I suppose this should actually be titled, a day and night out at the DC Shorts Film Festival with my girlfriend, but I like the other one better so I’m sticking with it. If you don’t like it then just stop reading, but seriously please don’t. For those of you who don’t know, DC Shorts Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing independent short films, now in its 8th year it has quickly grown to one of the ten largest short film festivals in the country.
My day at DC Shorts began at the E Street Landmark Theatre where they invited film makers to put on free, yes free, filmmaking seminars on various topics. I attended seminars on Sound Design and Low Budget Filmmaking. These were both very informative and were taught by Kelley Baker, an accomplished writer/director in his own right. He is probably better known for his sound design credits, which include many films by Gus Van Sant, and most notably the academy award winning film Good Will Hunting. You can check out his stuff at his website, angryfilmmaker.com, which is a great resource full of films, podcasts, and books. Definitely worth checking out if you are into film.
Now the third seminar I attended was actually hosted by Jon Gann, the festival director, and two other festival directors. This was a very informative seminar where he spoke about film festivals from the other side of things. It was definitely eye opening and gave me a lot to think about before I submit one of our films for consideration.
Onto the screening, this was also held at the E Street Landmark Theatre here in DC. The screening was eight short films from all over the world, ranging in length from 2 minutes to 22 minutes, and made on budgets ranging from $500 to $27,000. I attended Showcase 5 which included the films, First Dates, Blue Night Club, Virus, Salar, Humane Resources, Three Actresses Walk Into a Bathroom…, Gentle Cycle Only, and Cured. All of the films at the screening I attended were extremely well made with compelling stories. The screening was packed. Luckily I made it early enough to get a decent seat. The ushers continually came to us asking if we could move down to seats that weren’t empty. Every seat was filled; even the stairs in the aisles had butts on them. Applause roared after every film ended.
After the screening we made our way to the “Celebrity Party” at Madame Tussauds just a few blocks away. Madame Tussauds is a wax museum, a very realistic wax museum, remember this for later. The party was catered by Matchbox I think, honestly the only sponsor I remember was Stella Artois, because they kept handing me free beer, who was I to say no?
It was very funny walking through the museum and seeing a group of people talking and then seeing Denzel Washington standing there listening closely, Tom Cruise smiling uncomfortably, or a drunk guy taking a picture with his hand on Jennifer Lopez’s butt. I was startled by some of these statues on more than one occasion that night. I did have the pleasure of speaking to a couple of the filmmakers who were in attendance. One of which being the Director of one of the films from the screening I attended, Three Actresses Walk into a Bathroom. She seemed very happy with the turnout and also went on to tell me that this was her first film, which made me feel like crap since we’ve made about 30 crappy ones.
Moving on, overall it was a great night for the film community here in DC. I look forward to next year’s event. It was great to see such a big turnout. It seems the appetite for film in DC is growing, which is a glimmer of hope for all of us in the area. Hopefully the filmmaking community in DC continues to grow and how could it not with great festivals like DC Shorts happening here every year.
For more information go to dcshorts.com