On Thursday, the annual DC Shorts Film Festival kicks off, bringing 140 micro-movies from 27 countries to a handful of screens around town. Each of the 16 showcases runs about 90 minutes and features seven to nine shorts. Among the many bright aspects of the festival is the chance to see up-and-coming talent. Short films are less of a commitment for new filmmakers to try their hand at the art form, and some of the results indicate a promising career ahead.

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.

Thursday through Sept. 16. For ticket and venue information and a complete schedule, visit www.dcshorts.com.