Democracy Dies in Darkness


The DC Shorts Film Festival is back for its 15th year, plus 2 other movie events you can’t miss

September 6, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Dark comedy “The Pharaohs” will be one of the 120 (or so) films you can catch at DC Shorts. (Jake Simpson/)

DC Shorts Film Festival
DC Shorts, the annual festival celebrating the medium of short film (motto: “If it’s terrible, at least it will be over soon!”) (that is not actually the motto), is returning for a 15th year. As always, nearly every genre is represented, and there’s a special emphasis on films by women, people of color, LGBT people and other often-marginalized groups. The shorts are organized into 18 showcases, many of which will be followed by a Q&A; session. The festival also features a screenplay competition, in which six writers present their scripts at table readings, audiences vote for the best and the winner gets $2,000 to shoot his or her film for next year’s festival. If you don’t want to leave your comfy couch, an online option lets you watch every film at home.
Various locations; Thu. through Sept. 16, various times, free to $15 for individual showcases, $125 for all-access pass, $30 for online access. Go to for details.

When a newsman (Peter Finch) loses his mind on television and says he’ll commit suicide during the next broadcast, his network cuts away, then quietly sets up mental health services for him that are covered by his excellent health insurance. Ha ha ha that’s not what happens in 1976’s “Network” at all. Instead, they keep him on TV because they know the ratings will go through the roof. Of course this is pure fiction, as the media would never do anything so crass just to get more viewers. It’s likely this classic will make you as mad as hell and unable to take it anymore.
AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring; Fri.-Sun. & Wed., various times, $10-$13.

“Peter Pan”
These kids today, with their Imax and green screens and Atmos sound. Take them back to a time when the movies were silent and the local church organist played the score live (no, really, this happened a lot). This weekend you can see a screening of the 1924 version of “Peter Pan,” the first movie adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s play. The film, thought to be lost, was found and, in 1995, given a full restoration courtesy of Disney. Local composer Andrew Simpson, an expert in composing music for silent film, will play his score live on the piano.
Old Greenbelt Theatre, 129 Centerway, Greenbelt, Md.; Sat., 11 a.m., $5-$7.

Kristen Page-Kirby joined Express in 2010 and covers film, arts and entertainment. Her weekly film column, The Reelist, has run in Express since 2009.

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