Tag Archives: washington dc

Real Storytelling Through Virtual Reality

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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.

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!

Two Screenings and a Sendoff for Paat

One value we tout highly at DCIFF is helping our films live past the festival. In the past two months, we have been fortunate to partner with BloomBars in Columbia Heights to rescreen Paat twice. If you haven’t had the privilege of seeing the film yet, Iranian director Amir Toodehroosta’s feature film debut is not to be missed. Paat follows the titular character, a charismatic canine with a three-foot view of society’s discretions.

Both screenings drew intimate crowds followed by highly engaged discussions led by Executive Director Deirdre Evans-Pritchard. While it is nearly impossible for Toodehroosta to receive a travel visa to the US, the filmmaker preemptively sent his own Q&A prior to the screening, providing excellent background and color to the discussions.

paat 2For example: to some it is general knowledge that in the Islamic world dogs are considered unclean and to call someone a dog is one of the worst insults. It may come as no surprise that it is actually illegal to keep dogs as pets in many Islamic countries. A unique cultural aspect to keep in mind while watching the film is keeping a dog as a form of rebellion or as Toodehroosta said in his Q&A, “dogs are at a loss between tradition and modernity.” Toodehroosta intelligently uses his film to make this point by juxtaposing human behavior with Paat, “Which is really impure? The dog or some humans around us?”

paat 3During filming, Toodehroosta faced several issues. “Some producers, as soon as they were informed of the film’s theme, refused to invest because they were afraid the film might be banned.” This fear led Toodehroosta to even keep his actors in the dark about the film’s duration which he originally told them was going to be a short “because we didn’t want them to have to stress for a feature.” They were informed the day before filming.

Unsurprisingly, the film was banned in Iran so many of Toodehroosta’s own countrymen haven’t seen the film and it is difficult for him to tour the film. Here at DCIFF, we were glad to do our little part. We look forward to seeing Paat prosper on the festival circuit and wish Amir the best in his career moving forward.

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Day Two at DCIFF 2014

Before we jump into yesterday’s activities, we want to highly encourage everyone to join us tonight for the DC Premiere for 3 Mile Limit. With your ticket, you can join our happy hour at the Navy Memorial from 5:30 to 7:15pm including New Zealand wine and beer, meat or veggie patties from Kiwi Cuisine and 60’s rock and roll music. It’s going to be a blast!

Day Two was an action-packed day here at the DC Independent Film Festival. First, we held our annual “On the Hill Summit,” including a panel discussion about options for addressing the needs of independent film and media production as impacted by U.S. regulations for crowd-funded enterprises.

We opened Wednesday with the short film Handle with Care and then held the East Coast Premiere of Despite the Gods. Though director Jennifer Lynch could not make the festival in-person, we were delighted to be able to host a Skype Q&A session at the Navy Memorial Theater.

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Family, friends, filmmakers and film-goers then arrived for Red and the World Premiere of DC-native Marcus Richardson’s Sons of the City, followed by a lively Q&A with filmmakers and stars. Be sure to check out all our images on our Flickr page and hope you can join us this weekend.

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