Tag Archives: submissions

DCIFF Filmmaker Series: Reid Davenport

Leading up to this year’s festival, we will be highlighting the fascinating stories behind our 2014 filmmakers and their submissions.

Studying abroad as a college student seems like a rite of passage these days. Most institutions highly encourage their students by offering a variety of programs, countries to visit and even scholarships. Picturesque images of strolling through a palazzo eating gelato or climbing the acropolis come to mind when envisioning a European abroad program. Unfortunately, when the ancient cultures built some of the greatest cities around the world, they didn’t exactly keep in mind the needs of the people with disabilities. Or so Reid Davenport found out.

Reid has cerebral palsy and though he is ambulatory, he prefers using a wheelchair to keep from losing energy. In a Washington Post op-ed last year, Reid said throughout his undergraduate years at George Washington University, “I’d planned on visiting Italy, my grandmother’s homeland.” He settled on Florence but once admitted, ran into some major roadblocks.

Reid looks out over the city of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Reid looks out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Program administrators discouraged Reid from bringing his electric wheelchair due to housing constraints near the campus and the city’s notorious cobbled sidewalks with few curb cuts for access points. Discouraged, Reid abandoned his study abroad dreams but months later, the travel bug was still biting. He knew his woes must be felt by others in the disabled community and set out to document this experience.

Due to lack of curb cuts, Reid would sometimes need to ride along side traffic in the street.

Due to lack of curb cuts, Reid would sometimes need to ride along side traffic in the street.

In April 2011, Reid received a $5,000 fellowship and along with cameraman Mark Abramson, raised an additional $8,000 through Kickstarter to explore accessibility in the Old World. Five cities and 13 interviews later, Reid recounted his experiences in the documentary Wheelchair Diaries: One Step Up. The film premiered last July at the Awareness Festival in Los Angeles, winning Best Documentary Short and helped launched Reid as a motivational speaker.

At DCIFF, we’re excited to be featuring Reid’s incredible story during our “Docs and Shorts at Night” session on Friday, February 21st. Come join us for a screening of Wheelchair Diaries along with three other short films from 7:30 to 9:30pm at the Naval Memorial Heritage Center President’s Room.

Kicking Off the New Year Right: 2014 DCIFF Finalists

Last week, we kicked off the New Year by proudly announcing the 2014 DC Independent Film Festival finalists. After receiving over 1,000 entries, we narrowed down our finalists to nine feature films, six documentary features, seven documentary shorts, 23 narrative shorts, 16 animated films and nine high school student films.

We’ve truly held up our tradition of international representation at this year’s festival with over 28 films from 18 different countries, including New Zealand, Canada, Iran, Spain, Netherlands, China, Russia, Austria, India, Italy, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Singapore, Croatia, Ireland and Australia.

DCIFF expanded its international reach this year to 18 different countries worldwide.

DCIFF expanded its international reach this year to 18 different countries worldwide.

We’ll be working diligently behind the scenes over the next few weeks to set the final line-up, organize volunteers and press and firm up panelists for the festival, which runs from Wednesday, February 19th to Sunday, February 23rd. To paraphrase our festival director, Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, the festival is meant to be accessible to all, from members of the filmmaking community and casual film lovers to those who wish to support the DC arts community. We encourage everyone to join and reap the benefits of our seminars, workshops, panels and more. To support our core value of accessibility, we are currently running a deal through Groupon for discounted VIP or one-day passes through February 18th.

Be sure to check back here for more festival updates over the next month including in-depth filmmaker profiles.

Checking In with Festival Director, Deirdre Evans-Pritchard

Last week, we closed our call for submissions for the 2014 DC Independent Film Festival. We’ve received an incredible response of over 1,000 films from the international film community. Our staff has worked hard to keep up with the flow of submissions to make sure each film gets the attention it deserves. While we understand enthusiasm is high to take part in the festival, unfortunately, we can only spotlight about 60 during our five-day run.

In addition to choosing the festival lineup, our amazing group of volunteer-only staff is busy scheduling seminars, workshops, panel discussions and more. Our staff – willing to donate their free-time to support film and filmmakers – is one of the unique aspects that drew me to becoming festival director. While there are many opportunities to see films in the city, at DCIFF, we prioritize our programming to focus on filmmakers and the benefits they could reap. For DC residents, coming out to see exceptional films is an experience beyond just entertainment which provokes thoughtful discussions and, most importantly, directly helps local talent.

2013-03-10 22.50.55 HDR

Our wonderful staff celebrate during last year’s successful festival

Another unique aspect is our accessible submission requirements. DCIFF accepts films of any length, genre or format as long as the content is not pornographic. We also keep submission fees low, encouraging filmmakers from Metro DC and around the world to enter films. We’ve found this gives filmmakers from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels equal footing in the submissions process. To further increase younger filmmaker participation, we recently created the high school submission category and received a healthy response.

As the festival draws near, stress gives way to excitement! Finalists will be chosen and notified between December 20th and 30th. We look forward to seeing all filmmakers and community members on February 19th!

Deirdre Evans-Pritchard previously worked for DCIFF running the “Filmmakers on the Hill” seminar and the workshops and education initiatives before taking over as executive director and programmer. After many years of promoting media arts and artists, the 2014 festival will be the third straight under her guidance.

OPEN CALL: Washington DC Independent Film Festival (Feb. 19-23, 2014)

 Filmmakers, media artists, documentarians, send us your films!!  We are open to films of any genre except adult films and in any language (with subtitles). We do not have a section dedicated to family films, but love films that appeal to the child in us all.  We always have a horror section, in honor of a genre that has been an important launching point for independent filmmakers. DCIFF 2014 welcomes open source films, art films and interactive films and will  host special screenings for World Social Justice Day on February 20th, 2014. 

Many film festivals last no longer than five years and we here at DCIFF witness film festivals struggling and disappearing around us in the Metro DC area.  We are pleased to say that DCIFF is thriving and has remained independent through thick and thin for sixteen years.  Perhaps this is because we have made our cutbacks already, because we are an all volunteer-run NGO, because the behind-the-scenes team is stupendous and because we stay on mission to support and promote independent filmmakers/filmmaking in the nation’s capital.  But most of all, it is because we receive amazingly good films for review and are honored to have been taken seriously by filmmakers worldwide.  Thank you all!

All details about submissions are at http://dciff-indie.org/submissions/ on via withoutabox.com

Keep in mind the following:

Our submission fees are very reasonable and are entirely used for programming, outreach and filmmaker support. We make sure that all films in competition are submitted through the same process and have an equal chance of selection.

Earlybird deadline is September 10th and the final deadline is December 1st.

Student films under 20mins. &  DCIFF alumi work can be submitted for FREE in most categories until November 20th, 2013.

It seems that someone else has decided to try to use the DCIFF acronym in the film festival world and until we can change this, please make sure you are submitting to us here in Washington, D.C. and not somewhere in Central Asia!!!