Category Archives: The news

Interview with DCIFF Alum Channing Godfrey Peoples



We are honored to feature one of our alumna filmmakers, Channing Godfrey Peoples. As a director, writer and actress, Channing continues to create engaging and entertaining movies. Her films are recognized and honored by various film festivals along with being chosen as a Sundance Screenwriting Intensive Fellow this year.

DCIFF: What inspires and motivates you to be involved with independent film?

Channing:  I initially became interested in telling stories, because I am a profoundly curious person that is interested in life. I am passionate about storytelling. It is as present for me as breathing, so once I found it, I knew it was for me and I never considered abandoning it. I am always working on some element of filmmaking whether writing, directing or acting. Filmmaking is where I feel most present, most free and most myself. I never stray far away. It also helps to have a strong faith and be a determined person.

DCIFF: How has the film festival circuit impacted your film Red?

Channing: I am very grateful for my short film Red’s journey. It has allowed me to connect with incredible audiences that have been appreciative and supportive of the film, as well as other artists who inspire my own journey. It also helps being able to attend amazing festivals such as the DC Independent Film Festival, which I enjoyed immensely!

See the trailer for Red here. Learn more about the film on the website and on Facebook.

Red Poster  Red Still                                                               Red, production still

DCIFF: Tell us about Miss Juneteenth. Where are you in the production process?

Channing: My feature script, Miss Juneteenth is currently still in the re-writing process and my primary focus is on the script. I recently had the great opportunity to workshop it in the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Lab in Los Angeles, which was invaluable in pushing the script forward. The project is in development and based in my hometown of Ft. Worth, Texas, where we recently spent time researching, securing our shooting locations and doing some preliminary casting. We are currently seeking creative collaborators on the film. We are shooting partially in the same community where we shot my short film Red, so we have the experience of shooting in the region.

Our next step is crowdfunding, seeking financing and applying for support to bring the film to life.

DCIFF: What did you personally gain from the Sundance Writers’ workshop?

Channing:  I was seeking a way to take my feature script, Miss Juneteenth, to a more profound emotional level and the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive was supportive of that goal. I had the great fortune of being advised by incredibly talented workshop leaders, staff and advisers who work professionally in film and television. Sundance offered a safe space to look deeper into the emotional journey of my story. The lesson for me was to connect to my character through my own personal life experiences and be open to fresh possibilities for the film.

Keep up with Channing’s film career and extraordinary projects by following her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also view her director reel here.

Stay updated on DCIFF news and events by visiting our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


DCIFF 2015, That’s A Wrap!

We tip our hats to the incredible filmmakers, attendees and staff members who made this year’s DC Independent Film Festival a spectacular and memorable event! We had an impressive turnout of over 4,000 attendees to numerous screenings and workshops led by the industry’s finest. The unique nature of this festival based in the nation’s capital draws international attention to the films and filmmakers. It’s great to have such strong support from both the local and international community, which allows this festival to be more than only screening fantastic films. A shout out to two of this year’s sponsors: Peets Coffee and The Tabard Inn which added a special filmic touch for our VIPS. We have grown into a community made possible by the trust and support of our new and alumni filmmakers. Thank you for sharing your work with our community and for being such an essential part of the event itself.

tabard room image

The top award, Best of Fest, went to Three Windows and a Hanging directed by Isa Qosja. The exceptional quality in films this year really stood out at both the professional and high school levels. Christopher Scribner took home the Best High School Film award for his film Three Wishes, One Choice. In addition to the screenings, our workshops stimulated lively discussion. Thank you to our seminar leaders for volunteering your time and sharing invaluable knowledge and experiences.  See a full list of award-winners here.

Looking forward to the 2016 festival, we plan to include more alternative, interactive and experimental events such as this year’s well-attended virtual experience of a different reality through film. Over a hundred participants came to experience Emiliano Ruprah’s one-of-a-kind virtual immersive screening of Snake River. The strong interest and positive response encourages us to continue pushing the boundaries when it comes to what our attendees can expect in terms of film technology and new ways of experiencing film. Learn more about this unique film project here and on the DCIFF blog.

We’re excited to announce our new involvement with D.C. based productions to help our alumni filmmakers bring their feature projects to life. Please email for more information about how you can invest in local film projects as DCIFF morphs into a festival with a production wing. Being part of a filmmaking venture can be the thrill of a lifetime, a chance for exposure and a runaway media success.

What else is DCIFF doing in 2015? Link to our Facebook page to stay updated about our other scheduled events for this year, including “Going to the Movies” where author and D.C. area cinema historian Robert Headley will talk on the now-closed landmark Sheridan Theater (April 18th, 2:30pm at Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library) and the place of movie theaters in D.C.’s cultural history. Later in the year look for our summertime eco-drive-in movie extravaganza.

Thank you to everyone involved in making this year’s event one to remember! Stay updated on DCIFF news and events by visiting our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


DCIFF 2015 Awards

We are pleased to announce the Awards for the 2015 festival:

Best of Fest:

Best Feature Film:
SALLY PACHOLOK directed by Elissa Leonard

Best Documentary Film:

Best International Film:
LE SEMEUR (THE SOWER) directed by Julie Perron

Best Short:
D. ASIAN by Sarah Smith

Best Animation:
BEAR STORY directed by  Gabriel Osorio

Best of Metro DC Filmmakers:
BLOOD, SWEAT AND BEER directed by Chip Hiden and Alexis Irvin

Best Experimental Film:
The David Whiting Story directed by Walter Reuben

Best High School Film:
THREE WISHES, ONE CHOICE directed by Christopher Scribner

Best High School Film Special Jury Awards:
BEHIND THE SHADES directed by Jacob Vernick and Brendan Gosse

BELOW directed by Alfie Barker (runner up)

Masterclass with Award-Winning Director Vikram Jayanti

DCIFF presents a masterclass with veteran multi-award-winning documentary director and producer Vikram Jayanti on Sunday, March 1st at 1:45pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance HERE or at the door (limited to 30 attendees).


One of the hardest challenges of documentary filmmaking is controlling the unexpected. This year’s masterclass with Vikram Jayanti will focus on his experiences interviewing difficult, eccentric, larger-than-life and often notorious subjects, and the techniques and strategies that have produced the best results for his films. Vikram will be discussing and showing excerpts from several of his films that contain people that are not only larger-than-life, but they are about something bigger than themselves.

His stunning credentials from years of experience grants Vikram access into the lives of people who are otherwise off-limits to the world. A few dynamic characters from his films that will be topics of the masterclass include a self-acclaimed psychic spy in The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?, a musical genius in The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector, James Ellroy’s Feast of Death and a chess extraordinair in Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine. He will discuss various techniques that were used to capture unique moments and angles with these individuals.

A top-of-mind scenario for Vikram when speaking with him about what we can expect from the masterclass was how the energy shifted when he sat James Ellroy across from his wife Helen during filming enabling only the filmmaker to truly visualize the scene. Vikram enjoyed exploring the difference between facts and truth with filming Ellroy. He explains his cinematic approach by saying, “art and literature can have access to deeper truths than facts can provide. Supplying the fundamentals of the facts is important, but then engage the audience with the mystery of the story, a new way to see detectives and the ability to visualize the truth.”

Vikram will help explain how to obtain the less obvious and yet more fascinating aspects of a story. For example, the focus for his film about the famous Russian chess player Garry “The Beast” Kasparov, whose only undefeatable opponent was an IBM supercomputer, was not the game of chess. Vikram changed the story from chess to the “face-off” between a Russian and Wallstreet. The Beast was unable to stare down a computer which resulted in unexpected, thrilling and adrenaline induced storytelling.

The relationship between the filmmaker and the subject is more than a face-to-face interview. Join us on Sunday, March 1st at 1:45pm to learn the essential techniques and approaches, along with a few tricks of the trade, to capture the untold story.

Learn more about Vikram Jayanti and the event HERE.

Vikram's films

Purchase tickets HERE to see films directed and produced by Vikram Jayanti:

Thursday, February 26th at 6pm
The Secret life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?
Friday, February 27th at 2pm
Saturday, February 28th at 8pm
James Ellroy’s Feast of Death

Stay updated on DCIFF news and events by visiting our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.