About DC Shorts

Through a series of regularly scheduled educational programs, screening opportunities, sharing resources via online tools, partnering with film, arts and business organizations, and our annual DC Shorts Film Festival, DC Shorts provides opportunities for filmmakers of every skill level to explore and learn their craft — while entertaining and expanding the horizons of audience members.

Founded in 2003, the DC Shorts Film Festival was created by DC-based filmmaker, Jon Gann, in response to the dozens of festivals he attended the previous year with his award-winning film, Cyberslut. Frustrated that many festivals were focused on money and sponsors and not films and filmmakers, he decided to start his own event, focusing on the form he loves — shorts.

In 2006, the DC Film Alliance, a non-profit arts organization, was created to present the DC Shorts Film Festival, and offer other programs and resources for Washington, D.C.-based filmmakers. The Alliance helped to bridge the gap between other area film organizations, foster a community for regional film festival directors, and sponsored monthly Salons to educate filmmakers of all levels.

In response to the needs of the industry, DC Shorts has recently rebranded many DC Film Alliance activities, re-tooled others, and now hosts year-round programming, which includes:

  • DC Shorts Film Festival & Screenwriting Competitions (September)
  • Online resources for regional filmmakers
  • Online films for audience development
  • DC Shorts WINS: award-winning film (February)
  • Regional Film Festival Conference (March)
  • DC Shorts MENTORS: Weekend courses on all aspects of short filmmaking (March)
  • DC Shorts LAUGHS: comedy films and live stand-up comics (January)
  • Pasties & Popcorn: sexy films and live burlesque and sideshow acts (May)
  • Internship opportunities for college-age students

About the Collaboration

In 2006 the City of Sunderland became the only non capital city to sign a Friendship Agreement with Washington DC, fostering and developing economic, educational and cultural relationships.

A number of collaborations through creative industry initiatives have taken place since 2008 through the joint participation of creative professionals from both DC and Sunderland in exhibitions, residencies and academic exchange visits particularly in glass and ceramics.

Throughout this period the annual DC Shorts Film Festival, led by Programming Director, Jon Gann, has gone from strength to strength and has become one of the most respected festivals in the USA and internationally. Over the years there have been numerous conversations with Jon Gann, exploring the possibility of starting such a festival in Sunderland making film the next in the series of sectors to benefit from the unique relationship.

In 2014 we were able to announce that the first Sunderland Shorts Film Festival will take place in 2015. Thanks to funding from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Director Jon Gann will work with Festival organisers in Sunderland to support the development of the event, expected to take place in July 2015. Jon travelled to Sunderland in January 2015 to formally open a launch event at the David Puttnam Media Centre. It will featured 18 short films from DC Shorts Festival 2014, all award winning, audience favourites or director selected works.

The Festival is also supported by Sunderland City Council via its International and Creative Industries Development strategies.

The purpose of the collaboration is to nurture and support talented emerging filmmakers in the city, predominantly from the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Art Design and Media. It is hoped that the Festival becomes a catalyst for getting first films shown – helping emerging filmmakers onto the first rung of the ladder; having great work recognised and opening up opportunities to engage with other Festivals in DC and elsewhere. The Festival will also provide a new viewing experience for film audiences; seeing locally made a nd international films they would not currently have access to in Sunderland.

Our Partners

  • Sunderland City Council
  • Maxim Brewery
  • Proper Corn
  • MAD Communications
  • Northern Bear Films
  • Bureau
  • FilmFreeway