Due to the fact that short films can undertake greatly diverse themes they are used by different people for different purposes, ranging from educational ones to simply personal interest.
- EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES: Short films can be utilised by schools in order to promote a message or to inform students about social problems more effectively than a simple speech can due to the visual anchorage. Students may also feel they can relate to the actors in the short films more than they can relate to their teachers therefore the message is conveyed more effectively, making short films a significant tool for teachers to use. Bulletproof (see http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/insideindies/shortsfest/bulletproof.html) is an example of a short film aimed at students to raise awareness on a social issue, in this case gun crime, through the use of young actors to deliver the message. This shows that school children are a potential audience to which short films are aimed at. These short films are usually funded by institutions such as BBC or Channel 4 due to their public service remit whereby they must attempt to educate and inform the audience.
- PROFESSIONAL AUDIENCES: Short films are also widely used by young and upcoming producers and directors as an area which can be used promote their skills and and also showcase their ideas for a new film. This therefore opens up a whole new potential audience for short films, an audience which ultimately judges short films as a profession. These short films are shown in film festivals such as the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival which again introduces another audience to short films which consists of both new producers and veteran producers who attend such festivals. 'Alive in Joburg', is an example of a short film which was used by the director to gain promotion for his film idea as the film was later made into a full length film. These short films are either funded independently by the producer or through a private institution for more established directors.
- AUDIENCES WITH SPECIFIC INTEREST: Another significant audience for short films are those who have a specific interest in short films and are willing to research them on the internet and purchase them on DVD's. Websites such as the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/films/) offer short films to audiences with specific interests for free while other websites (see http://filmmakers.com/films/directory.htme) have short films for sale. These short films are usually funded independently however some are funded institutionally by popular film companies.
- BBFC (British Board of Film Classification): It is the job of the BBFC to apply suitable age certificates to not only movies and games but also to short films. It is an independent body, free from both government intervention as well as that of film companies meaning the certificate handed to the film is both reliable and accurate without pressure form outside institutions. When rating a film or game the BBFC take into account the language, sexual content, violence as well as other factors before giving the film a suitable certificate out of the following: