DC Shorts Film Festival

By Punch Pulse Correspondent Lindsey Clark

On the grand scale of attention spans, I’d probably fall somewhere between a gnat and a 4 year old in terms of how long I can generally focus on any one thing. This is probably why I am such a fan of short films, and therefore why I’m so thrilled that it’s once again time for the DC Shorts Film Fest. Boasting 140 films from 27 countries that all clock in at 20 minutes or less, DC Shorts offers film fans 11 days of films that cover a full range of style, subject and genre. In a way, it’s probably more of a challenge to filmmakers to tell a convincing and engaging story in such a short amount of time, but given that audiences are more plugged in now than ever before, it’s to their advantage that in the span of 5 minutes, most of us can (and often do) update our Facebook status, take Instagram photos of our latest meal, check email, tweet about our business in case anyone missed it on Facebook, and text our sister about that necklace that went missing (I’m looking at you, NIKI).  The rate at which most of us consume media makes short films an excellent source of short-term entertainment.  However, DC Shorts – now in its 9th year – does an amazing job of selecting films that will have people thinking about them far beyond their 15 minute running time.

DC Shorts is the largest short film festival on the East Coast and offers film goers a wide variety of events and activities to satiate every cinematic palate.  New to this year’s lineup is film/chef pairings, where showcases running throughout the Fest will feature a food pairing selected and prepared by a DC chef, based on the premise of one of that showcase’s films.  Last night, I caught a showcase at Landmarks’ E Street Cinema that featured a pairing by 701′s Ed Witt, who created a lamb tartare on crostini to serve alongside Murder Mouth – a documentary out of Australia about a woman who decides she cannot eat anything she couldn’t kill herself (can I just say, if this was my philosophy, I would pretty much end up on a diet of peanut butter and cheerios).  Witt’s pairing, meant to emphasize modern carnivore’s disconnection with their food and where it comes from, unfortunately fell into the category of animals that I don’t eat (I’m pretty sure that in a fight to the death between me and a lamb, the lamb would win), and while I didn’t get to partake in the tasting, I certainly appreciated the concept behind it.  There were 9 other short films screened in the showcase, and I honestly could not tell you which one was my favorite – they were all fantastic, thought-provoking, emotive, and incredibly engaging.  Why Do We Put Up With Them had me in tears in four minutes flat, Thinking Inside the Box made my heart smile, Pyka (Hand) will be on my mind for a long time, and Guang was such a touching story that I’ve already ruined the plot line for about 15 people by telling them what happens.  Proof that short film isn’t any less powerful or moving than their feature-length counterparts – they just manage to do it in about an hour and fifteen minutes less.

There are several other chef pairings at showcases throughout the Festival, as well as a host of free events -from lunchtime screenings at E St Cinema (September 10-13 at noon) to family friendly showcases and filmmaker workshops.  Check the full event calendar for showtimes, venue information, tickets, and of course, the after parties.  Tickets are still available for both the Grand Bash and the Closing Party, all the film screening showcases, and the screenplay competition. The Festival is running now through September 16th.  Put it in your calendar now before your short attention span moves on to something else.

About Lindsey Clark:
As the Punch Premiere Correspondent, Lindsey covers all things film and theater related. When not writing for Pamela’s Punch, Lindsey serves as an Executive Assistant at the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (www.pcah.gov). Aside from writing and seeing as much theater as possible, Lindsey enjoys the arts, live music, spending QT with her dog, Lincoln, and being little sister to fellow Punch Correspondant Niki Clark. Follow her on twitter @lindseykayclark. Contact Lindsey at lindsey@pamelaspunch.com.
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