Whiplash (2013 film)

Whiplash is a 2013 American drama short film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It depicts the relationship between an impassioned and gifted jazz drummer (Johnny Simmons) and an abusive bandleader (J. K. Simmons). It is the short that the feature film is based on.

Whiplash short poster.jpg
Directed byDamien Chazelle
Written byDamien Chazelle
Produced by
CinematographyEdd Lukas
Edited byTom Cross
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • January 18, 2013 (2013-01-18) (Sundance)
Running time
18 minutes
CountryUnited States

Whiplash premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013, where it won the Short Film Jury Prize.[1] It was then adapted to a feature film,[2] which won three Academy Awards.[3]


Andrew Neiman is a first-year student at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York City. He has been playing drums from a young age, and he aspires to become a world-class drummer. Fletcher, conductor and bandleader of Shaffer Conservatory Studio Band, invites him into the ensemble as alternate for core drummer Carl. However, Andrew quickly discovers that Fletcher is strict and abusive to his students. When the band rehearses the Hank Levy piece "Whiplash" and Andrew struggles to keep the tempo, Fletcher hurls a chair at him, slaps him, and berates him in front of the ensemble.



While attending Princeton High School, writer-director Damien Chazelle was in a "very competitive" jazz band and drew on the dread he felt in those years.[4] He based the conductor, Terence Fletcher, on his former band instructor (who died in 2003) but "pushed it further," adding elements of Buddy Rich and other band leaders known for their harsh treatment.[4] Chazelle said he wrote the film "initially in frustration" while trying to get his musical La La Land off the ground.[5]

Right of Way Films and Blumhouse Productions helped Chazelle turn 15 pages of his original screenplay into the short film. The short's acclaim after debuting at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival attracted investors to produce the complete version of the script.[6]


The short was very well received at Sundance, being compared to Full Metal Jacket,[1] and winning the Short Film Jury Prize.[7]


Award Category Recipient Result
Aspen Shortsfest[8] BAFTA/LA Short Film Prize Damien Chazelle Won
Sundance Film Festival[7] Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction Damien Chazelle Won
Short Film Grand Jury Prize Damien Chazelle Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Sundance: Prize-winning 'Whiplash' short aims to go long". EW.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "'Whiplash': Sundance-winning short to become full-length feature – BREAKING". EW.com. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". oscar.go.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "Whiplash maestro Damien Chazelle on drumming, directing, and J.K. Simmons". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Hammond, Pete (August 30, 2016). "Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land', An Ode To Musicals, Romance & L.A., Ready To Launch Venice And Oscar Season". Deadline. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (May 14, 2013). "Cannes: Bold, Blumhouse, Right Of Way Strike Up Band For Feature Version Of Sundance Short 'Whiplash'". Deadline. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "2013 Sundance Film Festival announces jury awards in short filmmaking". Sundance Institute. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "Aspen ShortsFest". bafta.org. May 31, 2013. Archived from the original on October 7, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.

External linksEdit