A new short film has turned quite a few heads recently. Composed entirely of GIFs, the film is the first of its kind and could herald a new cinematic art form. But, what exactly is a GIF? Why are they so popular? Is this the start of even more films of this nature?
If you spend any time at all on social media or the Internet in general, then you have seen a GIF, sent or pinned one or maybe even created your own. They are especially popular in sharing favorite funny moments from beloved television programs or movies.
BXBY is a short film by Quentin Cherrier and has the distinction of being the very first film made entirely out of GIFs. Instead of condensing clips to animate a favorite moment of a film, Cherrier is filming clips to share an entire (albeit extremely short) film with viewers worldwide. Is there anything that the French can’t make into art?
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and essentially is a short animation compressed into a single low-quality image. From its creation by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe in 1987, where it was used primarily to display color weather maps, it has definitely come a long way. GIFs were created to support slow modems, something that isn’t necessarily an issue today. This was before DSL and cable internet, when modem speeds were well below 56kbps. But because of their reduced file size and low resolution, color images in this format do not take as long to load.
Today GIFs are shared and created by the masses to spread favorite moments and scenes from television shows, movies or even news broadcasts. We live in a society where people want to share everything with everyone as soon as possible, and GIFs make that possible when it comes to sharing their favorite entertaining moments. And now, their entertainment value has grown so much that we’ve come to the point where they are even the feature of their very own film.
BXBY is the very first film of its kind, but could more follow? While artists have put together feature length GIF movies before, none of them have had a traditional story to follow like BXBY. To promote Stoker, a recent film starring Nicole Kidman, FOX Searchlight released a trailer made from GIFS to, as the company said, give a “glimpse into the wicked and twisted world of the film’s main characters.” It’s suitably creepy.
It’s unlikely that TV networks or even mainstream cinemas would get too excited about screening GIF movies. It’s slightly more avant-garde than they’re used to. But the Internet is the perfect home for GIF movies, which can be inexpensive to produce and screen. The way BXBY is presented lends itself to episodic delivery. There’s a poetry inherent in GIFs that standard video clips lack, so a television comedy series made entirely of GIFS probably won’t happen. It will be video artists who push the format forward. In the meantime, it’s still a great way for us to relive and share our fave TV and movie moments.
And in case you were wondering or you have a bet to win, according to Wilhite himself:
So, what are your favorite GIFs? What do you think of this new short film made entirely out of them? Let us know in the comments below!
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