Author Archives: DC Independent Film Festival

Real Storytelling Through Virtual Reality

VR glasses

The popular pastime of watching a movie is beginning to have a new meaning. Filmmaker Emiliano Ruprah has reached beyond just watching and has broken into telling stories through virtual reality. Snake River, Emiliano tells us, is the first virtual reality movie. This fully immersive heist film integrates the audience with five mercenaries that are hired to retrieve a stolen biological weapon. After being captured by a highly unstable Russian mobster, they must piece together what went wrong, and who, if anyone, is telling the truth.

Snake River

This film was shot 360 degrees with a special camera and rig, and it provides a panoramic motion image that is then stitched together in post-production. The story is experienced through a headset worn by the viewer and allows them to be engrossed in the film without the option to look away from the screen. Initially a thesis project, Snake River was produced in 2 months with the help of extensive research, funding and technical support in partnership with GXM.

This 30 minute film experiment has opened doors into the future of filmmaking. Ruprah is fascinated by the unique opportunity of “integrating people and entertainment,” and is eager to continue this form of storytelling in spite of the financial and technologically advanced challenges that come along with virtual reality. Although Ruprah feels we’re still “building a cinematic language,” the potential of 360 degree filmmaking is growing closer to becoming a reality in the near future.

Distribution for this type of film has its challenges, but Ruprah is excited to be able to share this innovative, artistic experiment. DCIFF is proud to join with Ruprah to present the virtual reality film experience at this year’s festival. Join us on Friday, Feb 27th for Happy Hour from 6-8pm Navy Heritage Center, Archives Metro and all-day Saturday, Feb 28th from 2-7pm (District Architecture Center at Archives or Gallery Place Metro) to try this out ($5 donation requested).

Don’t just go to the movies, experience a different reality.

Learn more about Snake River here and follow on Facebook for updates on screening times at DCIFF.

For details on DCIFF and this year’s festival, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Craig Newland’s 3 Mile Limit Received “Best International Film” at DCIFF 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 2.14.53 PM

Feature film 3 Mile Limit took home to New Zealand the “Best International Film” honor at the 2014 DC International Film Festival. This inspiring true story is rich with courage and triumph during a cultural revolution when rock and roll took the world by storm. 3 Mile Limit has also broken into the music scene with the new music video for “Freedom” by Michael Murphy. The video was recently shot at Long Bay in Auckland and includes scenes from the the feature film.

Director and producer Craig Newland holds this story near and dear to him. He was directly affected by Radio Hauraki at age seventeen when he became involved with student radio station, which set him on a career in broadcasting. Newland then turned to film to share this incredible story with the world. As Newland’s directorial debut, he knew it would be a rocky road from pre-production through distribution. Due to a short twenty-five-day principal photography schedule, he realized the cast needed to be well-prepared and have strong chemistry that resonated both on and off screen. To help accomplish this bond, casting was enhanced by having various actors spend time together in an intensive workshop, whittling down the cast to create the perfect troupe. The overall shooting and editing process was grueling, but Newland was pleased with the the final result despite the budget and time restraints. Learn more about the cast and crew here.

3 Mile Limit won “Best Feature Film” at the Fargo International Film Festival and has been honored with “Official Selection” into international film festivals around the globe. What’s next for Craig Newland? He’s currently working on the psychological thriller feature film Frozen Moment.

Learn more about 3 Mile Limit and the DC International Film Festival on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

3 Mile Limit
Director & Producer: Craig Newland
Co-writers: Andrew Gunn & Craig Newland
Production Company & Distributor: No.8 Films
Cast: Matt Whelan, Dan Musgrove, Belinda Crawley, David Aston, Elliot Wrightson, James Crompton, Carl Dixon, Daniel Cresswell, Jordan Mooney

DCIFF Alum Looks to Grow Scottish Cinema with Feature Debut

Contributed by Michael Balderston

When David Brown arrived in Washington D.C. for the 2013 D.C. Independent Film Festival, he thought it would be his last hurrah of his film career. After a long and difficult process in getting his short film “A Bird in the Hand” made, Brown wasn’t sure whether he wanted to continue making films. But by the end of the festival the fire was lit again.

“It was wonderful to meet people whose attitude to film was ‘go for it, do it’ rather than the usual, negative or non-interested vibe you can get back home in the UK at times,” said Brown. “It was just a really positive and inspiring experience in truth, which helped me (finally) work out what I wanted to do with my life.”

Seeing the fruits of his labor rewarded also had a big boost to Brown’s career. After premiering at DCIFF, “A Bird in the Hand” played at seven other film festivals all over the world, winning Best Short Film at the Glasgow Southside Film Festival. It also helped Brown get selected to be a part of a producing course in Glasgow, where he was selected out of hundreds of applicants for a special career development program.

Now, Brown is embarking on the next big step in his filmmaking career, his first feature film, “Blue Hour.” An unconventional love story, the film focuses on a grandmother who realizes that her daughter is abusing her child. The grandmother must choose whether or not to reject her child to save her grandson. Brown is producing the film for director Tom van den Hurk.

“I was attracted to the idea that it’s the grandmother’s story and not the child’s or the mother’s,” said Brown. “It’s a unique perspective I believe in tackling the issue.”

The subtleties of the script and van den Hurk’s concept for the story also were a key attraction for Brown. “A lot of films that approach this subject matter do so by having heightened drama, shouting matches and explicitly showing the violence… it’s not just a straight forward tale of abuse and reaction… it’ll be one of those films, hopefully, where the more you watch it then the more you will get from it.”

Things are moving along with the production with a talented crew of both emerging and established talent from the Scottish film industry. There is also hope of bringing on a very respected British actress on to play the grandmother. Location scouting is underway in Glasgow.

Brown and his team are using social media and crowd funding to help raise money and awareness for the film. Facebook and Twitter are key parts of their strategy to spread awareness, as well as a campaign on Indiegogo with a number of interesting incentives for those who donate. You can check out their page here –

Brown is also currently developing another feature film with fellow DCIFF alum, Nicholas P. Richards, with hopes of getting back into the director’s chair sometime soon.

“I’d also like to establish a more artistic and thought provoking cinema in Scotland,” says Brown. “I’m passionate about making films in Scotland, but I’d also like to visit more of the world and make something totally different each time really.”

A lot has changed for Brown since he arrived in D.C. and thought his film career was over. A renewed passion has him excited for both “Blue Hour” and whatever may come after it.


DCIFF Kicks Off Submissions for 2015 Festival

We are proud to open submissions for our 2015 DC Independent Film Festival, running this year from February 25th to March 1st. For the 15th year, we are thrilled to support the film community not only in DC, but around the world.

DCIFF is unique in several aspects. The first being we are the oldest film festival in the DC-area but also entirely volunteer-run. This means we give your film the personal attention it deserves by taking the time to watch every film submitted. Not just by one reviewer but by our festival director as well to ensure your film is  fairly judged.

We also do not pre-program our festival around a specific genre or theme. This gives us the freedom to accept any film, from any country, in any language, or genre no matter the length or subject (minus any pornographic content). As a result, we receive top-notch animation submissions which shows to a sold-out crowd year-after-year. We can also première experimental or art films that aren’t necessarily confined to just the screen, including installations or music performances. We are also happy to announce we will be continuing both our Summit On the Hill and High School Student Film Showcase this year.

As for a few housekeeping items, we always like to remind our potential filmmakers that to be eligible, your film must be premiering in the DC Metro Area and cannot be available online for free once selected. We want to make sure that you have the best crowd possible but to do this we need to be able to build buzz around your amazing film.

Interested? Great! We thought you might be. Head on over to our submissions page for more information about fees, deadlines, and forms. We will be using Withoutabox again this year for digital submissions in addition to Submittable which will be live within the next week.

Looking forward to seeing all your wonderful films!