Author Archives: DC Independent Film Festival

DCIFF Alum and Director David Burkman shares his film’s path to distribution

It is a great feeling working at a film festival when a selected film goes on to success.  You feel good for the cast and crew plus a little selfish pleasure that DCIFF picked a winner.  So we are delighted that the feature HAZE (USA/2015/106mins) just completed a run at the Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles, was acquired by Gravitas Ventures, is now available on iTunes and the official theatrical trailer was featured on Entertainment Weekly’s website.  For locals, go catch this Metro DC-produced film at The Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse on November 1st: A college freshman’s desire to join the best fraternity on campus is dampened when a pledge is killed in a brutal hazing incident.

We will see if director David Burkman can share how he achieved this distribution at DCIFF 2018, Feb 14-19, but for now, here are questions he answered for us about the post-release life of the film.

HAZE_BTS_David Burkman

What has the festival circuit experience given you? Has it been valuable? The festival experience was tremendously rewarding and valuable. The supportive environment at festivals was such a positive start to the launch of the film. Making an independent film is so hard and the gratification is so delayed, to finally be able to screen the film for a supportive audience is a major boost. The DC Independent Film Festival stood out as one of our very best experiences. Because we shot the film in the DC area, we felt like we were home. The audience was terrific, and the Q&A stood out as especially rich and meaningful.

You worked with a group of young talented actors.. have the film’s journey involved them in some way too? Yes. The actors and crew bonded very tightly during the making of the film, and these friendships have remained very strong.  Many of the cast members have been a part of the promotion of the film, joining us on the festival circuit, at theatrical screenings for Q&As, and they are at the center of our social media campaign. I think so many of them feel a special connection to HAZE.  They are not only extremely talented, but also just wonderful people.


How are audiences responding  to the film? Now that we have screened the film on nearly 50 college campuses, at 10 film festivals, and are currently on our theatrical screening tour, people of all ages and walks of life are responding well to the film. For example, we recently screened in NYC at the famed Talking Movies screening series and found that a generally older audience had a lot to say about the film, the issues it raises, and the complex themes is explores. And we have also found that college students have strong opinions about the movie and seem to really relate to it.

Any words of advice for filmmakers debuting their first feature?  Off the top of my head I would say, be open minded to feedback and advice but also stick to your vision. And know that while Hollywood tries to get everyone to conform to a specific way of doing things, there is no one right way to do anything. One of our mottos when making HAZE was “Whatever it takes.”  I think being as creative in how you produce a film is as important as the creativity you pour into the storytelling. By that I mean find clever, new ways to get around obstacles and make things happen. And finally, if you believe in what you are doing, never, ever, give up.

Learn more about the film HAZE at:

2017 DCIFF Awards


Service to Man (USA/2016) 
Directed by Aaron Greer and Seth Panitch


One Penny (USA/2017) 
Directed by Michael DeVita


Free to Ride (USA/2017)
Directed by Jamaal Bell


SON (Luxembourg/2016)
Directed by Cyrus Neshvad
SALT (Brazil/2016)
Directed by Diego Frietas


The Night Watchmen (USA/2017)
Directed by Mitchell Altieri


Killing the Fiddler (USA/2016)
Directed by Barak Barkan

Painted City (USA/2017)
Directed by Caitlin Carroll


New York City Sketchbook (USA/2016)
Directed by Willy Hartland


Fishwitch (UK/2016)
Directed by Adrienne Dowling

High School Film Competition

Makoda (Canada/2016)
Directed by Callahan Bracken

To Serve and Protect? (USA/2016)
Directed by Alula Abraham, Zenab Abubakari, Alyssa Berrios, Rediet Betru, Kaleb Dagne, Abel Demiss, Oliver Hulser-Morris, Angelica Moreno, Alix Swann

Reflections (USA/2016)
Directed by Kevin Gordon

Announcing the DCIFF 2017 Documentaries

Feature Documentaries

Free to Ride (USA/2016/59:31mins), Directed by Jamaal Bell
The story of the relentless spirit of community members from across Dayton, Ohio who overcame a suburban contingent opposed to the expansion of public transit along a commercial corridor, and the system of checks and balances that allowed justice and reason to prevail.

Desert Wounds (Israel/2016/58mins), Directed by Nili Dotan
Christian African Women from Sudan and Eritrea, seek asylum in Israel but know that their journey is far from being over.

Masoumeh (Iran/2016/70mins), Directed by Sona Moghaddam
MASOUMEH ATAE is attacked brutally by acid by her ex-husband’s father 1.5 years after divorce. Despite losing her sight and severe burning, she tries to obtain the custody of her son.

Pigheaded (USA/2015/90mins), Directed by John Kinhart
Pigheaded tells the provocative life story of underground cartoonist and subversive satirist Skip Williamson. His unapologetic art exemplified the spirit of the 60s counter-culture movement.

Spectres are Haunting Europe (France, Greece/2016/98mins), Directed by Maria Kourkouta and Niki Giannari
The daily life of refugees (Syrian, Kurdish, Pakistani, Afghani, and other) in the camp of Idomeni. People waiting in queues for food, tea and doctors; waiting to cross the border between Greece and Macedonia. One day, Europe closes its borders for them once and for all.

24 Hour Comic (USA/2016/69mins), Directed by by Milan Erceg
8 Artists confined to a comic book store, partake in Scott McCloud’s 24 Hour Comic Challenge. Each attempts to write, draw, and complete a 24 page comic, in 24 hours.

Short Documentaries

Alex (USA/2016/9:32mins), Directed by Brian Inocencio
After a near fatal car accident, Alex’s life completely changed. This is a conversation between Alex and his mother Janet.

Contigo (USA/2016/6:54mins), Directed by Dan Boord and Luis Valdovino
Contigo is a waltz with family and tradition, close to the South Texas border.

Hartom (UAE/2916/10:39mins), Directed by Arkus
A window into the professional life of Andy who is far more than just a performing magician.

Painted City (USA/2017/25:40mins), Directed by Caitlin Carroll
An exploration of Washington, D.C.’s community murals and the preservation issues they face in rapidly changing neighborhoods by following one local woman’s efforts to study and conserve them.

Property (USA/2016/4mins), Directed by Allison Otto
A day in the life at the National Wildlife Property Repository where wildlife items confiscated at US ports of entry are stored.

Single Asian Female Online (USA/2016/7:30mins), Directed by Jaime Ekken
The true unfiltered online messages received by one Single Asian Woman…..

The Learning Alliance (Pakistan/2016/8:39mins), Directed by Muhammad Umar Saeed
Three brothers are changing their future by studying while selling garbage in Lahore, Pakistan.

Announcing the DCIFF 2017 Shorts

Details and screening times coming soon. Keep checking back this week and next as we announce all the 2017 DCIFF Finalists.


A Battling Body (France/2016/1:30mins), Directed by Laura Ghazal
A one minute choreography to illustrate a whole life, a young life, hampered by multiple sclerosis.

A Girl Like You (Italy/2016/15mins), Directed by Massimo Loi and Gianluca Mangiasciutti
Aurora and Alba, inseparable friends, are very different from each other. One day Alba convinces Aurora to leave for a journey together.

A Peculiar Thud (USA/2016/13mins), Directed by Ross Morin
Billy wakes up in the middle of the night to find a man at his door who wants to come in – and he won’t take no for an answer.

Discord of the Hyenas (Austria/2016/12:45mins), Directed by Alexander Peskador
Jo, Harri, Nik and Beppo meet on a field to dig up their hidden loot. Their buddy Lenz is missing.

Edith (UK/2016/14:57mins), Directed by Christian Cooke
Since his wife, Edith’s, death four months ago, Jake has fallen into a life of drinking and isolation. Then there is Shelia.

Fomo Sapiens (Sweden/2016/7:15mins), Directed by Viktor Hertz
A young couple, suffering from the worst imaginable form of “fear of missing out”, decides to take on a tough challenge.

High Five, Bear Hug (USA/2016/9:44mins) directed by Terra Marine
Juliet seeks comfort from her best friend Luke after a hard break-up.

Killing the Fiddler (USA/2016/7:16mins), Directed by Barak Barkan
Adam, a Jewish man, five minutes before he marries a non-Jewish woman.

Last Call Lenny (USA/2016/12:30mins), Directed by Julien Lasseur
Lenny Upton combines euthanasia with his used furniture business to provide suicide assistance to melancholy customers with a death wish.

Masquerade (USA/2016/10mins), Directed by Andrew Hawkins
1848 Virginia. Slave couple Sam and Ninny execute an escape after their slave master George makes an unconscionable advance.

Thresher (Canada/2016/14mins), Directed by Alex Clark
A lone man is terrorized by a masked burglar late one night, but the intruder soon realizes that the man’s house is not what it seems.

The Kidnapping of a Fish (USA/2016/25mins), Directed by Philip Ramos
A mild-mannered man is kidnapped and is forced to figure out if his new girlfriend is the cause.

Salt (Brazil/2016/15mins), Directed by Diego Freitas
In a big city, a solitary computer technician meets an intriguing man in a website, where people share a strange fantasy. A date is set up, and the night will culminate in an irreversible experience for both of them.

Son (Luxembourg/2016/15mins), Directed by Cyrus Neshvad
Sébastien, who cannot come to terms with his son being in a coma, begins to question his reality.

The Beast in the Storm (UK/2016/8:58mins), Directed by Ruaridh M. Turner
It is winter, 1985. Darkness falls, a young boy races home through a remote landscape.

The Color of Reality (USA/2016/5:42mins), Directed by Jon Boogz
The artistic style of Alexa Meade combined with the choreography of Jon Boogz creates a moving portrait that speaks in powerful protest to the gun violence haunting American society today.

The Evans Girl (USA/2016/13:54mins), Directed by Val Jashiri
Eliza Evans, a quiet thirteen year old girl learns how to become a woman from her distraught mother who abandoned her two years ago.

The Thing About the Morning After (France/2016/9:05mins), Directed by Denise Powers
The morning after a first night spent together reveals some disconcerting surprises.

The Consequence of Reliving (UK/2016/14:26mins), Directed by Christien Bart-Gittens
On his 18th birthday, Noah learns that he possesses a unique ability, but with that ability he soon finds that he has to make the most difficult decision of his life.

Vicarious (USA/2016/13mins), Directed by Aaron Lachman
A man must learn to move on with his life with help from his ghostly best friends.

Welcome to my World (USA/2016/12:06mins), Directed by Ching Wang
The ideal world of a compulsive alienated young man shatter as a spontaneous woman shakes up his everyday routine.