The Team

Deirdre Evans-Pritchard / Executive Director and Programmer spent many years integrating digital media and arts into higher education. Recent projects include: Kidding Around: The Child in Film and Media Conference & Festival (2009), DC Meets Delhi Film Festival (2007), documentaries for A&E and The Learning Channel, and programming for Channel 98.  Years ago she was editor for the Anthropos Documentary Film Festival at the AFI in Los Angeles. Previously DCIFF’s director of the “Filmmakers on the Hill” Forum, 2012 was her first year as festival director. A Senior Fulbright Scholar in Communications to Lebanon, visiting faculty at the University of Southern California’s Center for Visual Anthropology and adjunct faculty at the USC Cinema School, she describes herself as a translator: between cultures, mediums and creative spaces.  For questions please get in touch at:

Rob Aggarwal / Marketing & Production Coordination is a film enthusiast and aspirational film maker. Rob had previously cofounded two movie clubs at Johns Hopkins, where he screened more than three hundred movies over a period of four years. Rob’s professional background is in marketing, finance and business development. He is an active volunteer for non-profits in the Washington DC area. Rob is currently working for a healthcare consulting firm in Bethesda and uses some of his free time to script and plan his first short-film.

Stana Benesova Kimball / Director of Education is a filmmaker/attorney who splits her time between Washington, D.C. and Prague, Czech Republic. Currently, her Prague-based production company Shining Pictures is shooting two documentaries in Afghanistan. Stana previously worked on several independent films by another Prague-based production company Jacket Bros., including the feature-length documentary Heaven Hell which had its U.S. premiere at the 2011 South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX. In Washington, D.C., Stana recently produced a short documentary about the indigenous Mexican punk band Hamac Cazíim.

Kara Coffee / Festival Manager & Volunteer Coordinator has worked with eight film festivals over the last four years, both in the US and England. She attended Kingston University in London and the University of Kansas, with a focus on Film, Television, and Fine Art. She was formerly a Post-Production Coordinator and Bookings Manager in London. She now lives in the D.C. area, which she enjoys, as there are considerably fewer tornadoes than in her home state of Kansas.

Maria Datch / Director of Press & International Relations is a DC native, with degrees in the performing arts, literature and visual media. Over the last 20 years, she has held directorial positions in PR and Development for arts organizations such as Chicago’s ERC and Organic Theatre and Baltimore’s Theatre Project, in production for the NFL Baltimore Ravens, PBS, and independent and studio film/video productions in the mid atlantic and Chicago, and has freelanced in casting, production management, publicity, fundraising and special events. She is thrilled to be a part of DCIFF 2012.

Alison Dooley / Submissions is from the Isle of Wight in England and came to Washington, DC in 2011. She volunteered at DCIFF in 2013, has worked on several local film productions in various capacities and is a current film student in Maryland.  She previously worked in Dublin, Ireland creating software for film production companies.”

Rachel Ederer / High School Competition Coordinator is a junior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD who makes short films and creates videos for Blair Network Communications. She volunteered at DCIFF in 2013 and is excited for 2014’s High School entries!

Emily Hall / High School Competition Coordinator is a junior at Washington Latin Public Charter School who loves photography and making films. She is the founder of her school’s Film and Drama Club and has created an ongoing photography project called “Humans of Latin” in her school community. This is her first time working with DCIFF and is very excited to be a part of it!

Matthew Harmelin / Director of Social Media  Since coming to DC in 2005 to study Film and Video at American University, Matt has accumulated professional media production experience, starting as an intern at the 2008 SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival (PR, press, outreach, programming and sponsorship).  Next he worked in post production with such organizations as NAHB Production Group, Durrin Productions and American Abroad Media. More recently Matthew has been a freelance production assistant, assistant camera and assistant grip on local feature films, television shows, music videos and webisode series: including America’s Got Talent, MasterChef, Nickelodeon’s Day of Play, BBQ Pitmasters and Plugged In for Ford Motor Company.  

Paige Howarth / Social Media & Blogging is currently an Executive and Operations Assistant at Social Driver, a local digital and social media agency based in Washington, DC. Paige recently relocated from New York City where she previously worked at Ruder Finn, an international public relations agency working on blogging and media relations. Film has been her true passion all her life, including multiple internships throughout her time at American University at the DCFilm office and Allied Integrated Marketing in addition to a minor in Film Studies. She also attended the Telluride Film Festival as part of their Student Symposium her senior year of college, sparking her love of festivals.

Hannah Jayanti / Website & Design is a Brooklyn based documentary filmmaker, editor and photographer. She recently directed/edited
her first feature documentary that premiered at the 2013 New Yorker Festival, and is currently in production on two features and a short. She teaches video production in Brooklyn and freelances as an independent video producer creating short form videos from development, production to post-production through her company Freckless Productions. For less words and more visuals, visit:

Karin Longren / Balloting & Awards Newly relocated to Washington D.C, Karin Londgren brings with her nearly 10 years of experience managing audience voting for nearly 150 features and shorts for the Los Angeles Film Festival. She rounds out her experience in the entertainment industry having worked for both Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox; as a producer for E! Entertainment Television; as assistant to a feature film producer and two network television producer/directors; and for a live music and events venue in the heart of Hollywood.

Hanan Mahbouba / Filmmaker Relations is a graduate of American University with a degree in Film & Video and Business Administration. Hanan is currently working for multiple indie film projects across several departments (including G&E, Art, and Camera).  She is interested in the changing dynamics of human relationships and interaction in context of the “Information/Digital Age” and hopes to explore these changes through narrative film.

Ashley Simmons / Music Coordinator is a DC native who lived in Atlanta before coming back to her hometown in 2004 to attend Howard University. Ashley’s professional background is in education, media, and youth development. Her past employers include local non-profit media organization Gandhi Brigade where she served as, among other things, the Stage and Workshop Coordinator for the JustUs Youth Media Festival. Ashley hopes to put her event planning experience to good use in bringing DCIFF attendees great performances.

Maya SolisFilmmaker Relations Before joining DCIFF, Maya served as an intern for the Sundance Institute Native and Indigenous Program and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Currently based in Washington D.C., she is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles with degrees in History and Film, and she received her Master of Arts degree from UCLA’s Moving Image Archive Studies program. Her interests include film preservation and cultivating Indigenous narrative perspectives through cinema.