The 13th annual Washington D.C. Independent Film Festival (DCIFF) will take place March 3-13, 2011. DCIFF will showcase more than 100 features, shorts, animations, and documentaries created btalented artists from around the world. Films are grouped by theme into 26 different sessions.
This year’s festival will close on March 13 with a special screening of The Blair Witch Project and an appearance by Eduardo Sanchez, the film’s writer an co-director.
The official Selection of Animated Film includes:
B’raesheet (Complete Version) directed by John Teton (Animation, 12 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) This international award-winning film set to Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ is a mesmerizing experience.’ –Jerry Beck. A lyrical voyage of a human embryo and the fantastic vision it experiences prior to birth.
Cankered and Cursed, directed by Todd De Jong (Animation/Student film, 4 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) The story depicts a sisterhood of evil witches that must avoid getting possessed by the goodness that surrounds them, before its too late.
Fighter, directed by Steven Ly (Animation, 6 mins, in English, USA) The best lightweight fighter in the world decides to seek his next challenge.
Heart, directed by Erick Oh (Animation/Student film, 9 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) Heart questions the realization of our essence and the meaning of life. This film focuses attention on what we fight for and why we destroy each other.
Kidnap, directed by Sijia Luo (Animation, 4 mins, in English, 2010) A light hearted, award winning student animation for children.
Kings, directed by Barbara Mones (Animation/Student film, 7 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) An award winning animation about two old men traveling on a train together, as they engage in an escalating conflict that they try to resolve by playing the card game WAR. They then dominate the only innocent victims they can find. Kings poses the question ‘is War inevitable’?
Necessities of Life, The, directed by Gerald Guthrie (Animation, 5 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) An award winning animation that objectifies the human conflict between basic physical requirements and the need for culture.
Out on a Limb, directed by Daisy Yu Chuan Lin (Animation/Student film, 5 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) A young bird reaches out, vulnerable to the unknown, craves freedom from the struggle, against the conformity imposed upon by the flock’s expectations.
Paper Daydream, directed by Jun Iwakawa (Animation, 2 mins, in English, United Kingdom, 2010) Staring at a blank page, a draftsman finds his focus on work begins to drift and with it, his imagination. Soon, the page becomes a cinema screen for his meandering thoughts which are realized before our very
Scarf (Sharfik) directed by Karina Gazizova (Animation/Student film, 14 mins, in English, USA/Russia, 2010, World Premiere) A lyrical animation about an all too ordinary family during World War II. An unbearable siege sucks the last drop of life out of this once warm, loving family. Their true strength is tested in the most difficult of times, when it is needed most.
Stairs, directed by Tom Madar (Animation, 7 mins, Hebrew, Israel, 2010) “Stairs” is a lyric and poetic film about a woman who looses her baby while still in her womb. The woman goes through the four main stages of mourning: denial, depression, anger and acceptance. The plot takes place in an undefined space which is influenced by Beckett’s “Theatre of the Absurd”.
Stitches Speak, The (Tanko Bole Chhe) directed by Nina Sabnani (Animation, 12 mins, in Gujarati, 2009, North America Premiere) An award winning animated documentary which celebrates the art and passion of the Kutch artisans associated with Kala Raksha. The film traces multiple journeys made by the participants towards defining their identities and towards forming the Kala Raksha Trust and the School for Design. The film uses their narrative art of applique and embroideries through which they articulate their responses to life, and events as traumatic as the earthquake and as joyful as flying a kite. Through conversations and memories four voices share their involvement in the evolution of a craft tradition.
Swing, directed by Yen-Ting Kuo (Animation/Student film, 4 mins, in English, U S A, 2010). An award winning animated short about an elderly patient is reminded of the value of his life, while enjoying a swing on the roof.
Test Anxiety, directed by Bob Deaver (Animation, 3 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) An award winning short film about a young boy who tries to pass exams to avoid being kicked out of school. But these are no ordinary exams and they work against him. From time to time, a sinister nun drops in to intimidate him.
Threads, directed by Barbara Mones (Animation/Student film, 8 mins, Drama, 2009, World Premiere) Threads utilizes visual storytelling to use animation as a way to show life events that cannot be seen. Set in Mongolia, Threads is about a young girl who comes to terms with her mother’s death by reliving their most cherished and loving times together.
Wind-Up Life, The, directed by Yi-Jen Chen (Animation/Student film, 5 mins, 2010, World Premiere) This animated short is about the idea of the intersection between dreams and reality. It depicts the connection between what we dream at night and the stress we feel during the day. Symbolically, the idea of pressure is represented by an ocean and fish to show the idea of mentally drowning, using dream-like imagery to metaphorically portray the struggles of a person dealing with everyday life.
The official Selection of Documentary Film includes:
Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan, The, directed by Phil Grabsky (Documentary, 96 mins, USA/Afghanistan, 2011, North America Premiere) DCIFF Alum, award winning Grabsky follows up with his international hit The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, with THE BOY MIR granting us a window in the daily life of Mir Hussain in Afghanistan over the last decade. At first, we see him as a refugee from the Taliban, living in a cave in Bamiyan, and then returns to his original home, an isolated village in the north. Over the next ten years, film-maker Phil Grabsky follows Mir as he journeys into early adulthood in one of the toughest places on earth.
Buzzkill, directed by Matthew Clegg (Documentary/Student film, 14 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) ‘Buzzkill’ is a short documentary that explores the fearful decline of bees throughout the past few decades, while focusing specifically on the more recent and confounding disappearance of honeybees worldwide, a syndrome termed Colony Collapse Disorder. This disconcerting portrait of the future of our food industry and environment then takes a turn for the optimistic through an uplifting look at the burgeoning population of hobbyist beekeepers.
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, directed by Chris Metzler & Lev Anderson (Documentary, 107 mins, in English, USA, 2010) This award winning documentary from DCIFF Alum reveals the story of Fishbone, with the shifting faultlines of Hollywood fantasies and the economic and racial tensions of Reagan’s America, Fishbone rose to become one of the most original bands of the last 25 years. With a blistering combination of punk and funk they demolished the walls of genre and challenged the racial stereotypes and political order of the music industry and the nation. Telling it like it is, the iconic Laurence Fishburne narrates EVERYDAY SUNSHINE, a story about music, history, fear, courage and funking on the one.
Food Stamped, directed by Shira and Yoav Potash (Documentary, 60 mins, in English, 2010) Food Stamped is an informative and humorous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Nutrition educator Shira Potash teaches healthy cooking classes to elementary school students in low-income neighborhoods, most of whom are eligible for food stamps. In an attempt to walk a mile in their shoes, Shira and her documentary filmmaker husband embark on the food stamp challenge where they eat on roughly one dollar per meal. Along the way, they consult with US members of Congress, food justice activists, nutrition experts, and ordinary people living on food stamps, all in order to take a deep look at America’s broken food system.
Frances and Frankie, directed by Dean Hamer (Documentary, 8 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) The touching reunification of differently abled twins Frances and Frankie, long separated by cruel and unnecessary institutionalization, reminds us of the universal need for independence, love and family.
Gospel According to Matthew, The, directed by Sofian Khan (Documentary, 19 mins, in English, USA, 2010, World Premiere) The life and times of infomercial legend Matthew Lesko — better known as the question mark man.
Grandpa’s Wet Dream, directed by Chihiro Amemiya (Documentary/Student film, 16 mins, U S A, 2010) Direct from the Sundance Film Festival, this provocative documentary reveals the life of a 75-year-old Japanese man who has been acting in adult videos for 15 years without telling his family.
In Unison, directed by Joseph Neigh (Documentary/Student film, 21 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) Local. A documentary film that details the sport of extreme unicycling and addresses factors that make this unique sport so enjoyable and socially misunderstood.
Incident in New Baghdad, directed by James Spione (Documentary, 22 mins, n English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) U.S. Army veteran Ethan McCord recounts his life-changing experiences at the scene of one of the most notorious events of the Iraq War: the slaying of two Reuters journalists, along with a group of mostly unarmed men, on the streets of Baghdad by American attack helicopters in July 2007.
James Polk, directed by Brian Rose (documentary, 84 mins, in English, USA, East Coast Premiere) Few American Presidents did as much as James Polk: he annexed Texas, and acquired the Southwest and the Oregon Territory. He made the United States the massive country it is today. He also waged a war to do it, a war that his opponents called illegal and unconstitutional. And those very same land acquisitions caused a chain reaction that led to the American Civil War. And so today he is a controversial historic figure, praised by some historians, and hated by as many. Most regular people have never heard of him. ‘James Polk’ is his story, told by the filmmaker himself as he travels cross country to uncover his story, and understand one of the darkest figures from one of the darkest periods in American history. It is a film about the difficulties of uncovering history, of hidden cameras and security guards at every turn. It is a story of dead ends and frustration and discovery.
Last Elephants in Thailand, The, directed by Donald Tayloe and Michelle Mizner (Documentary, 40 mins, in English, U S A, 2009, East Coast Premiere) A heartfelt call to arms to fight to save the dwindling population of elephants in Thailand.
Late Rounders, directed by Evan A. Marshall (Documentary, 92 mins, in English, USA, 2010, World Premiere) What happens behind the scenes of the most popular game in the land? Late Rounders follows graduating college football players as they attempt to take the next step in their careers and make the 53-man roster on an NFL football team. Beyond the glamour of Sunday Game day, Late Rounders reveals the complex underbelly that college athletes must traverse to make their way into the pros. It’s a world where everyday is an uphill battle and everyday brings them 24 hours closer to the gut- wrenching reality they may face if their dreams don’t come through on draft day.
Loy Krathong, directed by Jeffrey Waldron (Documentary, 8 mins, in English, 2010) Each year the people of Chiang Mai, Thailand get together to let go. The many origins and meanings of the Loy Krathong lantern festival are explored as a tuktuk driver explores its meaning for her.
Outside The Law: Stories From Guantanamo, directed by Polly Nash & Andy Worthington (Documentary, 75 mins,, in English, United Kingdom, 2009, North America Premiere). A gripping award winning documentary that features interviews with former Guantanamo detainees, lawyers and other experts, focusing on the stories of three British residents and explains how Guantanamo and the Bush administration’s secret prison network was based on intelligence failures and a dangerous disregard for international laws.
Priceless, directed by Steven Cowan (Documentary, 57 mins, in English, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) PRICELESS is an adventurous road trip across the U.S. to discover why our elected leaders make disastrous policies and whether it’s possible for government to smarten up. The journalistic quest, alternately humorous and moving, offers vivid peeks at an electoral system that turns elected representatives into junkies mainlining corporate cash. Can they be freed from their lewd addiction? Inspired in part by wise words from our youngest citizens, the film examines a different way of financing election campaigns with the potential for real representation and way more intelligent policy.
R. Luke DuBois: Running Out of Time, directed by H. Paul Moon (Documentary, 28 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) This award winning documentary recounts the life of R. Luke DuBois a composer and visual artist in New York City. His creative output builds on notions of cultural and romantic memory, exploring how information can be accelerated for emotional impact, interweaving conversations with visuals, performance, and behind-the-scenes footage. Featured in the film are MIVOS quartet and the Fair Use Trio.
Red Dust, directed by Karin Mak (Documentary/Student film, 21 mins, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) This gripping documentary exposes the life of laborers poisoned by the carcinogen cadmium in the battery factories where they worked. Ren and her comrades engage in a desperate struggle for justice. RED DUST captures rural and urban poverty and the risks involved in speaking up in China. In face of daunting obstacles that affect their work, health, and future, the women persevere.
Released to Life, produced by Kripa Koshy and Lily Hua Qin (Documentary/Student film, 16 mins, in English, USA) DC Filmmakers present a gripping documentary that reveals how the past convictions of ex-offenders continue to follow them. An expose of several recently released ex-offenders struggling to redefine themselves in a society that they no longer know.
SLUTnation on the Rise: The Growing Sport of Ultimate, directed by Carissa Dorson (Documentary/Student film, 8 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) DC Filmmaker – More and more teams have been forming within the growing sport of Ultimate, and one of them is the women’s club team at Florida State University, the Seminole Ladies Ultimate Team, aka SLUT. The team was founded in the Fall of 2008, and it was comprised mostly of girls that were new to the sport. The Ladies soon realized that Ultimate involves far more than just tossing a Frisbee. It is a competitive sport with strategy and skill that takes practice to master. It was a rocky start, as S.L.U.T. began to compete as the underdog in tournaments against other schools. However, after learning how to work together as a team and have fun, they started scoring points, and even winning games!
Sole of a Hustla, directed by Chad Heeter, Adam Raney (Documentary, 72 mins, in English, USA, Mid-Atlantic Premiere) A soulful documentary about a new kind of entrepreneur, who against all odds starts a shoe company, gets in the game on his own terms, learns the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and in the end wins in the game of life. This is the true story of their heart, their soul and their hustle.
They Are Not Invinsible – Maya Women and Microfinance (No Son Invisibles) directed by (Documentary, 52 mins, In Spanish with English subtitles, Mexico, 2009, U.S. Premiere) An award winning documentary about 3 Mayan women who succeed through micro financing. Muhammad Yunus and the grammeen foundation won the Nobel Peace Prize for this program. Mr. Yunus helped start this program in Chiapas and appears throughout the documentary explaining the micro financing system that he developed.
When The World Breaks, directed by Hans Fjellestad (Documentary, 84 mins, in English, U S A, 2010). An award winning documentary that reveals how in 1929 the world was launched into the darkest time in modern economic history. That same year, Ernest Hemingway wrote: ‘The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. ‘When the World Breaks’ is a film about creativity and survival during the Great Depression of the 1930s, with striking parallels to current times. Depression-era life and art come alive with rare film clips and personal stories from survivors like Ray Bradbury, Jerry Stiller, Buzz Aldrin and Phyllis Diller to take us beyond the bread lines and dust bowls into a vibrant cinematic portrait of this formative decade in American history.
Wild Horses In Winds Of Change, directed by Mara LeGrand (Documentary, 30 mins, in English, U S A, 2010) As thousands of wild horses are rounded up from their free roaming life on the range, tensions run high for their future. With nearly forty thousand wild horses and burros already languishing in long term ‘warehousing’ the need for solutions to the crisis is critical. While referencing the many experts who challenge the current management system, myths, and biases utilized to justify it, ‘Wild Horses In Winds of Change’, remains above all, a meaningful journey of beauty into the soulful world of America’s
Will See You That Day (Ous Deenh Milsoon) directed by Farhan Maqsood (Documentary, 7 mins, in Punjabi with English subtitles, U S A, 2010, World Premiere) Pakkhi Vaas (Temporary Inhabitants) are the marginalized of society, inhabiting the outskirts of the city Lahore in Pakistan, usually occupying vacant government land. Their only connection to society is doing menial jobs to support their families. Since they are divorced from society, many myths and mysteries have grown around them concerning their religion, lifestyle and identity. They are generally believed to be gypsies, atheists and thieves who eat the dead. This film is an attempt to explore the daily life, the place and the faces of these unknown people.