film festivalOn the plane home from Sundance last year, I snuggled up to a copy of MovieMaker magazine, trying to ward off a cold (or maybe a hangover) with some hot tea. Digging in, I circled several Top 25 Festivals, and with giddy excitement, starred one: DC Shorts. Why? Actual feedback! From the actual judges! DC Shorts is the only major short film festival that provides scores and notes on every film submitted. It was a no-brainer, and the best decision I made during Sundance. Don’t ask.

Getting my film, “Wednesday’s Child” accepted into DC Shorts was icing on the cake. The festival staff was incredibly hospitable, going above and beyond to make the event filmmaker-friendly. Don’t have the funds to pay for a reduced-price hotel room? They will connect you with a local host family. Need specific pointers on indie distribution? Panelists stayed late to answer questions and gave their cell phone numbers to follow up. Still want to celebrate after the Opening Night rooftop fete? Festival Director Jon Gann led us all back to his home for the ultimate after-party. It was also his panel—“What Festival Directors Really Think”—that paved the way to our future festival success with “Wednesday’s Child.” Our VIP and online film passes also made it easy for us to see the many sold-out film programs. (And here’s another tip: don’t miss the select screenings paired with delicious food and beverages from local award-winning chefs and mixologists.)

On top of everything, DC Shorts screened “Wednesday’s Child” at the technically flawless downtown Landmark Theatre, alongside some of the most amazing filmmakers in the world—from Australia to Venezuela. So not only did our film have the opportunity to screen with shorts starring Gérard Depardieu and Dame Judi Dench, but we could also meet, mingle and plan future collaborations with the visiting international filmmakers.

Mary Kay Cook is the producer of the short film “Wednesday’s Child,” currently on the festival circuit. Winner of IL Shortcuts and the Elgin Short film festivals, it received 8/10 stars from the Huffington Post in its DC Shorts review. The film also has screened at the Oscar-qualifying Austin Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival, among many others. Visit or @WCmovie for more information. Ms. Cook continues to develop and produce films with Potenza Productions ( in Chicago, IL.