What looks good at the 2014 DC Independent Film Festival

February 20, 2014
A still from the DC Independent Film Festival feature “Paat." (DC Independent Film Festival)
A still from the DC Independent Film Festival feature “Paat.” (DC Independent Film Festival)

The DC Independent Film Festival is back for its 15th year, bringing five days filled with films that can be difficult, if not impossible, to see elsewhere. The lineup includes features, documentaries, shorts, animation and — just to make you feel old — high school student films (presented Saturday afternoon). It’s nearly impossible to make every screening, but hitting one per category should work; these are the films that piqued our interest.

Features

“Paat”
Iran is quickly turning into a cinematic powerhouse, with a surge of strong films over the past few years. Maybe the charm extends to “Paat,” a film about a dog — considered unclean in the Islamic state — who, after evading animal control, follows anyone who seems nice and, in doing so, captures a look at their private lives.

Shorts

“Materica”
Where do you go for weird films? The Germans, of course! “Materica” is about a dystopian dictatorship where women rule and men are essentially obsolete. But they’re still around, so when one woman meets a man, things start to change.

Documentaries

“Furever”
This film about why losing a pet can sometimes be harder than losing a family member (short answer: Pets are rarely jerks) has already taken a number of documentary prizes at other festivals. Filmmaker Amy Finkel looks at what our mourning over passed-away pets says about our fear of our own death.

Animation

“Handle With Care”
This four-minute short is a humorous parenting instructional video, only some of the things suggested are total crap. So it’s just like all the other advice you get about parenting.

Through Sun.; various venues and prices; dciff-indie.org.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Marc Silver · February 20, 2014