Seminars, Panels and Masterclass Schedule

  • All seminars and workshops are held at the main DC Independent Film Festival Site, the US Navy Memorial Heritage Center (Metro: Archives).
  • All seminars are $16; all masterclasses are $25; The Going to the Movies oral history event and WALA’s Entertainment Law for Film & Video are free.

Saturday March 9th

10:30 – 12:00noon

PapercuttingFrom Papercutting to 3D filmmaking – A Collaboration between Two Artists

Come experience a marriage of art forms – the fine art of papercutting and 3D cinema.   Artist Beatrice Coron and film director James Stewart take us on a journey from the papercut masterwork Daily Battles as it evolved into 3D space and is re-created as a 3D film. Put on your 3D glasses, an artwork has never been re-imagined like this.

Speakers: Beatrice Coron and James Stewart

$16 HERE or at the door

12:00 – 1:30pm

Entertainment Law for Film & Video

Presented by the Washington Association of Lawyers for the Arts

This panel will provide a broad overview of the legal issues facing producers and directors. Topics will include copyright, trademark, contracts, business organization, finance, distribution, monetization, tax credits, commercial leasing, and best practices. Attendees will be presented with possible strategies to help better navigate the legal challenges in today’s evolving marketplace.

Speaker and Moderator: Brian A. Frankel
Speakers: John D. Mason

1:45 – 3:15pm


An informative conversation about finding the right person to make magic.
Topics to be covered will include:
Headshots and Demos; Open Calls vs Scheduled Auditions and Prescreening;
The Vision – Finding the whole package; The Curveball – Thinking Outside the Obvious;
Differences between a Casting Director and an Agent; What can a Casting Director do better than you can do yourself?

Speaker: Brian Dragonuk and Kimberly Skyrme
$16 HERE or at the door

3:30 – 4:45PM

Acting Masterclass with Blake Berris

Emmy nominated actor Blake Berris leads this hands-on opportunity to read from script with an established TV and film actor followed by critique, suggestions for improvement, tips on acting for camera etc. Individual or paired sessions and a group discussion. If possible, participants should plan on bringing a headshot, as both the craft and the business of acting are explained by a professional actor.

$25 HERE or at the door (limited to 30 attendees)

4:45 – 6:15PM

Film Financing and Tax Incentives

Learn about the various types of state tax incentives available to
producers in the U.S. and abroad from the heads of the state 
film offices in the District of Columbia and Maryland, Jack Gerbes, and
 Herbert Niles. The speakers will describe various state tax incentives,
 and provide practical advice on and examples of how to use them for 
independent film financing.

Speakers: Herbert Niles,
 Deputy Director of DC Film Office; Jack Gerbes, Director of Maryland Film Office
$16 HERE or at the door

Sunday March 10th

10:30 – 12 Noon

Tradigital Mythmaking-Adapting Literature for Animation in an Intercultural Context


This workshop will negotiate different approaches and methods for adapting written literature for animation in appropriate ways. In his research Hannes Rall explores the creation of genuinely Asian animation styles, which are not derived from Western concepts. “Wayang Kulit” explores ways to adapt the traditional Asian shadow puppet play (which had already inspired Lotte Reiniger) in novel ways for digital animation. “Tradigital Mythmaking” explores the adaptation of a traditional Vietnamese folk-tale in a line-style evoking the artistic qualities of traditional Chinese painting. Both projects are highly interdisciplinary, with researchers from the fields of arts, anthropology, computer science and literature collaborating closely.

Speaker: Hannes Rall
$16 HERE or at the door

11:45 – 1:30pm


Making meaningful and creative films is increasingly difficult despite
technological advances and access to equipment. Documentary filmmaker
 and DP Richard Chisolm will lead an honest interactive discussion on
the state of cinematography and independent film production.

Speaker: Richard Chisolm
$16 HERE or at the door

1:30 – 3:15pm

Going To The Movies: Oral History Panel/Open Mike

Screen Shot 2012-01-21 at 7.01.15 PM

How has the experience of “Going to the Movies” changed over time, and in what ways is this part of our personal and cultural experience? How do movie theaters shape local memories and knowledge? Join us for an illustrated exploration of the role of the movie theater and share your ideas and stories in this interactive discussion and open mic session.

Speakers:  Cheryl Hawkins,  Robert Headley, and Jeff Krulik
This program has been made possible by a grant from The Humanities Council of Washington, DC, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

1:30 – 3:00pm


Option Agreements 101 will provide filmmakers with the tools necessary
to successfully acquire the rights to published works such as novels,
 short stories, magazine articles, stage plays and life rights.  The
 workshop will provide filmmakers with a step-by-step guide to securing 
rights in a work.  The workshop will also discuss all the elements and
 provisions included in a standard Option Agreement as well as common
negotiating tactics.

Speakers: Jaia Thomas ESQ.



QORIANKA_KILCHERActress, singer and activist, Q’orianka Kilcher, best known for her  leading role in Terrance Malik’s The New World leads an interactive discussion on acting for independent film, film and social activism and successfully running a socially responsible production company.  Come and take part in this unique opportunity to learn from an Award-Winning actress who has been acting since she was six years old, who is a singer/songwriter, who is business-savvy and who approaches all these things with strong sense of ethics and social values.

 $25 HERE or at the door  (limited to 30 attendees)


Old School Fundraising/New School Technologies  

What can we learn from the traditional world of grant writing in the era of crowdfunding? Why do some crowd funding campaigns succeed while other fail? How can one succeed with Federal grants? What are the best practices in both realms? And, how can you leverage both funding avenues to realize your independent film?  Award-winning writer/producer and successful proposal writer, Anna Reid Jhirad joins crowdfunding expert and documentary filmmaker, Kiley Kraskouskas for a candid and information-rich seminar that will offer effective strategies to improve your fundraising strategy in the most challenging environments-independent filmmaking.

Speakers: Anna Reid Jhirad and Kiley Kraskouskas
$16 HERE or at the door