Tag Archives: independent film

DCIFF 2021 Program Comes to Life

March 8th, 2020, and with a shout not a whisper, DCIFF completed its twenty-first festival and the full weight of the pandemic descended. In this process this made us, unwittingly, the last film festival on the East Coast.

March 2021 and we are trying to be one of the first hybrid film festivals. DCIFF like so many arts organizations has had a year to think about not just how to pivot to the situation but what to build that is new, relevant and needed from out of the ashes.  We have chosen more education, more conversation, the art of film, the philosophy of the moving image, the social value of documentaries, media literacy, the genius of animation, interaction, synergy and community: a forum built on a festival.

The 22nd edition of DCIFF will run March 30th to April 8th, 2021 as a hybrid experience with the options of a fully online festival of films to watch, in-person screenings and events in the Metro Washington DC region and a combination of the two.  We hope you will join us to continue to celebrate independent filmmaking, learn/discuss/feel/think and support the arts.  See our offerings at our website.

The link to festival passes is here @$25 and up for all 30 films, online taped events, live streamed activities, Q&As, workshops and seminars.  What a deal! And we are keep adding to the line-up as the situation permits. A Last Minute Inc. approach! 

In-person events following local pandemic guidelines are HERE  and we are adding more events as the situation permits. Our workshops will include: legal issues for live streaming, meet the distributors, 10 tricks for making horror movies, filming live music, how to get started in your media career, animation and the ethics of representation in documentary.

Thank you for your support of an independent spirit in DC and  online. The blurry photos below? Those were the days and we plan to recreate the same energy in new ways.  

Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, executive director, DCIFF  









How COVID has impacted filmmaker screenings and audiences

Impact producing means working in film with a strategy to find an audience that not only has been impacted by your film but will take action. In essence, it is using your film as a tool to advance an issue.

For most films, particularly for documentaries, this is done not just through viewings and screenings but with a Q&A portion at film festivals.

The pandemic has changed how screenings and impact producing is conducted. Now that screenings and Q&A sections are, for the most part, done virtually, both filmmakers and audiences have to adjust. These adjustments have provided chances that weren’t considered before such as allowing for smaller, rural areas of the United States to have a more intimate, albeit virtual, time with filmmakers. At DCIFF 2021 we will use a hybrid festival model, both in-person and virtual. 

Before, it was often not feasible financially and physically for the filmmakers themselves to get to a small area, find a hotel to stay in and be at the screening. Now, from the comfort of your living room, cast and crew and audience members can have conversations and get connected like never before. The possibilities of outreach and impact producing virtually have grown along with creative new ways of using the internet. This is something we are very aware of at DCIFF, so look out for our new monthly Film Interpretation Club starting January 2021.  Sign up for our newsletter if you want more information.

Of course, online conversation is not all positive change. There are issues of cyber security, keeping a person’s attention, finding the right audience, are all challenges faced during a time of COVID-19. Some filmmakers have experimented: they have offered their documentaries and films for a few days to allow the viewer to watch the film in preparation for a live Q&A virtual session. Others have done the viewing then, right after, have the Q&A session. A few film festivals will have a short Q&A session filmed in advance with the filmmakers to be viewed whenever the viewer wants to see it.

For those in the film world, 2020 has forced us to think creatively and make a few misses, but we are learning. The swing to online engagement may be here to stay. For filmmakers, reaching an audience and inspiring them is central to their work and their careers, and so this has been a time for experiments. For people who want to produce and share impactful and meaningful stories, it is important to create genuine partnerships. Keep an open mind, you never know how you will be able to achieve your goals. You could try engaging different audiences. There is no guarantee that your work will go viral but meeting people and expanding the range of those influenced by your work, is a true value of storytelling.

Written by Tara Jabbari,

DCIFF Filmmaker Relations