This summer saw the release of two major feature films that started life as shorts -- District Nine and the animated film 9 (no relation, and not to be confused with the upcoming, Daniel-Day-Lewis-starring musical, Nine.) It's enough to give young filmmakers out there hope: sometimes those short films can go a long way!

9
This animated short was created by Shane Acker while still a film student. Tim Burton saw it and was so impressed that he helped it become a feature, which was released recently.

Alive in Joburg
A similar story to 9 -- FX whiz Neil Blomkamp created Alive in Joburg as a short, and Peter Jackson was so excited about it that (after failing to produce a movie version of Halo with Blomkamp as director) he produced a feature version of the short -- this summer's hit District 9.

Paluca
Jared Hess' short film was the genesis for mega-hit Napoleon Dynamite.

Evil Dead
"Within the Woods" was Sam Raimi and Rob "Rip" Tapert's promotional short that helped them raise money to make the original Evil Dead. It's rough-looking and amateurish, but it stars Bruce Campbell and it launched a revolution in horror-comedy!

Bottle Rocket
Then-nobodies Owen and Luke Wilson star in Wes Anderson's 1992 short film that became Bottle Rocket and launched all three of their careers. This is the first five minutes.

The Dirk Diggler Story
An excerpt from P.T. Anderson's 1988 short, The Dirk Diggler Story, a mockumentary he made when he was just seventeen. It would eventually become Boogie Nights.