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The DC Shorts Film Festival kicks off tonight with screenings at E Street Cinema and the US Navy Memorial. It’ll continue for the next ten day with additional screenings at the Angelika Film Center at Mosaic. 135 shorts from 25 countries will be screened and it’s damn near impossible to see them all in the theater. This is a shame because every show (each show has 7-8 shorts) has at least one must-see film. We’re going to highlight those must-sees.

DC Shorts shows do not have themes. Director of Programming Jon Gann believes that audiences are able to handle 10 minute dramatic pieces about race relations followed by 2 minute animated jokes followed by 20 minutes about time travel (there’s a lot of time travel this year). We agree. Variety makes things better and it’s one of the reasons DC Shorts is a fun festival to attend and review. Your world view and your cinematic experience is better after watching 135 shorts that are about anything and everything.

For the ambitious short film lover, we recommend going to at least one show and purchasing the DC Shorts Online Film Festival for $15 (it’s $35 if you don’t buy it at a show).

Our previews for shows 5-16 and the Free Family Show will be posted Friday, the first day of those shows).

Show 1 Highlight

A Special Day

Based on the festival description (On his wedding day, a man discovers that his wife-to-be is secretly a superhero.), I thought this short would be horrendous. It’s nearly the same premise as My Super Ex-Girlfriend. But it’s really well done. The jokes land, the effects are not laughable, the performances are solid and even the outtakes (sometimes 13 minute films have outtakes) are funny. This could easily have been a feature length film and that’s a compliment.


Show 2 Highlight

In My Corner

Boxing dramas are great. Rocky, Raging Bull, The Fighter, the ring story is captivating and what goes on before and after the ring is even better. The short has a solid premise and is well executed. If you can make a good boxing film, you’re a good filmmaker.


Show 3 Highlight


This dark comedy from Switzerland is the film that’s sticking with me. It’s the film that makes me want to research the director and follow their career. They’ve made a highly stylized short that would please David Lynch. I don’t want to give anything away. It’s so much better if you don’t read the description. It’s more dark than comedy.


Show 4 Highlight

Manny Gets Censored

A clever idea that gets sappy but not heavy handed. The editing is what makes this 8 minute romantic comedy stand out. I want to see more from these actors, the writer, editor and director. It kicks off Show 4 and you’ll remember it 7 shorts later.


All images courtesy of DC Shorts Film Festival.