DC Shorts’ Director Calls Upcoming Festival “Powerful Stuff”

It’s been called the “Coolest Short Film Festival” (MovieMaker Magazine), has won “Best Film Fest” (Washington City Paper) three times, and is recognized as one of the largest short film events on the East Coast.  The DC Shorts Film Festival heads into its 11th year with an 11 day event (September 11 – 21, 2014) that screens 135 films from 25 countries.. and this year even includes an online option.

There’s something for everyone — especially those with short attention spans! — with filmmaker workshops, contests, and, of course, screenings of this Festival’s films that range in subjects and genres, but all play between 2 to 30 minutes long.

We caught up with Festival Director Jon Gann to give us the long and short of it:

KSM: What’s new this year that you are most excited about for the festival’s 11th year?

JG: “Films from 25 countries — our highest number ever. And from countries never before represented, such as Cyprus and Venezuela.  Also, we are very happy about this year’s DC Shorts Online Film Festival. Of course, we want people to attend screenings in person — but we also know that people are busy and that getting Downtown or to Fairfax is not always possible. Or, people can attend one screening but want to see many more films… The DCOFF allows access to 109 films during the festival week. They can be played on any computer, smartphone and Roku box. The price is $35 if you buy online, or only $15 when you purchase at one of our box offices.  Those that preorder online also have access to 12 films that can be watched immediately.”

KSM: Tell us more about the FREE lunchtime shows…

JG:  “These special shows are thematically programmed and run only 40 minutes. It is a great way to grab a sandwich, head into the theater, enjoy a few films, and get back to your desk — all under an hour.”

KSM:  OK, so there are hundreds of Shorts that have been chosen out of thousands of submissions… but if you had one or two that you’d say were MUST SEEs on your own list, what might they be

JG:  “How can I play favorites? My highlight films are spread out among the 17 showcases. I recommend “Business as Usual,” “One Minute Time Machine,” “Mr. Bear,” “The Uncles” and “Yearbook.” But I also like films for very different reasons than the audience — so spend some time at our online film sorter and go through the 135 selections. Most have trailers — all have photos and descriptions and links to their social media and websites.”

KSM: What genre is usually your personal favorite — or that you gravitate toward?

JG:  “I am a fan of quirky characters and dysfunctional families — give me an Almodovar movie every time. This year, I am drawn to the cool sci-fi and tie travel movies, as well as the many quirky date films. That said, I also love a short, succinct and emotional documentary. We have many of them programmed.”

KSM: Hardest question: DC has a LOT of film festivals.  Why should DCers pay particular attention to DC Shorts?

JG: “DC Shorts was created as a filmmakers’ event. All of the activities are built around allowing filmmakers an opportunity to screen in world-class venues, interact with some of the best audiences in the world — and connect with one another. The greatest compliment I every receive is when a filmmaker calls months or years after a DC Shorts and says that he/she and another filmmaker they met at DCS are working on a new project together. That means we made the connection that will allow both artists to thrive. That is powerful stuff.”

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