DMVIFF: A Festival for Filmmakers

Tanecia Britt; photo courtesy DMVIFF

This weekend marks the start of the DMV International Film Festival, showcasing the talents of various artists in our area. (‘DMV’ stands for the District, Maryland, and Virginia, for those wondering.) By showcasing up and coming artists from around the world, the DMVIFF is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the area’s indie film market through the development and presentation of original stories for the screen. The DMVIFF hopes to educate about the business of film through workshops and panel discussions during the course of the festival. The festival – and organization – has been put together by Tanecia Britt, a DC native and a freelance director.

The festival, which runs Friday through Wednesday the 30th, was the brainchild of Britt after her return from London where she obtained her Masters in Film Video and New Screen Media. “After I got back and created my first feature, School Without Walls, I had trouble entering the film in various area film festivals,” she said. “School was selected in 3 international festivals, so I was confused as to why it wasn’t accepted here in the DC area. It was then I noticed a real lack of knowledge of film festivals, so I decided to do something about it.”

A variety of films will be shown over the six-day festival. With a variety of categories, films from 5 countries will be presented. “The international submission count has surpassed the national submissions, leaving us with more international offerings,” Britt noted. “We’ve also got international directors coming to represent their film brand and speak on topics important to the film community.” One of the panels, “Investments in Cinema,” features a financial expert who will discuss the importance of investing one’s work in cinema and how to go about acquiring funds. “Another panel is ‘Cinematography 101: An In-depth Workshop of Experimental Camera Work,’ a workshop that explores different camera angles, directions and functions of various cameras that can be used,” she said.

The DMVIFF will be showing films pre-selected by the festival’s grand jury; each entry will be ranked and scored, with the winners announced during the award ceremony on June 30th. Awards will be given across five categories: Shorts, Features, Animation, Documentary, and Music Video. Entries will be shown at a variety of venues in Maryland and DC, such as the AXUM Lounge, Goethe Institute, PMG Studios, and the MOCA Gallery. A complete schedule can be found on the festival’s website. (Note that each viewing block requires a ticket, which can also be purchased through the site.)

So which one is Britt’s favorite? “That would be Dust, our first short feature on Friday,” she said. “It’s an international feature that depicts a real time perspective of life in the UK. Shot in Dogme’ 95 style, it has a gritty, raw appeal that is sure to allow the audience to connect, ‘forcing’ the audience to become captivated in the music and scenes being depicted.” Dust will show at 9:35 a.m. at AXUM on Friday and then again at noon at the Goethe Institute.

What does Britt hope to achieve through all this? “I want the average attendee to walk away from the festival with a open mind to new types of cinema,” she said. “To open the horizons of the typical viewer while also showing the life and thoughts of people around the world. DMVIFF is a place of unity within the arts in the DMV area. I want this event to gain a following where creative know to look to the events for direction or a springboard for their independent project throughout the city.” With a cross-cut of panels and showings packed into the festival’s six days, it’s an ambitious goal, and one Britt thinks will launch future events. “We’ve got various functions for the DMVIFF in the works for the next year after this week’s debut,” she noted. “We’re a ‘festival for the people’ and I hope it becomes an annual arts tradition in the area.”

The DMVIFF runs June 25 – 30, with various events around town. Events include panels, workshops, photography exhibits, film showings, and parties. Various events require RSVP and tickets. See DMVIFF’s website for complete details.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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