2021 Filmmaking Seminars and Workshops

All Seminars are at DCIFF Online One $22 pass for all seminars and 30 films HERE.  


Friday, April 2

Documentary: Ethics and Support of Communities and Subjects You Film

6:30 – 8:00pm EST/ Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22) HERE. This event is Zoom recorded and available to watch later.

Yes, documentaries have impact, good and bad. How can filmmakers work well with communities and subjects to ensure that they are respecting those who they put on screen?

  •  Moderator: Deirdre Evans-Pritchard

Executive Director, DCIFF, anthropologist and folklorist. A Senior Fulbright Scholar in Communications to Lebanon, visiting faculty at the University of Southern California’s Center for Visual Anthropology and currently an adjunct faculty in Art History at the University of Maryland, she describes herself as a translator: between cultures, mediums and creative spaces. Her primary research has been among Bedouin communities in Syria, Sri Lankan migrant workers in Lebanon and Native-American artists in New-Mexico.  She has worked on a range of media projects and is currently developing an interactive exhibition on the Screen and researches visual literacy.


Geoffrey O’Gara, producer/director (Home From School, in production), For over 20 years, Geoff worked for public television as on-camera talent, writer, and documentary producer, He is Executive Producer at Caldera Productions.  His productions have won a variety of prizes, including a Heartland Emmy for best documentary (“Will Rogers & American Politics”, 2011, screenwriter), the National Educational Television Association (NETA) top prize for documentary (“Alan K. Simpson: Nothing Else Matters”, 2012), and NETA’s first place award for public affairs series (“Capitol Outlook”, 2010). Geoff is also the author of several books, one of which, “What You See in Clear Water” (Knopf), is about the Wind River Indian Reservation, and won the Spur award for best nonfiction from the Western Writers of America. He is a former editor of High Country News and has published in many national publications.  Trailer at: https://calderaproductions.com/home-from-school/



 Noel Bass, director (The Bears on Pine Ridge, DCIFF 2021 screening) spent 15 years in Los Angeles as a professional photographer before turning toward documentary filmmaking. Since 2015, he has lived on Pine Ridge Reservation to document the leaders fighting the suicide crisis there.


Saturday, April 3

Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts

Seminar: ONLINE STREAMING LEGAL ISSUES  presented by Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA)
Hosted by: Hardeep Grover

12:00 – 1:30pm Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22) HERE. This event is Zoom recorded and available to watch later.

Join a Washington Area Lawyers For The Arts (WALA) attorney for a macro level discussion about the legal opportunities, challenges and pitfalls of the online streaming age for video content.

Hardeep Grover is an attorney with Tresquire Legal Services, a solo practice where he focuses on helping start-ups, small businesses, and nonprofits navigate legal hurdles on their paths to growth. Hardeep began his practice immersed in the start-up culture of San Francisco, and developed his expertise as counsel to restaurants, theater, and film production companies in New York. Having returned to his hometown of Washington, DC, Hardeep now works with creative entrepreneurs in the art, entertainment, food & beverage industries. Barred in CA, NY, VA, and DC, he works with clients in all four jurisdictions, striving to help people bring their visions to fruition. In addition to his role with Tresquire, Hardeep serves on the Board of Directors of WALA where he is the Chair of the Music and Culinary Arts subcommittees. He is also Co-Chair of the DC Bar’s Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Community, and is a past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC. Hardeep received his BA in Economics from George Mason University and his JD from The George Washington University Law School.


Art Direction and Script Supervision: Two Popular Paths for Getting Started in a Media Career

3:00 – 4:20pm EST/ Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22) HERE

Join us to have your questions answered on all things media and career in a workshop format where small groups have a chance to learn from the experts and each other.  Speakers will address

  •  Art Direction: Sara Beth Edwards is a content producer, feminist and disruptor based in Vancouver, Canada. With a background in the Fine Arts she also works in the Art Department as a Coordinator on various films and TV series, most recently The 100 and A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting. .
  •  Script Supervision: Katri Billard  has been a union script supervisor based out of the NYC metro area for over 15 years. Notable recent projects include Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things and Manhunt: Deadly Games, currently available on Netflix.


 Monday, April 5    

The Challenges of Capturing the Soul of  Music on Film

6:30 – 8:00pm / Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22),  filmed and shared on March 6th. The panel will discuss this and it will be both Zoomed and live-streamed out to attendees.

Talk with documentary filmmakers and cinematographers with extensive experience making films that portray musicians, capture musical performances and understand what to film and how to go about it.

Moderator: Sam George is the director of the documentary GoGo City which follows along as DC’s beloved GoGo music becomes a catalyst for protest, He is also the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Global Markets and Digital Advisor. His multimedia approach features documentary film, animated video, and written analysis. Samuel’s documentaries bring viewers up close and personal to people and communities facing the challenges and opportunities of the 21 st century, offering candid perspectives that allow viewers to draw their own conclusions. He holds a master’s degree in international politics and economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington. He is currently completing a PhD at that same institution.


Michael Murphy and Cilista Eberle (director and producer team) New Orleanian Michael Murphy is an award-winning Visual Storyteller, Producer and Director with over 30 years of film, video and digital media experience.  His critically acclaimed feature film documentary “Make It Funky” raised funds to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Michael has won numerous Telly Awards for his television and web based series. His television programming includes the 26 part “Live From House Blues Series” and numerous one off music based programs and thousands hours of performance content from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Sasquatch Festival and Sasebo and Kobe Jazz Festivals in Japan. His 2020 film Up From The Streets: New Orleans: The City of Music – a documentary that showcases the culture of New Orleans thru the lens of music and was screened at DCIFF 2021.


Richard Chisholm: Cinematographer
An Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and freelance cinematographer based in Baltimore with over thirty years of international production experience. His award-winning documentary “Gun Show” (2020) is about the power of art to explore America’s obsession with guns. He directed and shot “Cafeteria Man” (2011), a widely distributed  feature documentary on school food reform. Deeply committed  to the stories and adventures of real people, Chisolm has  worked for PBS, National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel,  HBO, and many other broadcast entities. He was a camera  operator on the HBO series “The Wire” and the chief director of photography for ABC’s “Hopkins” prime time medical documentary series (2000 and 2008). In addition to a national cinematography Emmy (1998), he is the recipient of a Peabody Award, a Columbia duPont Journalism award, two Kodak Vision awards, and four CINE Golden Eagles. Chisolm is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Maryland where he received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and Film (1982.)

Ümran Safter is a documentary filmmaker and journalist.  Her lastest film about jazz at the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC is premiering at DCIFF2021.  For more than two decades she covered Turkey and the Middle East including the wars in Iraq and Syria for both print and television media. She started her filmmaking career in 2014 and has produced and directed several feature documentary films including The Eye of Istanbul, Sevan the Craftsman, The Sin of Being a Woman and On the Wings of Hope. She is the recipient of numerous national and international awards. She has also produced a number of TV documentaries including a feature on life in Guantanamo Prison filmed on location.



Wednesday, April 7 

Q&A: Meet the Distributors Who Buy and Sell Independent Films

12:00 noon – 1:30pm /Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22) HERE. This event is Zoom recorded and available to watch later.

Sana Soni is a sales and distribution executive specializing in independent film, currently doing sales for 1091 Pictures. She has an extensive background in film and TV sales from multiple studios and independents in both Los Angeles and London, including Signature Entertainment, Discovery, Warner Bros, NBC Universal, National Geographic, and Walden Media. A UCLA and New York Film Academy graduate, she brings market expertise to features in development and those looking for distribution. During the pandemic she executive produced a short-form series which was shot entirely remotely, called The Myth of Control, leading up a team of just under 80 across 8 countries. The series is now complete and seeking distribution. Sana has spoken at the DC Independent Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival, judged for the Brooklyn Film Festival and been a reader for Killer Shorts horror short script competition, and is in the advisory groups for Film Hub Wales and the UK Asian Film Festival. Basically she just loves all things film/entertainment.


Kristen Bedno – VP of Distribution & Marketing @ Vision Films

Kristen Bedno is a veteran of international and domestic marketing and distribution in the film and television space. She is the Vice President of Distribution and Marketing at Vision Films, overseeing producer and platform relationships and launching 3-5 films across VOD and DVD in the US and Canada each month along with spearheading national publicity, social media campaigns, and international VOD windows. In her seven years with Starz and Lionsgate, Bedno oversaw sales operations and international marketing and publicity strategies for the Worldwide Distribution group, launching Starz Original series such as Emmy® Award-winning Black Sails, Power (Executive Produced by Courtney A. Kemp and Curtis “50” Cent Jackson), The Girlfriend Experience (starring Golden Globe®-nominated actress Riley Keough), and Ash vs Evil Dead (created by legendary Director Sam Raimi). 


Jasmin Morrison  is an experienced film professional having worked in production, post production and film finance. In 2019 Jasmin founded Soul Cognition a production and consultancy company which is committed to diverse stories from a myriad of writers and directors.  Jasmin is an expert public speaker having talked at numerous events worldwide including at SXSW, Film London’s New Entrants course and having been featured on The Screenster Podcast. Jasmin also serves as a consultant for Breaking Through the Lens and is the Business Director for Underwire Film Festival.  Having previously served as the Investment Manager at London based The Fyzz Facility Jasmin has been involved in the financing of over 100 feature films and has experience working from conception to distribution.




9 Horror Filmmaking Tricks from the Experts

8:30pm – 10:00pm / Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22) HERE. This event is Zoom recorded and available to watch later.

Just how do you make fear successful in movies? What will get an audience to jump in their seats or hide their faces in their couch cushions?  Inside scoops from seasoned professionals who really know.

Eli Savada, moderator Elias Savada is an American film historian and critic and founder of the Motion Picture Information Service, which provides copyright research for film and television show producers. He has been a member of the American Film Institute, and compiled the organization’s Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Film Beginnings, 1893-1910. His film reviews have appeared at Film Threat and Rotten Tomatoes. Savada collaborated with David J. Skal on the 1995 book Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood’s Master of the Macabre, the first major biography of Tod Browning, a horror film director known for his work on Freaks, Dracula, and several Lon Chaney Sr. films.


John Gray is a New York/Massachusetts based filmmaker. Best known for creating the long running CBS hit television series GHOST WHISPERER, he has written and directed many movies for television and feature films, including the award winning WHITE IRISH DRINKERS, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. His short films have played and are playing in festivals around the world and continue to win many awards. His short film FRENCH KISS, commissioned by Marriott, has notched over 6.3 million views on Youtube.



Eduardo Sanchez  One-half of the brainpower behind “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) phenomenon, Cuban-born Eduardo Sanchez (along with co-editor-screenwriter-director Daniel Myrick) engineered one of the greatest rags-to-riches stories in cinema history, putting hope into the hearts of independent filmmakers everywhere that they too might someday make a blockbuster for peanuts. Central to their success was a potent premise that enabled them to turn all the weaknesses of low-budget filmmaking into the picture’s strengths. Fed up with a genre that had come to rely on irony and special effects, they conceived the ultimate campfire ghost story, a 200-year-old legend about an outcast, a cursed town and a series of child murders and unexplained disappearances. Long before they had assembled their actors, they created an eight-minute trailer that was essentially a mock documentary of the back story of the Blair Witch. A fortuitous meeting with John Pierson led to the trailer playing on Pierson’s “Split Screen” (Independent Film Channel) in 1997, and the strong reaction from many viewers buying into it as a genuine story buoyed their enthusiasm.


Devanny Pinn is an award winning actress and producer hailing from Los Angeles, California who has  appeared in over 80 horror movies and has shared the screen with genre icons including Linda Blair, Danny Trejo, Vivica A. Fox, Sid Haig and Tara Reid. She has received critical acclaim for her portrayal of infamous true-to-live individuals including Susan Atkins in the Charles Manson biopic “House of Manson” and murder suspect Casey Anthony in ID mini series “Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery”, which received the highest rating debut in the networks history. Psychological thriller “The Dawn”, in which she stars opposite Stacey Dash (Clueless) and Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) debuted in American theaters January 2020.


Thursday, April 8 

Animation Resources Roundtable 

3:30 – 5:00pm /Included in the DCIFF Online Pass ($22) HERE  

Photo by Irene Strong on Unsplash

What resources are out there for animators today? What opportunities?  A chance for animators to meet, greet and share. Discussion leaders details to follow.