DC Shorts WINS! screens virtual Best of the Fest with movie on Oscar shortlist

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews DC Shorts WINS! (Part 1)

Did you miss last fall’s D.C. Shorts Film Fest? Want to relive the cream of the crop?

DC Shorts WINS! Best of the Fest streams virtually Wednesday through Monday.

“It’s a screening that DC Shorts produces every winter,” Executive Director Peter Morgan told WTOP. “We screen all of the films that won awards last September. … They’re all of the Audience Award-winning films and the Jury Award-winning films.”

The films are broken up into two showcases of outstanding short films.

Showcase A features eight outstanding films totaling 116 minutes. That includes the Deepak Sethi’s social comedy “Coffee Shop Names” (USA).

“It’s a very cute short film about individuals who have names that are unpronounceable to many people,” Morgan said. “They come up with what they call their coffee-shop-name abbreviations. As they stand in line, they imagine who these characters are.”

Albert Ventura’s sci-fi drama “Love at Third Sight” (Spain) recalls themes from “Last Year at Marienbad” (1962) and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004).

“It’s about two individuals who meet for the first time in a coffee shop,” Morgan said. “Have they met before? One of them believes they have and has to convince the other one that they have met, for a very particular reason, but I’ll let you see the film.”

You can also watch Yuan Yuan’s family drama “Heading South” (USA).

“It’s really beautifully shot on location in China with some great cinematography,” Morgan said. “It’s about a girl having to come to terms with the fact that there’s a new family member in her life, in this instance, a new parent with somebody remarrying.”

You can also check out Helki Frantzen’s dance documentary “L.A. Roll” (USA).

“It’s about a roller-skating team in Los Angeles set against the backdrop of their roller rink closing,” Morgan said. “It’s very poignant about these people who come together and live their lives loving roller skating as a hobby. It’s also their entire social world.”

Don’t miss Kristen Lappas’ documentary “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible” (USA).

“It takes place on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana about children being taught how to box and defend themselves,” Morgan said. “It’s necessary because of the number of Indigenous women that go missing on the reservations. Indigenous women are 3% of the population but account for [over 30%] of missing women.”

Showcase B features seven outstanding films totaling 114 minutes. That includes Farah Nabulsi’s Oscar-shortlist drama “The Present” (Palestine).

“It absolutely deserves to be nominated, and if it is, it will probably win,” Morgan said. “It’s a very simple story about a father and his daughter having to cross a border check in Palestine to go shopping for basic food necessities. He also wants to purchase a gift for his wife on their anniversary. … The horror of having to go through this checkpoint.”

It also includes Erblin Nushi’s acclaimed drama “Vlora” (Kosovo).

“It’s a very simple story that takes place in Kosovo in 2002,” Morgan said. “It’s about a wife who realizes that she wants and needs to go to work for money and to have a more fulfilling experience in her life and the problem that it will cause with her family.”

It also includes Abraham Joffe’s nature documentary “Yarrow” (Australia).

“It’s a short documentary about the photographer named Yarrow,” Morgan said. “He’s shooting penguins. It’s really cute, very fun if you like penguins and photography.”

You can also watch Pier-Philippe Chevigny’s drama “Rebel” (Canada).

“It’s about a father and son who join some friends out in the woods on the Canadian border,” Morgan said. “You realize the purpose of why they’re there. This is all being observed from the point of view from a child who must be four or five years old.”

You can watch each showcase for $12 apiece — or both at a discounted $20.

Three lucky ticket buyers will receive an all-access pass for the next D.C. Shorts International Film Festival, which is scheduled to run Sept. 9 through Sept. 19.

“Ideally, we’ll be able to be in theaters; more likely, it will be a hybrid,” Morgan said. “We’re in communication with E Street Cinema waiting to see what they’re allowed to do. Once we know what they’re allowed to do, we can figure out what we can do based on local rules. Fingers crossed. It seems like we’re heading in the right direction.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews DC Shorts WINS! (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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