DC Shorts

DC Shorts Film Festival

Friday, September 4, 2009

DC Shorts begins Thursday, and this year the festival of short films will cast a considerable shadow, with more than 100 films showing at two theaters over eight days. To see them all, you would have to sit through 10 screenings each the length of a feature film, so we've compiled a DC Shorts primer: a shortlist (forgive the pun) of six movies that epitomize the spirit of a short (even though a couple clock in at more than 20 minutes).

"A lot of feature films, if you cut out all the superfluous stuff, they're really shorts," says filmmaker Jon Gann, founder of the festival. Shorts, he says, are "films that cut the fat. They get down to business quickly."

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

Pigeon: Impossible

Plot: A particularly annoying pigeon causes a Secret Service agent to lose his characteristic cool.

Short take: Writer and director Lucas Martell's first attempt at animation was a five-year project that yielded only six minutes of film. The 3-D animation and witty hijinks, however, are pure Pixar-esque gold. Bonus: It's set in Washington with recognizable landmarks in the background.

See it: The film is part of Showcase 1 on Thursday and Sept. 12-13; the free Family Showcase on Sept. 12; Animated and Experimental Shorts on Sept. 14; and Showcase 10 on Sept. 16.

Beware of Bear

Plot: A nature photographer on assignment in a small village is warned not to venture out, lest he come face-to-face with a killer bear haunting the town.

Short take: At 20 minutes, this Greek offering from Victoria Vellopoulou takes its time weaving a tale with twists and, more important, a fully developed story.

See it: Part of Showcase 2, this short will screen Thursday and Sept. 12-13 and as part of World Showcase: European Shorts on Sept. 16.

In the Name of the Son

Plot: A Bosnian Muslim who has lost a friend in the Bosnian war moves on, only to find himself confronted years later in Los Angeles by a Serbian with a heart-wrenching request.

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