Part of the DC Shorts Film Festival, “Friend Request Pending” stars Penny Ryder and Judi Dench as two women learning the art of web-stalking potential paramours. (Image courtesy of 2012 DC Shorts/DC Film Alliance)

Here’s a look at some of those films, ranging from animation to drama and comedy to documentary.

“Friend Request Pending” (Showcase 3)

Not many first-time filmmakers get to direct big-name actors, but Chris Foggin managed to do just that with his sweet, comedic movie starring Judi Dench. The short, penned by Chris Croucher, looks at the retiree dating scene, which is not immune to the pitfalls of the Internet age. Dench even gets some choice lines when discussing online stalking her new love interest: “His tweets are quite good.”

“Paraiso” (Showcase 5)

Nadav Kurtz’s first foray into documentary shorts is a beautifully shot look at window cleaners in the Windy City. Three immigrants rappel down Chicago skyscrapers chatting about everything from the serious (their fear of death) to the comical, such as some of the unexpected scenes they witness through the glass while on the job.

“Shinobi Blues” (Showcase 8)

What’s a retired ninja to do? The answer lies in Mike Liu’s comedic animated short, which follows a dishonorably discharged masked avenger who breaks a cardinal rule and, refusing to do himself in, goes about finding another calling.

“Tastes Like Chicken?” (Showcase 15)

The Brazilian short from filmmaker Quico Meirelles might make you think twice before you order that plate of wings. The story is told from the perspective of a chicken, following her progression from a wee chickadee to a grown bird, looking for a different life than the one, well, laid out for her.

For ticket and venue information and a complete schedule, visit