On Friday, September 12th, “Hellyfish” screened for the first time in a theater in front of a live audience as part of the DC Shorts Film Festival. I was amazed to see a sold out crowd at The E Street Cinema, my favorite theater in DC. The film looked great on the big screen and the sound was fantastic, but the crowd was the best part. They laughed at all the right times and responded even more positively than I had hoped. I had expected our film to get it’s best response from the genre festivals, but I can only hope the other screenings go as well as this one! There is a special thrill a director gets from watching an audience of complete strangers react to his film and I’ll be lucky to experience that again and again in the next few months (see schedule here).
The DC Shorts Film Festival is “the largest short film event on the east coast.” And after attending, I would give it several other accolades including best programming, most professional, and most fun! We enjoyed great films, met talented filmmakers from around the world, and listened to lectures from accomplished directors and film festival insiders all while enjoying delicious food and beverages. From the application process to the awards ceremony, DC Shorts is an exemplary event and it all started with festival founder Jon Gann. His vision for putting the filmmaker first has proven to be a huge success and I hope it will continue to be a model for other festivals. He even found time to chat with me personally about my film and gave great answers to my questions about how to make the most of the film festival circuit.
“Hellyfish” did not win an award, but seeing my film play next to other world-class films was a huge reward in itself. One of my favorites was “What Cheer?” starring Richard Kind. We shared a Q&A with director Michael Slavens, who is a thoughtful filmmaker and really nice guy. I was very happy to see his film win the “Filmmaker’s Favorite” award. There were so many other great short films I couldn’t begin to capture them here. All 135 of them are viewable online NOW until Sunday, which is great service that few other festivals offer.
And while we were living it up in the nation’s capital, “Hellyfish” did win an award at another festival. Scare-a-con in Verona, NY named us “Best Short” of 2014!