Tag Archives: documentary

Masterclass with Award-Winning Director Vikram Jayanti

DCIFF presents a masterclass with veteran multi-award-winning documentary director and producer Vikram Jayanti on Sunday, March 1st at 1:45pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance HERE or at the door (limited to 30 attendees).

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One of the hardest challenges of documentary filmmaking is controlling the unexpected. This year’s masterclass with Vikram Jayanti will focus on his experiences interviewing difficult, eccentric, larger-than-life and often notorious subjects, and the techniques and strategies that have produced the best results for his films. Vikram will be discussing and showing excerpts from several of his films that contain people that are not only larger-than-life, but they are about something bigger than themselves.

His stunning credentials from years of experience grants Vikram access into the lives of people who are otherwise off-limits to the world. A few dynamic characters from his films that will be topics of the masterclass include a self-acclaimed psychic spy in The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?, a musical genius in The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector, James Ellroy’s Feast of Death and a chess extraordinair in Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine. He will discuss various techniques that were used to capture unique moments and angles with these individuals.

A top-of-mind scenario for Vikram when speaking with him about what we can expect from the masterclass was how the energy shifted when he sat James Ellroy across from his wife Helen during filming enabling only the filmmaker to truly visualize the scene. Vikram enjoyed exploring the difference between facts and truth with filming Ellroy. He explains his cinematic approach by saying, “art and literature can have access to deeper truths than facts can provide. Supplying the fundamentals of the facts is important, but then engage the audience with the mystery of the story, a new way to see detectives and the ability to visualize the truth.”

Vikram will help explain how to obtain the less obvious and yet more fascinating aspects of a story. For example, the focus for his film about the famous Russian chess player Garry “The Beast” Kasparov, whose only undefeatable opponent was an IBM supercomputer, was not the game of chess. Vikram changed the story from chess to the “face-off” between a Russian and Wallstreet. The Beast was unable to stare down a computer which resulted in unexpected, thrilling and adrenaline induced storytelling.

The relationship between the filmmaker and the subject is more than a face-to-face interview. Join us on Sunday, March 1st at 1:45pm to learn the essential techniques and approaches, along with a few tricks of the trade, to capture the untold story.

Learn more about Vikram Jayanti and the event HERE.

Vikram's films

Purchase tickets HERE to see films directed and produced by Vikram Jayanti:

Thursday, February 26th at 6pm
The Secret life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?
Friday, February 27th at 2pm
Snowblind
Saturday, February 28th at 8pm
James Ellroy’s Feast of Death

Stay updated on DCIFF news and events by visiting our website and following 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!

DCIFF Filmmaker Series: Reid Davenport

Leading up to this year’s festival, we will be highlighting the fascinating stories behind our 2014 filmmakers and their submissions.

Studying abroad as a college student seems like a rite of passage these days. Most institutions highly encourage their students by offering a variety of programs, countries to visit and even scholarships. Picturesque images of strolling through a palazzo eating gelato or climbing the acropolis come to mind when envisioning a European abroad program. Unfortunately, when the ancient cultures built some of the greatest cities around the world, they didn’t exactly keep in mind the needs of the people with disabilities. Or so Reid Davenport found out.

Reid has cerebral palsy and though he is ambulatory, he prefers using a wheelchair to keep from losing energy. In a Washington Post op-ed last year, Reid said throughout his undergraduate years at George Washington University, “I’d planned on visiting Italy, my grandmother’s homeland.” He settled on Florence but once admitted, ran into some major roadblocks.

Reid looks out over the city of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Reid looks out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Program administrators discouraged Reid from bringing his electric wheelchair due to housing constraints near the campus and the city’s notorious cobbled sidewalks with few curb cuts for access points. Discouraged, Reid abandoned his study abroad dreams but months later, the travel bug was still biting. He knew his woes must be felt by others in the disabled community and set out to document this experience.

Due to lack of curb cuts, Reid would sometimes need to ride along side traffic in the street.

Due to lack of curb cuts, Reid would sometimes need to ride along side traffic in the street.

In April 2011, Reid received a $5,000 fellowship and along with cameraman Mark Abramson, raised an additional $8,000 through Kickstarter to explore accessibility in the Old World. Five cities and 13 interviews later, Reid recounted his experiences in the documentary Wheelchair Diaries: One Step Up. The film premiered last July at the Awareness Festival in Los Angeles, winning Best Documentary Short and helped launched Reid as a motivational speaker.

At DCIFF, we’re excited to be featuring Reid’s incredible story during our “Docs and Shorts at Night” session on Friday, February 21st. Come join us for a screening of Wheelchair Diaries along with three other short films from 7:30 to 9:30pm at the Naval Memorial Heritage Center President’s Room.

Kicking Off the New Year Right: 2014 DCIFF Finalists

Last week, we kicked off the New Year by proudly announcing the 2014 DC Independent Film Festival finalists. After receiving over 1,000 entries, we narrowed down our finalists to nine feature films, six documentary features, seven documentary shorts, 23 narrative shorts, 16 animated films and nine high school student films.

We’ve truly held up our tradition of international representation at this year’s festival with over 28 films from 18 different countries, including New Zealand, Canada, Iran, Spain, Netherlands, China, Russia, Austria, India, Italy, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Singapore, Croatia, Ireland and Australia.

DCIFF expanded its international reach this year to 18 different countries worldwide.

DCIFF expanded its international reach this year to 18 different countries worldwide.

We’ll be working diligently behind the scenes over the next few weeks to set the final line-up, organize volunteers and press and firm up panelists for the festival, which runs from Wednesday, February 19th to Sunday, February 23rd. To paraphrase our festival director, Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, the festival is meant to be accessible to all, from members of the filmmaking community and casual film lovers to those who wish to support the DC arts community. We encourage everyone to join and reap the benefits of our seminars, workshops, panels and more. To support our core value of accessibility, we are currently running a deal through Groupon for discounted VIP or one-day passes through February 18th.

Be sure to check back here for more festival updates over the next month including in-depth filmmaker profiles.