Ten years on, DC Shorts is still going strong. The film festival of movies less than 30 minutes long starts today and runs through Sept. 21 with 135 shorts (culled from 1,300 submissions) at E Street Cinema, the U.S. Navy Memorial and the Angelika in Fairfax. Here are all the details on how to get tickets, when to catch free screenings and how to watch the movies while sitting on your couch.
Prepare yourself for tapas
Just as small plates have taken over the D.C. dining scene, festival director Jon Gann compares the showcases to an eclectic tapas dinner. All of the films have been placed in 90-minute blocks. The seven to nine movies in each screening will run the gamut from drama to comedy to documentary to experimental, so that each audience will be taken on a bit of an emotional ride. There are also some specialty blocks, including all-doc screenings, a selection of Spanish films and LGBT shorts.
Decide if you like talk-backs
Some movie-goers love to stick around after a movie and participate in question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers and actors. Others want to get home as quickly as possible. Those in the former group should make an effort to catch the screenings this weekend, which will be followed by moderated discussions.
Vow to take a lunch break
Typical Washingtonian overachievers generally chow down on their lunches while working, or at least sitting in front of their computers and appearing to work. But DC Shorts is no time for that. Next Monday through Sept. 18, there will be free 40-minute screenings at noon at E Street Cinema; Angelika also hosts free screenings, Monday through the 21st, including 70-minute family-friendly blocks at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21.
Stay in your jammies
You don't have to make it to the theater to watch the shorts. Most of the movies are available online for an incredibly reasonable price. Tickets for in-theater screenings run $12 per showcase, but if you want to see them at home, you can buy an all-access pass online for $35. If you're willing to leave your house and buy the pass at the box office, it's only $15, which connects you with more than 100 shorts, but only during the festival.
Hold out for the best of the best
Given that only 1 in 10 submissions makes it into the festival, the quality of the shorts is already pretty high. But if you're willing to wait until closing weekend, you can watch the two best of showcases, made up of the shorts which won awards -- which are announced Sunday -- and audience favorites.
For more information on screenings and tickets, visit the DC Shorts Web site.