illustrator drawing cartoon character on paper

Here are the Names of the Most Remarkable Animation Films:

  • “Shrek” received the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated film. Furthermore, the film won six awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
  • “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” won the first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Hence, it was the first animated Nickelodeon film to win in that category. 
  • “Finding Nemo” won the 76th Academy Award.

Documentary Films

The fourth genre of film that we will discuss in this article is documentary film. It is a non-fictional motion picture intended to record truths for instruction, education, or keeping a historical record. A documentary film usually reveals an unusual, interesting, or unknown angle.

People call early documentaries actual films. These films lasted one minute or less. Over time, documentaries have developed to become longer and include more categories. Documentaries can be funny, disturbing, ironic, inspirational, amusing, shocking, or any combination of these genres.

This genre uses video & film scenes, photographs, and sounds of real people and events, which create a particular story, viewpoint, message, or experience. Usually, documentaries are thirty minutes to two hours long to fit within a television schedule or for theatre. However, documentaries are often shorter, especially recent internet and web video advancements.

Some examples of documentaries are educational and observational. They are very informative and usually used within schools as a resource to teach various principles. Thus, documentary filmmakers commit to being truthful to their picture of the world without misrepresenting a topic. They must be honest and neutral.

However, there are several differences between documentaries and features. The first difference is that a feature film deals with fiction and fictionalised events, as the central purpose of a feature film is to entertain. On the contrary, a documentary film deals with facts and real-life occasions. The principal aim of it is to inform and educate. Despite these differences, both of them must follow a script.

Here are the Names of the Top Five Documentaries Festivals: 

  • The ten under 10 Film Festival, Austin, Texas, the United States
  • Ambulante Documentary Film Festival, Mexico 
  • Doc NYC, New York, the United States
  • DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival, New Zealand
  • DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, South Korea

Historical Films

The fifth genre of film is Historical film. A historical film is a fiction film representing past events within a historical period. This inclusive genre shares territory with the biopic, costume drama, heritage, and epic movies.

At the beginning of 1915, Historical film became one of the most celebrated forms of cinematic expression as nicely as one of the most debatable films. As a genre, it has maintained a high degree of cultural importance for nearly a century. It has established itself as the leading form in each country that produces films.  

Although this type is essential, it also triggers public debate about the meaning of the past, the limits of dramatic translation, and the power of film to influence popular understanding and promote particular national legends.

However, historical films are vital because they make it easier to focus on specific periods or personalities, which helps people to understand their role and influence on society through the lens of reforms. Moreover, they also help in gaining knowledge about other cultures and different people. Similarly, learning the history of nations.

Here are the Names of the Most Influential Historical Films Festivals

  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival
  • Venice International Film Festival
  • Deauville Cannes International Film Festival
  • Moreover, here are the best Historical films in the history of cinema:
  • Troy
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Brave Heart 
  • The Northman
  • Robin Hood

Silent Films

The sixth genre of film that we will present in the article is a silent film. It is a film with no synchronised recorded sound and no audible dialogue. Silent films may transfer narrative and emotion visually, with various plot elements or essential lines of conversation through the titles.

The idea of joining motion pictures and recorded sound together is as old as the motion picture itself, but due to the technical challenges, most films were silent before the late twenties. However, the silent picture was a universal language through its messages. Moreover, people refer to the Silent film era as the Age of the Silver Screen.

Furthermore, calling these films by that name was a misfortune. In the earliest silent film era, producers often combined these movies with a phonograph recording. Then, movie theatres and other dream palaces provided live music from pianists, organists, and other sound machines.

In the larger cities with more outstanding theatres, the sound editors often accompanied silent films with a full orchestra to provide musical background and confirm the screen’s narrative performers and narrators. They also include singers, and some producers created movies with all musical scores. Unfortunately, many of the early silent films got lost due to the decomposing of film bases and the destruction. Thus, estimates by some film historians state that about 80% of silence is lost forever.

However, silent films have a crucial role in cinema history as they were the founding fathers of film editing techniques and helped people to understand the importance of movement and stillness. Besides, they were the first to teach people about storytelling and narrative economy. They also teach the importance of objects. 

Finally, many Festivals Around the World are Concerned with this Genre of Film, such as:

  • Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto
  • British Silent Film Festival
  • The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival
  • Kennington Bioscope Online
  • San Francisco Silent Film Festival
  • Additionally, Here are the Names of the Most Famous Silent Films:
  • The Wind
  • The General
  • The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
  • City Lights
  • Earth

Comedy Films

The seventh genre of film is a comedy film. This genre of the film emphasises humour. Filmmakers produce these films to make the audience laugh through amusement. They traditionally have a happy ending, except for the Black Comedy films.

Moreover, some of the earliest silent films were comedies. They rely on visual pictures without requiring sound. But when sound films became more general during the twenties, comedy films took another path, as laughter could result from comic situations and dialogue.

Towards the end of the twenties, the appearance of sound in movies made new film styles and allowed the use of verbal humour. During the thirties, the comedians, such as W.C. and the Marx Brothers, replaced the Silent film comedy with dialogue. Moreover, the comedian-actor Charlie Chaplin was one of the last silent film actors, and his films during the thirties lacked conversations, although they employed sound effects.

There are several sub-genres of comedy films. The first sub-genre is the Anarchic Comedy. This sub-genre is a random stream of humour that usually mock a form of authority. The second sub-genre is Comedy of Ideas. This type uses Comedy to explore profound ideas, such as religion or politics. The characters usually represent different world views and interact for comedic effect and social commentary.

The third sub-genre is Comedy of Manners. This sub-genre mocks the morals and affectations of social classes. The plot of a comedy of manners is usually concerned with love relations. However, the action is less crucial for its comedic effect than its brilliant dialogue.

The fourth sub-genre is Black Comedy. This sub-genre deals with serious subjects, such as death, crime, murder, and war, in a satirical way. The fifth sub-genre is Situational Comedy. This genre comes from knowing a group of characters and then exposing them to different situations to create humorous and ironic conflict. However, there are other sub-types of comedy films.

Additionally, Comedy films are so important for all people because Comedy is one of the things that help humans to cope with difficulties. Moreover, Comedy offers the opportunity to live a better life without stress. Thus, it is considered a therapy for many mental illnesses.

Finally, Here is a List of the Top Five Comedy Film Festivals: 

  • Austin Comedy Film Festival
  • Houston Comedy Film Festival
  • Georgia Comedy Film Festival
  • Atlanta After Dark Film Festival
  • Austin Micro Film Festival

Here is a List of the Funniest Comedy Films:

  • The Big Lebowski
  • The pink Panther 
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Bride maids 
  • Mr Bean 

Romance Films

The eighth genre of film we will introduce to you in this article is romance films. Romance films include romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theatres or on television. This love story focus on passion, emotion, and the loving romantic involvement of the main characters.

These films search for romantic love as the main plot focus. In romance films, lovers face obstacles, such as finances, physical illness, various forms of differentiation, psychological issues, or family resistance. Many common themes link with romantic films, such as love at first sight, tragic love, bad love, passionate love, and sentimental love.

In 1896, films were not very long like they are today. Thomas Edison created the first romantic film, which was approximately 18 seconds. This film shows a kiss that he called The May Irwin Kiss. 

There are several sub-genres of romance films. The first one is called Epic Romance. It is a romantic story with a historical period setting, usually with a background of war, revolution, or tragedy. 

The second sub-genre is Paranormal Romance. It is a popular genre of film which introduces romantic relationships between humans and supernatural creatures, such as vampires and ghosts.

The third sub-genre is Romance Action, which blends action with romantic relationships. The fourth sub-genre is Romantic Drama. This sub-genre often features an obstacle that prevents deep and true love between two people. 

Music is usually employed to assure the emotional mood, creating an atmosphere of more significant insulation for the couple. The conclusion of a romantic drama film does not reveal whether a final romantic union between the two main characters will occur.

The fifth sub-genre is romantic fantasy, which describes fantasy stories using many of the elements of the romance genre. The sixth sub-genre is romantic musical, a genre of film which introduces romantic relationships. Moreover, the story of the film appears through song and dance numbers.

Furthermore, romance films are valuable as they teach people the meaning of love, sacrifice, and safety. They also taught people to express their feelings and to show love. Thus, Romance films touch the human soul.

At last, many Festivals are Concerned with Romance Films, such as:   

  • Cambria Film Festival of Romance
  • Love Story Film Festival 
  • Cabourg Romantic Film Festival
  • Love International Film Festival

Here is a List of the Most Romantic Films in the History of Cinema:

  • Titanic 
  • Me before you 
  • A Walk to Remember 
  • The Bodyguard 
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • The Notebook

Science Fiction Films

The ninth genre of film is a science fiction film. It is a film genre that uses ideological, fictional science-based theories of phenomena that are not entirely accepted by mainstream science, such as spacecraft, robots, interstellar travel, or other technologies. Moreover, Science fiction films usually focus on political or social issues and explore philosophical issues like the human condition.

Furthermore, Science Fiction films appeared very early in the silent film era. The first attempts were short films of one to two minutes, shot in black and white but sometimes with colour tinting. The movie during this period usually had a technological theme and was often intended to be humorous and funny.

Although science fiction films took several decades before they became famous, they parallel that of the motion picture industry. Since the sixties, major science fiction films have succeeded in grabbing large audience shares, and movies of this genre have become an essential staple of the film industry.

However, the makers and producers of science fiction films have many purposes, such as entertainment, because sometimes the range of the story is limited to individual characters and their challenges, although the author may set the film in a larger universe on an epic scale. Hence, a Science fiction film is a form of fantasy.

Moreover, education is another purpose of science fiction films because science fiction films teach people about things that are not known or understood. Characters in science fiction often find themselves in situations where they need to benefit from new knowledge or technology. Moreover, their learning experiences allow readers to comprehend how such things work by facing them.

Lastly, Here is a List of the Names of Science Fiction Films Festivals:

  • Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film & Screenplay Festival
  • Zed Fest Film Festival & Screenplay Competition
  • International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival
  • Indie Suspense Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival

Additionally, Here is a List of the Most Influential Science Fiction Films:

  • The Planet of Apes
  • Star Wars 
  • Ex Machina
  • The Matrix
  • Avatar 

Action Films

The tenth genre of film that we will discuss in this article is the action film. It is a film genre in which the protagonist faces a series of events that involve violence and physical actions. Action films tend to reveal a powerful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a dangerous villain, or a pursuit that usually ends with victory for the hero.

The developments in computer-generated imagery (CGI) made it cheaper and easier to create action sequences and other necessary visual effects for action scenes. In the West, during the twenties and thirties, adventure films were spread by actors such as Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.

The exceptional success of the James Bond series in the sixties and seventies helped to popularise the concept of the modern-day action film in recent years. The early Bond films included quick cutting, car chases, fist fights, and more additional action sequences. The series also established the concept of the strong icon, who can beat the villains.

Although Action films entertain people, they have many cons as they can spread violence among people. 

Here are some of the Names of Action Festivals:

  • L.A. Action Film Festival 
  • Angers European First Film Festival
  • American Film Festival

Here are some Names of the Best Action Films:

  • Love and Thunder
  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • Mission impossible

Horror Films

The eleventh genre of film is the Horror film. This genre seeks to trigger fear or disgust in its audience for entertainment purposes. These films usually explore dark subjects and may deal with transgressive topics or themes, such as monsters, apocalyptic events, and religious or folk beliefs.

Horror films have appeared for more than a century. Early inspirations came from the development of movies, including folklore, religious beliefs, and fables of different cultures, and the horror literature of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley.

Moreover, horror became an organised genre after the release of Dracula in 1931. The producers create this genre worldwide, varying in style and content between regions. Horror is especially predominant in the cinema of Japan, Korea, Italy, and Thailand, among other countries.

However, some horror films have seen major commercial success, influenced society, and created several popular culture icons. There are many sub-genres of Horror films, a subgenre of thriller films. The first one is a Slasher film. Slasher films often have a psychopathic killer killing a group of people in a very violent way. Giallo inspired this sub-genre. Giallo is a similar movie genre that originated in Italy.

The films of the thirties had aspects of slasher films in them. However, the genre was not famous until the late seventies. In 1974 the first slasher film was produced and named Black Christmas.

The second sub-genre is Psychological Horror, a subgenre of traditional horror films that focuses more on the mental instability of their characters than on violence, serial killers, or monsters. This sub-genre usually deals with the character’s phobias, psychological traumas, and paranoia.

The third sub-genre is Comedy Horror film. Those are movies that blend horror and comic elements in their plot. Unlike ordinary, traditional horror films, the viewer may be scared and laugh at the exact time in this film genre. The type of humour used in these films is usually black Comedy.

At last, Many Festivals Exhibit Horror Films Every Year, such as:

  • A Night of Horror International Film Festival
  • Arrow Video Fright Festival
  • Beyond Fest
  • Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival

Besides, Here are some Names of other Terrifying Horror Films:

  • The Exorcist
  • The Conjuring
  • The Saw 
  • The Scream
  • Cabin in the Woods

Adventure Films

The last genre of film that we will discuss in this article is the adventure film. These films contain many of the same features as action films, but the producers choose unfamiliar locations for these films. The central theme in these films is the protagonist’s adventures, with the characters often exploring new places they have not been to or doing new things they have not done before.

Familiar stories include quests and searches for lost treasure, heroic journeys for the unknown, and jungle or desert settings. Adventure films often have a historical time and are based on stories of historical or fictional adventure heroes within the historical context. Moreover, Kings and battles appear in Adventure films.

Adventure films may also combine with other film genres, such as science fiction, fantasy, and sometimes war films. Adventure films often show the mystery, romance, adventure, danger, and terror of the unknown. This adventure takes place in a jungle or desert. Classic threats include savage man-eating mammals, unfriendly natives, deadly diseases, lost cities and crumpling temples, torrential rivers, and waterfalls.

The adventure film was most popular in Hollywood during the thirties and forties. Furthermore, when movies such as Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro emerged, this genre emerged.

Finally, many Festivals that are Concerned with Adventure Films, such as:

  • London Surf Film Festival
  • Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
  • Banff Mountain Film + Book Festival
  • Radical Reels Tour
  • Adventure Film Festival

Additionally, Here is a List of the Most Exciting Adventure Films:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Life of Pi
  • The Jungle Book
  • Jumanji   

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