Tag Archives: film production

Building Blocks: High School Student Films Soon-To-Be On-Screen Premieres

This year, DCIFF’s educational programming expands beyond the film festival week with a 6-week after school program for high school students in partnership with DC International School. Students study the foundations of creating on-screen interviews by exploring storytelling and script-crafting, elements of the interview, and technical aspects of filming and editing.

In sessions focused on storytelling, students have debated the competing importance of context, conflict, and motivation in cultivating stories that an audience will care to hear and see. To practice crafting their own stories, students shared filmed accounts of a broken arm, the disappointing results of a soccer team tryout, and learning how to ask uncomfortable questions, among other topics. 

As sessions moved on to interviewing techniques, the group discussed building rapport with an interview subject, planning the topic and order of a line of questions, and probing for more information without planting a desired answer. In breakout rooms, mock interview groups experimented with these techniques and through practice identified the small but impactful difference made by asking open-ended questions (“When do you feel most energized in your work?” versus “Do you like your job?”). 

An Emmy award winning Documentary Producer and Cinematographer for Tegna Media, Spencer Bruttig will be leading upcoming sessions on filming technique and various factors to consider, from locations, lighting, and sound to time restraints and other logistical planning factors.

In the next couple of weeks, students will be planning, filming, and producing their own on-screen interviews with bilingual Washingtonians to explore community members’ experience of inhabiting multiple languages. Currently, students are preparing to send out their requests to potential interview subjects and are drafting scripts to develop a line of questioning. Once complete, students’ interview films will not only be screened at the DCIFF High School Film Festival (March 13-14), but they will also be saved in HumanitiesDC’s Digital Museum. (DCIFF’s free after school program for highschool students is made possible by the DC Humanities Council.)

Stay tuned!

(Top photo courtesy of Engin Akyurt)


DCIFF 2020 Award Winners

All the exceptional films screened at DCIFF in Washington DC March 4-8th were in competition and it is with great pleasure that we congratulate the winners and wish both the creators and the films great success going forward.

Best High School Films

  • First Place: The Program (USA/2019/17 mins) directed by Autumn Morgan
  • Second Place: Happy Pill (USA/2019/7:18mins) directed by Wyatt Richards 
  • Third Place: Static (USA/2019/4:45mins) directed by Jackson Little.

Best Metro DC Film

  • The Imminent Expiration of Seth Dodson (USA/2019/11:36mins/fiction) directed by Alex Craig

Best Narrative Short (fiction)

  • Maradona’s Legs (Germany/2019/20mins) directed by Firas Khoury

Best Series Pilot/Episode

  • Good Genes (USA/2020/19mins) directed by Hannah Welever 

Best Documentary Short

  • Our Alexandria (USA/2019/17mins) directed by Robin Hamilton

Best Documentary Feature Film

  • Medicating Normal (USA/2019/76mins) directed by Lynn Cunningham and Wendy Ractliffe

Best Animated Short Film

  • Chapped (USA/2019/7.52 mins/stop-action animation) directed by Chelsea Rugg  

Best International Film

  • Sema (Speak Out) (Dem.Rep. of Congo/2019/45mins/feature) directed by Macherie Ekwa Bahango

Best Feature Film

  • Love Type D (UK/2019/95mins) directed by Sasha Collington

Best of Fest

  • Life In Synchro (USA/2020/53mins/documentary) directed by Angela Pinaglia