With the advent of reasonably priced DSLRs, like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D600, it’s no surprise that aspiring filmmakers are able to create shorts that look to be straight from a big budget Hollywood studio. We’ve rounded up ten awesome films for your viewing enjoyment. Continue reading to see them all.
10. The Secret Number
9. Sleeping Dogs
8. Lost Memories
7. Order Up
6. Dogs vs. Zombies
5. The Gunfighter
3. The Most Beautiful Thing
2. The Blackhole
5 Interesting MGM Studios facts:
- The studio was founded by Marcus Loew, a rags-to-riches story if there ever was one. His family was very poor and Marcus ended up working as a child instead of going to school. He saved up some money and bought a penny arcade, then he partnered with Adolph Zukor to buy a nickelodeon. The business expanded into Loew’s Theaters, which enabled him to buy three movie studios in the early ’20s – Goldwyn Pictures, Metro Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures. He combined them all and MGM was born. Zukor, by the way, went on to found Paramount.
- Louis B. Mayer only allowed Loew to buy his company if he could become studio head. Loew agreed, and Mayer turned MGM into the marketing powerhouse that it was in the ’30s and ’40s. It was really because of his efforts that MGM was known for having “more stars than there are in the heavens.” That’s old L.B. in the picture to the left with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
- Fox and MGM almost merged once a long time ago. After Marcus Loew died in 1927, William Fox bought out the Loew family’s holdings in MGM. Louis B. Mayer was not happy about that, and tried to use political connections to have the motion blocked, saying that it violated antitrust laws. But Fox was in a bad car accident, which held up all of his business deals until he recovered. Sadly, by the time he did, the stock market crash of 1929 had literally wiped out his fortune, making the MGM deal totally moot. Fox tried to bribe the judge during his bankruptcy proceedings in 1936, which landed him in prison for six months. When he was released, he retired from the film industry.
- MGM’s famous “Leo the Lion” logo was a carryout from the Goldwyn Pictures part of the business. Samuel Goldwyn had used the lion logo to honor his alma mater, Columbia University. So far, there have been five lions used – Slats, from 1924-1928; Jackie, from 1928-1956; Tanner, from 1934-1956; Bob AKA Jackie 2, from 1956-1958; and Leo, the current lion, who has been in use since 1957.
- The current MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas originally had a Wizard of Oz theme. Inside were animatronic versions of Dorothy and her friends, along with a yellow brick road that led to an amusement park. The journey included some of the same stuff Dorothy encountered on hers – a haunted forest, an apple orchard and a corn field. You also entered the building through the open mouth of a lion that resembled the studio’s logo. The theming was eventually pulled, but you can still see the lion logo represented in the five-ton bronze statue outside and the real lion habitat inside.