By no means did I see all 97 films at the DC Shorts Film Festival. But I saw a lot and got to meet to some of the filmmakers as well.
I’ll be posting “mini-reviews” of what I liked, from what I saw.
One of my favorite films was Enter the Beard. Audiences enjoyed it too – this documentary won Filmmaker’s Favorite and Audience Choice awards.
Enter the Beard is a very funny look at an odd American subculture – men who grow elaborate and enormous beards and then compete against other men in the World Beard and Mustache Championships. (One of the few women in the film pointed out how odd it was that men would groom themselves and then walk down catwalks, like hirsute supermodels.)
It would be easy to just present these men and their oversized facial hair as freaks yet the documentary is empathetic and amusing. Much of this humor comes from Charles Parker Newton, our guide to this world of beards and mustaches. He’s engaging and funny, with the charisma of a cult leader.
I talked to him for a bit at DC Shorts, outlining my inability to grow the Grizzly Adams beard of my dreams. He faulted my lack of commitment and, with a roaring speech, convinced me that I should spend the next six months growing a kickass beard. It made sense at the time.
After all, what’s more American than following your dream? Even if your dream involves doing nothing, of just deciding not to shave anymore.