We are living in a "micro" era. After the great popularity of micro blogs and micro novels, online micro films are growing bigger now.
A competition between micro films and normal length films has begun.
The latest micro film to make it big is the 10-episode short series @Love. The finale received more than 12 million clicks since its February 6 release.
Micro films are the product of the combination of traditional films and online videos. As the term suggests, "micro" is the main characteristic, and the length of a micro film can be anywhere between three minutes to half an hour.
Usually, micro films have small budgets and are completed in a few weeks. The making of a micro film doesn't require much: a digital video camera, a tripod and a script, plus a director, a photographer, and a few actors.
"Because of the easy procedure, many grassroots artists are given the opportunity to make micro films," said Yin Hong, professor at Tsinghua University's School of Journalism and Communication, in an interview with China Daily.
Yin says the starting point for micro films' popularity was 2010's Old Boy, an uplifting story about two ordinary people struggling to become musicians. The film received millions of views on the video site Youku within a month after it was posted on October 28.
"The preference for watching TV programs online offers exceptional opportunities for micro films," Yin said.
Celebrities and professional filmmakers have also joined in the new trend. In the past few months, Fan Bingbing, Jiang Wen, Guo Jingming, Kevin Tsai, Cecelia Cheung and so on, have all had their micro films made, either directing, producing or playing a character.
"We're in an era of 'fragmentation'. In the fast-paced society, our time spent on relaxation is fragmented and limited, "Jiang Wen, who directed his first micro film Football Game last year, told Xinhua News Agency. Football Game tells the story of a divorced middle-aged man who takes his estranged son to watch a soccer game. The five-minute short gained four millions views in just three days.
"Micro films have come to our rescue. It has the twists and turns of a feature film but is way shorter, which is the amount of time we can afford for entertainment."