WASHINGTON—Filmmakers and screenwriters in the Washington, D.C. metro area received exposure during the DC Shorts Film Festival that wrapped up on Sept. 30. The ten day festival screened over 153 domestic and international short films at six theater and screening room locations in the metro area.
In its 10th year, DC Shorts, a favorite film festival among local film enthusiasts, offered a number of unique film festival experiences for audiences this year including over 120 films screened online powered by Indieflix, and a screenplay writing competition.
“It went very well this year, ticket sales were up, audience members were happy and film makers were happy,“ said Jon Gann, director of the festival.
Dramas, comedies, and animated shorts from established film makers from 23 countries were screened alongside works of emerging film makers.
Washington, D.C. based filmmakers Rob Shore and Ian Fay’s film “Garden of Steven” showed in the festival. The film was produced by Goldenbear, an Adams Morgan-based film production company. In “Garden of Steven,” Steven Crosby (played by Chris Keener) a young Christian missionary travels to Antigua, Guatemala to spread his Christian beliefs by handing out a pocket-sized religious comic book that he created. Discovering the population in Antigua is Catholic, Crosby found himself lost in Antigua and in search of a Maximon, a folk saint venerated by the Mayan people.
“We [who worked on the film] are all people in our 30s for the most part… We are in this world where we came out of college when the economy was tanking… people are waiting longer to get married, so moving into your late 20s and early 30s is a really interesting new limbo area. Making a character like Steven who is dealing with that dilemma is easy for us to access,“ said Rob Shore in an interview with DC Shorts.
“Garden of Steven” was made in memory of Ian’s brother who passed away in 2010 at age 25.
Screenplays that examine life’s somber moments were read in the screenplay competition at Atlas Performing Arts Center on Sept. 27.
A panel of judges that included filmmakers, screen writers and critics chose six of the 145 screen plays that were submitted to the festival competition to be read aloud. After the table reading the audience voted on their favorite script. The winner of the screenplay competition, was Fred Perry, who wrote “Five Days in Calcutta.” He will receive $2,000 to make the screenplay into a film. DC Shorts plans to show Perry’s completed film in next year’s festival.
Joe Flood, writer, and member of the screen writing competition judges, described “Five Days in Calcutta” as a “wry and funny comedy about a failed artist, a suicide attempt, and a dog that may or may not be dead.”
“Bernie and Rebecca,” a comedy by a writer from Charlottesville, Va., is about a couple’s first date and their thoughts on their future. “The Goblin Baby,” a drama from a Washington, D.C.-based writer, tells the story of a mother who is determined to find her son who was abducted by a supernatural being. Both of the above were selected among the six that were read at the Atlas Theater.
Shenanigans, the film based on last year’s winning script, was screened following the competition. Peter Kimball, a District resident, wrote and co-directed the film with Colin Foster, who was also the producer.