This installment of our "My D.C." Q&A series is with Jon Gann, the man responsible for bringing 140 short films from 27 different countries to Washington, D.C. and Fairfax County.
About to kick off the 9th annual DC Shorts Film Festival, Jon Gann is a busy man. A festival director, film consultant, author and cinema buff has been making the D.C. film scene a better place. Movie Maker magazine said his festival is one of the 25 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee.
From Thursday, Sept. 6 to Sunday, Sept. 16, screenings will take place at E Street Cinema, U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center, Atlas Performing Arts Center and the brand new Angelika Film Center in Merrifield, Va. In addition to watching new works from a variety of filmmakers, the festival will also hold free filmmaking workshops, free screenings for teens and families and chef and film pairings.
The Huffington Post spoke to Gann about what filmmakers forget, how to make D.C. more celluloid friendly and more.
The Huffington Post: What do you do for a living?
Jon Gann: I am the Festival Director for the DC Shorts Film Festival. I am the executive director of the DC Film Alliance and I am a film consultant and author through my company, ReelPlan.
HuffPost: Where do you live?
Gann: Washington, D.C., a native.
HuffPost: What's your commute like?
Gann: Four blocks from my condo to office. The toughest part is stopping people from petting my dog along the way.
HuffPost: What's your favorite local spot to take out-of-town visitors?
Gann: National Building Museum, where I have been a docent for the last six years.
HuffPost: What's your position on D.C. statehood?
Gann: As a Washingtonian, I would love to see it happen, but doubt it will in my lifetime.
As a potential political candidate for city council, it is an issue which is important to many District residents, and I need to respect and work in their interest.
HuffPost: What is your favorite theater?
Gann: The new Angelika Film Center in Fairfax. Gorgeous!
HuffPost: How do you find out about new filmmakers?
Gann: Hundreds of films are submitted to DC Shorts every year, plus I meet a few hundred on my travels to other festivals and film events, and dozens who I consult with. The greatest honor is to meet a new filmmaker through a director or producer I have helped in the past.
HuffPost: What's the most common mistake of new filmmakers?
Gann: Avoiding the story and worrying instead about the color correction or camera or special effects or location. Filmmaking is visual storytelling. Miss that major element and the audience could care less about anything else.
HuffPost: Why did you decide to work in D.C.?
Gann: D.C. chose me.
HuffPost: How could D.C. be more filmmaker friendly?
Gann: Through groups like the DC Film Alliance, Women in Film & Video and TIVA-DC, plus work from the city's Office of Film, filming has become a little easier over the last decade. With more and more restrictions in place for shooting at federal buildings and park land, this challenges have grown, and we are always finding creative solutions to satisfy everyone involved.