D.C. is chock full of great film festivals. Between AFI Docs, the D.C. Environmental Film Festival, D.C. Shorts, FilmFest and more, there are always new and interesting movies playing around D.C. Thanks to the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and Eaton, you can add another excellent film festival to your calendar. The succinctly titled Women Filmmakers Festival takes place March 6-7 and is a celebration of the creative work of women and nonbinary artists. From local shorts to director talks to classic indie films, the 100% free two day festival has a lot to offer, but we thought we’d highlight five of our favorite shorts screening this year. From sci-fi to reality TV to stop motion, there’s something in here for everyone.
Peruse our top picks below and then check out the full schedule here.
Pink Slime Caesar Shift by Jen Liu, screening at SAAM on March 7
If you’re looking for a film with visuals that are going to knock your socks off, Pink Slime Caesar Shift is calling your name. It’s a lush short that covers a lot of ground, including the labor conditions of factory workers in China and lab meat! White its tone dives around from tense to almost hypnotic, every scene is more striking than the last. You’ll never think of pepto bismol pink the same way again.
Doll Baby by Britt Sankofa, screening at Eaton on March 6
A mixture of black and white film, stop motion, intricate still lifes and more, Doll Baby is a deep dive into nostalgia and the different ways dolls can impact and form your childhood. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this movie since I watched the trailer online, with its earworm-y playground chant soundtrack and collage of mediums.
Palais de Justice by Carey Young, screening at SAAM on March 7
We’re suckers for anything that was filmed in secret (even bonkers films like Escape From Tomorrow), so Carey Young’s Palais de Justice, which was covertly filmed at the (you guessed it!) Palais de Justice in Brussels, looks fascinating. The 17 minute short travels the hallways of the immense and beautiful courthouse, focusing its lens on nothing but female subjects, including judges and lawyers. Because it was filmed entirely without permission, Young’s work embodies themes of surveillance, but it also presents a very powerful structure filled with nothing but women.
Resistance: the battle of philadelphia by M. Asli Dukan, screening at Eaton on March 6
And speaking of things we’re into, we love a good science fiction film, which is why I’m incredibly excited to catch a screening of Resistance. Set in a near future dystopian version of West Philadelphia, Resistance is a high tech story of residents coming together to fight against constant surveillance and state sanctioned violence. The trailer shows off a dramatically lit series brimming with interesting future tech and high stakes action.
Party on the Caps by Meriem Bennani, screening at SAAM on March 7
Speaking of science fiction, Party on the Caps is a bonkers look into the future. Based on the idea that teleportation technology has allowed people to go anywhere at any time, Brennani’s short is kind of like a slice of reality TV from a different dimension. In this super commercial dystopian world, the Caps is basically an island prison that holds immigrants who have been captured and jailed mid-teleportation by American drones. Filled with fake commercials and animated crocodiles, it looks like a dream and a nightmare.