Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual High School Film Competition hosted by DCIFF!
Thank you to our sponsors!
Spencer Bruttig Video Producer and Editor, Magnit
Anthony Anderson Producer, director and actor of the Emmy® Award-winning web series ANACOSTIA
Media Career Workshop
Alexandra Bellamy-César Production Manager and Producer, Vice News
Heidi Gerber-Salins Assistant Professor, Department of Media, Journalism and Film. Audio production, engineering, and related areas such as radio, TV, and film.
Karim Mowatt: CEO of 100Films taught himself the art of screenwriting, directing, editing, color correction and more en route to becoming an award-winning filmmaker.
1:00pm – 1:15pm: Introductions
1:15pm – 3:00pm: 2023 High School Film Competition Finalists Screenings
3:00pm – 3:30pm: Discussions with filmmakers and interviewees
3:30pm – 4:30pm: Getting Started in Your Media Career Speed Dating: Have a chance to talk directly to professionals in Art Direction, Script Supervision, Production and Post-Production to get a sense of working in the media industry. Designed for those starting out, but all welcome!
4:30pm – 5:30pm: Judging & Awards, Short Keynote and It’s A Wrap!
5:30pm – 6:00pm: Eats and Gathering!
DCIFF 2023 High School Program
directed by Mark Leschinsky
( USA / 2022 /3.37 mins / fiction )
A symbolic social-impact film that draws a parallel between fitting into shoes and fitting into society, and, in doing so, it inspires us to embrace our unique personalities.
Mark Leschinsky is an award-winning high-school student filmmaker from New Jersey. In making his films, Mark strives to move his audience and inspire them to acquire diverse, new perspectives about the issues facing our society. Mark believes that young people, through film, have the incredible ability to shed light on important issues and bring about positive change in their communities. From raising awareness about social justice and human rights to promoting environmental conservation, films can spark meaningful conversations and galvanize individuals to take action. Films also serve as a tool for healing and reconciliation, helping to bridge divides, bring people together, and heal our world.
Bernice Leschinsky – Cast
Gary Leschinsky – Cast
Barbara Leschinsky – Cast
Mark Leschinsky – Cast
Mark Leschinsky – Writer / Producer / Director / Editor
directed by Madeleine Case
(USA / 2022 / 9.57mins / fiction)
Sarah, a young photographer, falls in love with the reckless drummer in a band and finds herself suspended between life, death, and motherhood.
Madeleine Case made “Hardcore” at Viewpoint School in her Senior year where spent much of her time and energy writing and directing films and creating art in various mediums. Her love of the visual arts has grown substantially in the last couple of years since her last projects, which she wrote and directed called Laephelxa. Her passion for storytelling originated from writing scripts with her dad while growing up. She is excited to continue her passion for film at Vassar College this year.
Sidney Eiram – “Sarah”
Drake Rodger – “August”
Grace Rynerson – Producer
Harlow Schuman – Director of Photography
Taylor Young – Costume & Set Design
Julianna Mazzolini – Assistant Director
Benjamin Meppen – Script Supervisor & Casting
Alden Stone – Sound Design
directed by Reese Robers
(USA / 2022 / 8.46mins / fiction)
In this dark parody of 1950’s instructional films, Dotty and her date Darryl try to survive against the voyeuristic narrator manipulating them.
“I started making films in the tenth grade, and since then, I have absolutely fallen in love with the
process. I especially enjoy mimicking distinct styles of film, which I aimed to do with How to
Survive Your First Date and its 50’s instructional video format, that way its twist was as
surprising and impactful as it could be given its source material. I hope those attending DCIFF
enjoy watching the film as much as I enjoyed bringing it to life!”
Sara Drewry – “Dotty”
Charles Meidlinger – “Darryl”
Reese Robers – Writer / Producer / Editor
Otto Tyler – Cinematographer / Editor
James Lee – Associate Producer
directed by Ethan Alexander Norman
(USA / 2022 / 13.02mins / fiction)
he Journal details the experiences of Jamie Leighton, a socially rejected teenager that uses materialism and nihilism to blur away his terrible previous life, opening up a new dark chapter of his life.
John Jerro – “Jamie Leighton”
Aaron Diamond – “Max Canon”
Eric Anders – “Eric”
Charlotte Catterton – “Charlotte”
directed by Maddy Waldman
(USA / 2022 / 5:18 mins. / documentary)
What gentrification means to the residents of Washington DC’s Kennedy Street.
“My name is Maddy Waldman and I am a sophomore in high school. I attend Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington DC for writing and film.. I got inspired to film Kennedy Street as I noticed the street was very rapidly gentrifying, and had an interesting story to tell.
Gentrification on Kennedy Street tells one part of a larger story affecting our changing city.”
directed by Eva Ulreich
(USA / 2022 / 3.44 mins / animation)
The Grim Reaper attempts to capture a lost soul.
Eva Ulreich is a young award-winning animator and artist. Her films have been screened internationally, including three of the top youth film festivals: NFFTY (“Anxiety”), CineYouth Film Festival (“The Banshee”), and All-American High School Film Fest (“Reaper”).
Ms. Ulreich’s film “Anxiety”, a film she made at age 12, won the “New Talent Award” by The
National Film Festival for Talented Youth for 2020 as well as a scholarship to the Film and New
Media program at Interlochen Arts Academy and a scholarship to study animation in the
Interlochen Summer program. Ms. Ulreich most recently was awarded the Youth Cinema
Network Award for “Anxiety”.
Reaper is a film about a young girl attempting to escape her own death, only to find herself facing a new danger. The film was animated entirely by hand without a storyboard. It took 6 months to produce.
Ms. Ulreich lives with her family, five cats and her dog, Hendrix. She enjoys playing violin with Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra and is also an award-winning singer.
Eva Ulreich – Director / Writer / Animator
directed by Owen Miller
(USA/ 2022/ 4.37mins / fiction)
Marching through the prison where he spent the last two decades of his life, Martin Charter’s freedom is finally within reach.
“I’m Owen! I am a high school student in Ithaca, New York. Symptoms of Incarceration is the first short film I have ever directed and I am so proud of the result. This is the 3rd short film I have worked on, though I have created and contributed on numerous other video-based projects including ads, news shows, sketches, and documentaries.
Symptoms of Incarceration is about a man who struggles with living a life after being in prison. He is faced with rejection at every turn and is eventually forced to decide to try to fit into a society that does not accept him or revert to his criminal past. As a student I have done a lot of research and writing on criminal justice systems, especially the US criminal justice system. This film was a way to put it into a narrative as I believe narrative is a much more impactful way to deliver a message than the long research papers I had written on the subject before. I hope you enjoy! “
Christian James Miller – Cast
Sara Ann Levy – Cast
Peter Magnus – Cast
Owen Miller – Writer / Producer / Editor
directed by Simon Pasquesi
(USA / 2022 / 5.13 / documentary)
Piero Amidei (also known as Ciccio) is an Italian tailor who immigrated to the UnitedStates for a better life. He and his Father, Carlo Amidei, opened up Carlo’s Tailoring Shop inLake Forest, Illinois. After 53 years of tailoring, Ciccio tells his story and discusses the importance of finding something you love.
Piero “Ciccio” Amidei
directed by Helen Khachikyan
(Armenia / 2021 /4.32 mins/ fiction)
A story about a household spirit from Slavic mythology.
Hi there! I am Helen, a young filmmaker from Armenia. I love sunsets, cinnamon rolls, and late night conversations 🙂
I am an IB graduate with multiple interests like karate, mental math, and video editing.
A little about the short film: transferring the message of cultural heritage, “The Spirit” is the first ever short film that I wrote and directed, so I am honored to see that it will be screened for the DCIFF!
Nina Vardanyan – Cast
Ashot Mardoyan – Cast
Elen Khachikyan – Writer / Director
directed by Carrington Holritz
(USA / 2022 /11:10 mins / fiction)
An ornithologist loses his lifelong research to a strange and unusual bird. As he seeks to identify its obscure species and origin, the line between nature and nurture becomes hazy.
Carrington Holritz is a recent graduate of the Film & Television conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts in Southern California. ‘tu:li: is her final capstone project which was well received by her peers and teachers alike. Finding comfort in the uncomfortable, she gravitates to stories that are linked to psychological distress and the destruction of one’s own belief system.
“‘tu:li: is a thriller that poses the question: ‘Will there come a time when Mother Nature has enough with us & snaps back at humanity?'”
John Kerry – “Anthony”
Alan Maxson – “Mama Bird”
Naiia Lajoie- “Baby Bird”
Carrington Holritz – Writer / Director
Melissa Holritz – Producer
directed by Kiha Ahn
(Korea / 2022 /2.254 mins / animation)
When we miss someone, our memories and longings flow into unspoken waves.
Kiha Ahn – Writer / Animator
Matilda Colliard – Music
Stefano Ligoratti – Music
directed by Piotr Kaźmierczak
(Poland /2022 / 3.39 mins/ animation)
A stop action animation made with sand accompanying a song by the Polish folk band Warsaw Village Band.
Piotr is 16 years old.
From 2015 animation became his main passion.
He creates original films in the techniques of puppet, painting, cut-out, plasticine and computer animation.
He is a laureate of many competitions for children and youth animation in Poland and abroad.
The production of the film took 6 months.
Piotr Kaźmierczak – Writer / Director / Animator
directed by Junhyeok Kim
(Korea / 2022 /13.34 mins / fiction)
Cho-won is divorced and living with her daughter Areum. She gets worried about her father—thus visits him often. The day Cho-won brought Areum, she and her father starts to talk about their feelings toward each other for the very last time.
“My name is Junhyeok [Eric] Kim, a current high school student (age 17) from South Korea. I am preparing to go to a college in the United States to extend my filmmaking passion. “Well-dying” was my first ever filmmaking experience.
This short film was inspired by my personal experience of how the Korean society and culture of mentioning death is very ominous. I realized this topic is universal, that many people wouldn’t like to talk about death, but then always regret it afterward. As much as well-being is essential, “well-dying” is too—about reflecting on our memories and preparing ourselves.”
Yanghee Lee – “Father”
Jaehee Yu – “Daughter”
Bitna Yoon – “Granddaughter”
Junhyeok Kim – Writer / Producer / Editor
Hyunjin Hwang – Cinematography
Seonyul Baek – Camera Assistant
Yeonghon Cho – Gaffer
HyeonU Oh – Light Assistant
John You – Sound
Youngwoon Kim – Assistant
Younghak Kim – Assistant
2023 HIGH SCHOOL WINNERS
1st Place – Well-dying directed by Junhyeok Kim (Korea / 2022 / 13.34 mins / fiction)
2nd Place – ‘tu:li: directed by Carrington Holritz (USA / 2022 / 11:10 mins / fiction)
3rd Place – Reaper directed by Eva Ulreich (USA / 2022 / 3:44 mins / animation)
We are delighted to celebrate the talents of emerging filmmakers in 2023. It was hard to choose from the extraordinary films submitted. Below are the selected films which were screened and judged on February 25th in downtown Washington DC.
Fitting In directed by Mark Leschinsky ( USA / 2022 /3.37 mins / fiction ) fitting into shoes inspires us to embrace our unique personalities.
Hardcore directed by Madeleine Case (USA / 2022 / 9.57mins / fiction) Sarah, a young photographer, falls in love with the reckless drummer in a band and finds herself suspended between life, death, and motherhood.
How to Survive Your First Date directed by Reese Robers (USA / 2022 / 8:46 mins/ fiction) In a dark parody of 1950’s instructional films, Dotty and her date try to survive the voyeuristic narrator manipulating them.
The Journal directed by Ethan Alexander Norman (USA / 2022 / 13.02 mins / fiction) A socially rejected teenager uses materialism and nihilism to blur away his terrible previous life, opening up a new dark chapter of his life.
Kennedy Street by Maddy Waldman, John Monaco, Maya Ray’ Jameela Ayoub (USA / 2022 / 5:18 mins. / documentary) What gentrification means to the residents of Washington DC’s Kennedy Street.
Reaper directed by Eva Ulreich (USA / 2022 / 3.44 mins / animation) The Grim Reaper attempts to capture a lost soul.
Symptoms of Incarceration directed by Owen Miller (USA/ 2022/ 4.37mins / fiction) Marching through the prison where he spent the last two decades of his life, Martin Charter’s freedom is finally within reach.
The Master of a Fading Art directed by Simon Pasquesi (USA / 2022 / 5.13 / documentary) Piero Amidei, runs Carlo’s Tailoring Shop established by his father and tells his story of working for 53 years at something he loves.
The Spirit directed by Helen Khachikyan (Armenia / 2021 /4.32 mins/ fiction) A story about a household spirit from Slavic mythology.
‘tu:li: directed by Carrington Holritz (USA / 2022 /11:10 mins / fiction) As an ornithologist seeks to identify a strange and unusual bird, the line between nature and nurture becomes hazy.
Unspoken Waves directed by Kiha Ahn (Korea / 2022 /2.254 mins / animation) When we miss someone, our memories and longings flow into unspoken waves.
Water Lullaby directed by Piotr Kaźmierczak (Poland /2022 / 3.39 mins/ animation ) A stop action animation made with sand accompanying a song by the Polish folk band Warsaw Village Band.
Well-dying directed by Junhyeok Kim (Korea / 2022 /13.34 mins / fiction) With her young daughter Areum, Cho-won visits her father and they talk about their feelings toward each other for the very last time.
The annual DCIFF High School Competition is led by High School students themselves! Meet the 2023 High School Competition Coordinators : Sidney Gayle, Patricia Braaten & Paige Tasin:
For any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org