The National Film Society, Inc., a non-profit organization of movie buffs, scholars and antiquarians edged to "preserving the artifacts and heritage of the motion picture in America," will hold its annual convention at the Shoreham-Americana Hotel from Friday, Nov. 4, through Sunday, Nov. 6. The schedule of events includes about 40 film screenings, displays and discussions ranging from the career of Douglas Fairbanks to film piracy, and an award dinner in which Rita Hayworth will be honored.

The convention will run from 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission membership passes will be priced at $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for students and $2.50 for children accompanied by their parents. Detailed information may be obtained by contacting Alice Becker at 365-2239 or the society's offices in the hotel any time after 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The National Endowment for the Arts, in cooperation with Warner Bros., United Artists and the National Association of Theater Owners, has announced the first selections in a pilot project designed to encourage the showing exception short films with first-run theatrical features on systematic basis. Originally proposed by producer-director Robert Wise and financed by a National Endowment grant, the project will be tested extensively with the following six shorts: "Clay" by Eliot Noyes Jr., "Frank Film" by Frank Mouris, "Lapis" by James Whitney, "Evolution of a Red Star" by Adam Beckett, "Light" by Jordan Belson and "Gulls and Buoys" by Robert Breer.

These selections, as well as several others slated for later distribution, were made by a panel consisting of exhibitor Richard Brandt, filmmakers Ed Emshwiller, Francis Coppola and Martin Scorsese and critic Pauline Kael. The films will be offered free of charge to theater owners and distributed with features of moderate running time, in order to avoid a hint of interference with the number of daily shows theaters normally offer.

The filmmakers whose work has been chosen for the program receive an honorarium of $3,000 for the non-exclusive use of their movies. Theater owners and managers seeking further information about the project should write to the Media Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts, Mail Stop No. 552, 2401 E St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20506.

Hichael Ritchie's movie version of "Semi-Tough," co-starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson as pro football stars in love with the same woman, Jill Clayburgh, will be sneaked on Friday, Nov. 11, at all the theaters scheduled to play it as following Friday, Nov. 18 - the Annadale, Buckingham, Carrollton 3 & 4. Loew's Embassy, Roth's Mt. Vernon 1 & 2, Roth's Randolph 1 & 2, Roth's Silver Spring West and Roth's Tysons Corner.

There will be multiple area openings for "Sweet Revenge," a character study of a car theif played by Stockard Channing, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and "Another Man, Another Chance" Claude Lelouch's Western reworking of the premise of "A Man and a Woman" with James Caan and Genevieve Bujold on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The Washington Area Filmmakers League will host a free seminar on optical effects tonight at 7:30 in the Corcoran School auditorium. The participants include filmmaker-teacher Michael Day, Bob Jones of Symmetry Corporation and Denny Pilgrim of Pilgrim Film Service. WAFL is also one of the local organizations designed to benefit from the "Satyricon Ball," a benefit program of film showings, live dance performances and light shows scheduled for this Saturday at the Ontario Theater, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Detailed information on the program and reservations, priced at $5, may be obtained by calling the theater at 332-1307.

Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and Howard University's Departments of Radio, TV & Film and Romance Languages, are hosting a series called "Struggle and Social Change in Contemporary Africa ad the Arab World" in cooperation with the Egyptian embassy. Showings are scheduled each Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at various sites on the campuses, with the exception of the final program, an Egyptian feature called "Al-Haram," which will be shown at the Georgetown Theater on the morning of Nov. 19.