DC Shorts Film Festival and Screenwriting Competition

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Showcase 7: In Pursuit of Connection

These nine films share the motif of developing or fostering connection.  Some characters seek connection with others and some wish to solidify an inner connection or one with the world itself.  In many of these films, the development of connection is in opposition to the act of severing connection.



In Eli Shapiro’s farce, To Snowy Nowhere, Tad is determined to retrieve his runaway sister, Laurie, from a remote cabin in upstate New York.  He hires a former husky construction worker to assist him in a dubious kidnapping ruse that doesn’t exactly go according to plan.  Shapiro depicts the love-hate nature of sibling relationships in a story filled with wit, awkward interfaces and some hilarious twists.


McKenzie, is a documentary short by Paul Houston that follows veteran silkscreen artist Jeff McKenzie, who has found success with his small screen printing business, McKenzie & Company.  He discusses his resistance to automated technology, and his amazement at how little the trade has changed since his start in 1972.  In a world of cheap imitation where nearly everything seems to be mechanized and artificial, it is a wonder to learn about an art form that has yet to become obsolete.


Teardrop, a film by Damian John Harper delineates the lifestyle of inner-city gangs, shot from the perspective of a young uninitiated gang member named Dan.  After getting beat up by a member of a rival gang, Dan’s crew prods him to murder his assailant in order to gain “official” membership into the gang.  He is left in a plight of moral consequence as he determines what he wants.  Harper depicts gang violence in all its brutality in this gripping short film.



Florette, a sprightly, animated short by Gus Filgate and Paul Miller, follows a kitchen’s medley of tangoing vegetables.  However, the edibles are not without company and must escape the sharp blades of the kitchen knives to avoid a minced fate.  This inventive and entertaining short features brilliant stop-go animation and a composed background score.


Everything is Incredible is a documentary short, collaborated by three American filmmakers, Tyler Bastian, Trevor Hill and Tim Skousen.  The filmmakers travelled to Siguatepeque, Honduras to illuminate the life of a local disabled man named Agustin who has been building a helicopter in his home for the past 53 years.  Afflicted with polio as a boy, Agustin is now confined to a wheelchair.  He has faced physical handicap, loneliness and poverty, and despite continuous ridicule, he has not given up on his fanatical dream.



In Jess Brickman’s short, The Five Stages of Grief, we meet Daniel a 20-something who has just learned of his father’s death.  At the outset, he doesn’t know what to make of it, however, he is quickly met with a succession of conflicting emotions.  With a quirky cast of characters, Brickman depicts Daniel’s dealings with the five stages of grief in this burlesque dramedy.



Adam Brody gives an engaging performance in Double or Nothing, a short film directed by Nathaniel Krause and written by Neil LaBute.  In the midst of a heated quarrel with his girlfriend, Clark, played by Brody, is interrupted by a burly homeless man soliciting for money.  Clark gets an idea to make a “double or nothing” wager with the disheveled vagrant, which infuriates his girlfriend.


In Cobra, a dramatic short directed by Rob Pritts, a father, Kevin, is left in a state of sorrow after his grown-son, Curtis, passes away unexpectedly.  Filled with remorse by their lack of a relationship, he decides to go to the exotic club where his son was a dancer following the funeral.  Able to learn about Curtis posthumously, Kevin is finally free to accept his son.



Harry Grows Up is a charming film directed by Mark Nickelsburg that follows an adorable 18-month old boy named Harry maneuvering his way around New York City.  In the satirical short, Harry faces heartbreak after the object of his affection, his babysitter, leaves for college.  Luckily a trip to the park leaves him with a new love interest (someone his own age).  Screen actor, Josh Hamilton voices Harry’s absurdly ironic “inner-thoughts.”


By:  Hadley Fielding

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Copyright 2012 DC Shorts/DC Film Alliance

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