D.C. Shorts returns as ‘world’s coolest’ short film fest

WASHINGTON — MovieMaker Magazine named it the Coolest Short Film Fest, not only in America, but in the world.

This weekend, D.C. Shorts returns for its 11th year with 135 short films from 25 countries, now through Sept. 21.

“When I created this 11 years ago, it was about building a festival for filmmakers. If they had a great time and audiences had a great time, then everything else would just fall into place,” festival programmer Jon Gann says.

The approach has certainly worked. This year, the festival received 1,400 submissions from 49 countries. It was Gann’s job to narrow this down to 135.

Roughly 100 filmmakers will fly in from other countries, including Cyprus, Finland, Venezuela, Australia, Japan and Germany, while 10 percent are local filmmakers.

“As a director, you either have the ability to tell that story successfully, or you do not,” Gann says. “We’re looking for filmmakers who have potential, who know what they’re doing and we can’t wait see their next film. We’re also looking for films that would relate to a Washington audience.”

The screenings are programmed into 17 different 90-minute blocks. That’s roughly eight short films per showcase, so if you don’t like one film, just close your eyes for a few minutes and a new film from a different genre will arrive.

“We present films very much like a tapas meal. Documentary, comedy, drama, experimental, music, horror

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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