The DC Shorts Film Festival has returned! It’s my favorite time of year, when filmmakers from around the world come to Washington to share their cinematic visions.
This year, the festival features 145 films from 23 nations. The short films are organized into different screenings and shown at E Street Cinema, the Artisphere, the Atlas Performing Arts Center and the US Navy Memorial. The festival runs from September 8-18.
I’ve been a part of the festival for more than five years, as a judge, screenplay competition manager, photographer, volunteer wrangler and, this year, as a blogger-in-chief. What I like most about DC Shorts is that it’s a festival for filmmakers. They’re front and center, with the opportunity to receive recognition for their work. Lots of small touches make them feel welcome, like vouchers for food and a special filmmakers-only party.
This is not Hollywood. The films in the festival come from people doing it themselves. They’re not trying to win the attention of some fickle producer; instead, they go out and film the story they want to tell. This year’s DC Shorts features a slew of local films, including a film that cost only $500 to make. This is not atypical – you can do a lot with a camera and volunteer labor.
As someone who has written screenplays and self-published a novel, I identify with this DIY philosophy. It’s what makes our age so wonderful, that advances in technology allow anyone to communicate their vision with the world.