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DC Shorts brings largest short film fest outside Calif.

Monday - 9/3/2012, 9:08am  ET

LibertyRoad640.jpg
For the first time, food-related films will be paired with local chefs from Matchbox, Rasika, 701 and other local restaurants. WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley's film ''Liberty Road'' will be paired with chef Peter Smith from PS7 restaurant. (Courtesy DC Shorts Film Festival)

Jason Fraley, WTOP film critic

WASHINGTON - Up to nine films for the price of one.

That's what you get with a ticket to the DC Shorts Film Festival.

"We're now the largest short film event on the East Coast, actually the largest outside California," says festival director Jon Gann.

The ninth annual festival kicks off Thursday with screenings at the U.S. Navy Memorial, E Street Cinema in Northwest D.C., Atlas Performing Arts Center in Northeast D.C., and the brand new Angelika Film Center in Fairfax, Va.

"It's the largest outdoor screen between New York and Miami," Gann says. "It's not even open for another two weeks, but we got it."

The festival will screen 140 short films from 27 countries. Each film will show at least three times apiece through Sept. 16, and you can search the entries through the website's handy film sorter

"We had over 850 submissions from 47 nations, which is an incredible number of films," Gann says.

For the first time, food-related films will be paired with local chefs from Matchbox, Rasika, 701 and other local restaurants. The free food includes everything from pork sandwiches to lamb tartare. Click here for a list of all the film-food pairings.

You can also brush shoulders with the filmmakers at Q&A sessions after the opening weekend screenings, various film workshops, and a number of after- parties.

Last year's parties included events at Madame Tussauds wax museum and Artisphere in Arlington, Va. This year, there's a "City View Party" on the roof deck at Carroll Square in Northwest and a "Closing Bash" at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street Northeast. Click here for a list of all the parties.

DC Shorts wraps Sept. 16 with several "Best of Fest" programs and its annual screenplay competition, where screenwriters from across the nation will have their short scripts read live by actors and voted on by the audience.

The script competition will be held Friday, Sept. 14 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, and winners will receive up to $2,000 to actually produce the film.

Click here for the full schedule.

Full disclosure: Jason Fraley has written and directed a film in the festival, "Liberty Road," about a Maryland crab shack underwater in the recession. It will be paired with PS7 crab cakes Thursday evening at the U.S. Navy Memorial. Click here for the trailer and ticket info.

Watch the trailer to "Liberty Road" below:

Liberty Road Trailer - 12/6/11 from Jason Fraley on Vimeo.

Two of Fraley's American University masters colleagues also have films in the festival.

  • Colin Foster's "The Funeral" is a bittersweet dramedy shot in Eastern Market in Southeast D.C.

  • Dave Joyce's "Waiting on a Train" is an atmospheric drama shot at an historic train station in Cumberland, Md.

  • AU graduate Peter Kimball has a short script, "Shenanigans," in the screenplay competition.

Read more from WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley by clicking "Fraley on Film" under the "Living" tab above, following @JasonFraleyWTOP on Twitter, and checking out his blog, The Film Spectrum.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)