In The Moment: A Preview of the DC Shorts Film Festival & Screenplay Competition September 10-20th

Ah, the end of August. The August month-long Congressional recess will be ending soon. DC area schools at all levels are opening momentarily. We can only hope that the recent mid-summer-time swoon of the Nationals will rapidly vanish as the calendar turns to September, while we await the Washington professional football team taking the field for “count-in-the-standings” games.


And of course, summer beach parties must begin to head back to DC for relocation.

So, what is in store for us with interests in the cinema? Just in time we can begin the count-down until the opening of the 12th annual DC Shorts Film Festival. September 10th is getting closer.

KImberley Bush. Photo courtesy of DC Shorts.
KImberley Bush. Photo courtesy of DC Shorts.

“Take time out of your busy lives, give us 90 minutes, and we will take you on an extraordinary, cinematic trip around the world,” is an open invitation from DC Shorts Film Festival ‘s Executive Director Kimberley Bush.

With its motto, “We champion short filmmaking,” the 2015 festival will screen 125 films from the DC area, nation-wide and from 24 different counties during its 11 day run noted Bush in a recent interview. Many of these short films and their film makers would be unknown to us in DC without the annual DC Shorts Film Festival.

And at the festival, audiences can meet the filmmakers up-close. “Attending our celebrations will be over 150 filmmakers who travel from as far away as Brazil and Australia,” said Bush.

The films are all “shorts.” Whether dramas, animation, comedies, documentaries or experimental films. For the DC Shorts Festival, a short film is defined as between 2 to 30 minutes long. The films will be combined together into 14 distinctive film showcases each running about 90 minutes. The screened films were judged from over 1200 entries received from 56 countries.

The films promise to range from the rowdy to the quiet, the sweet to the savory, the edgy, sharp-edged to the softly rounded, as well as pieces of real life or of fantasy that might touch upon personal relationships, again, returning home from the military, comic takes on people we may know and way more.

Note: For those who have attended the DC Shorts at the Angelika Film Center in Fairfax County’s Mosaic District, this year’s DC Shorts Film Festival will not screen films at the Angelika.

This year, DC Shorts will have films physically screened for viewing at the Landmark E Street Cinema – 555 11th Street, NW, in Washington, DC, and the U.S. Navy Memorial Burke Theater – 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. Here is the venue information and directions.

To more fully explore what the DC Shorts Film Festival has to offer go hereThere you can click on any film to read the description and then watch the trailer (when available).


Ticket information to DC Shorts from September 10-20, 2015 is here.

For those who cannot or choose not to go to one of the big screen venues, most of the selections will be available through a secure online portal accessible through a computer, tablet, smartphone, or Roku box as part of the DC Shorts Online Film Festival.

Added to the two DC downtown venues, “One of our showcases is free and will feature family friendly films that will be screened in 8 different DC Public Libraries, one in each ward,” added Bush. For lunchtime viewing, there will be free screenings at Noon, Monday September 14- Thursday, September 17th. There are also free film making workshops as well.

​This year’s DC Shorts will include regular features such as “Q&A” sessions with the filmmakers, a screenplay competition in which the audience selects a winner including a funds to shoot their project.  There will also be an opening weekend “City View Party” atop a roof deck with live music throughout the festival parties located within a five-block radius of the Penn Quarter/Gallery Place neighborhood.

For this year festival there are a number of new touches as well.  For example: 

  • Best of Sunderland Film Festival: This past year, DC Shorts facilitated the organization of the first short film festival in Sunderland, England — one of DC’s sister cities and the ancestral home of George Washington. This year, DC Shorts will present the Best of Sunderland Film Festival, screening the short films our neighbors across the pond selected as their favorites.
  • A special showcase of 9 German films, called Das BergartenThere will be screenings of German films, German pop music, lite bites and libations at Goethe-Institute at 812 7th Street NW the evening of Friday, September 11, 2015, and

Now with so many different shorts movies for all kinds of tastes, and from far and wide, I am not here to recommend any particular showcases. But, at a recent press screening, there was a short about local hip-hop, beat-box entertainer Christlylez Bacon with his unique artistic and musical skills. Bacon has performed at Woolly Mammoth Theatre and the Atlas Theater in the past year or so. The film is directed by Aaron Fisher. Here is the trailer made by Aaron Fisher for the Woolly Mammoth Production: We Are Proud to Present…:

Another short, a sweetly animated film called Companion, by Sean Oneill, is about the love a stray dog can bring to a life.

You never know what you will find either in the films or cinephile friends you might make. And there is even the opportunity to work with the Film Festival to make it a success. DC Shorts is primarily supported by volunteers to who give their time in various capacities during the film festival. Festival Director Bush invited those interested in volunteering as a box office team member, usher, events team member or photographer to send an email to [email protected]​.

Note:  If  you are Academy Award fan, here are the winners of the for Best Live Action and Best Animated Short Films. 

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