Each June, the DC Film Alliance and the DC Shorts International Film Festival present the best comedy short films around.
This year’s all-virtual DC Shorts Laughs offers 16 films, ranging from eight to 23 minutes in length, divided into two approximately 95-minute packages available for streaming through this weekend.
The summer showcase also helps prime audiences for the nonprofit outfit’s main festival, billed as “the largest short film event on the East Coast.” Over 100 works of cinema will screen this year in September along with a full series of panel discussions and talkbacks.
This year’s 2021 Laughs lineup goes beyond the light and lighthearted you’d expect to encompass the somber and especially the surreal.
In “Showcase A,” for example, we watch as one aging man breaks free from life with his wife “after 40 years of codependent marriage” in Pete Johnson and Adam Jones’ Better Half. We also meet Basketball, a “magical talking dog” out to save his own life in Daniel Jeffery’s A New Leash on Life.
More magic is on tap, improbably enough, from the awkward blind date that frames the story of UK filmmaker Natalia Andreadis’ How Can I Forget, as well as from the hellish night a Japanese trumpet player experiences while lost in Brooklyn in Kevin Haefelin’s Trumpet, an entry from Switzerland.
Expect an even wilder and more surreal comic adventure with “Showcase B,” a package that includes The Imminent Expiration of Seth Dodson, a sci-fi comedy about a man who knows that he’s going to die soon, on the exact date even, he just doesn’t know how or at what time. Filmmaker Alex Craig is currently at work turning his 2020 short into a full-length feature starring Fred Armisen.
Another far-from-light highlight is Symone Baptiste’s Sixteen Thousand Dollars, which imagines a world in which descendants of enslaved Americans are granted reparations, and the rewards and repercussions that ensue.
The second showcase also includes two entries from Spain plus Nancy Sullivan’s Masterclass, in which a group of students at a U.K. drama school become unwitting pawns for a prolific West End star, and Peach, focused on the angst that consumes a socially anxious young Australian woman in advance of a hot date.
The DC Shorts Laughs 2021 is available to stream through Monday, June 28. Tickets are $12 for each showcase, or $20 for both. Visit www.laughs.dcshorts.com.
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