Social Justice and Web Series at Filmfest DC

film fest

If your looking for a fun little excursion and have a hankering for a different kind of cinema, check out the Filmfest DC. They’re collection, which plays till Sunday the 21st, is pretty impressive with over 80 features, documentaries and shorts from all corners of the earth. Word Wizards, Inc. of course loves docs, since their so jam packed with talking heads footage which means transcription, but encourages visitors to see all the festival has to offer. The festival which takes place at various commercial theaters throughout Washington, D.C. have a program that can be downloaded from the website at  

Social Justice

One of the unique highlights of the festival includes a Justice Matters Focus group of documentaries which uses the powerful medium of film to take a look at important social justice issues. Some of the subjects include affordable aids treatment, life in refugee camps, global change through entrepreneurship and protecting indigenous people. Word Wizards. Inc, loves these documentaries for a few reasons since they not only bring important topics to the masses that might be over looked, but also use lots of interview footage which requires transcription to great effect. For more information, check out their link here: 

Another unique panel looks at the outstanding quality of the different web series’s produced in the DC area entitled Best of the D.C. Web Series. Over the past decade a number of made for the internet shows, called webisodes, have sprung up in the area. They tend be the length of an average television show and are becoming increasingly popular since they’re cheap to make and can be distributed so easily. While they are intended for the internet, they are still make via the conventional production means. This entails shooting it with a camera which is followed  by plenty of transcription, logging and editing. For more info:  

Film festival’s like Filmfest DC are important since they give a voice to many films that otherwise would not be able to find an audience. Yes, some things like the internet and video sharing sites have made self distribution easier than before but its still tough to get them in front of people. Film festivals take only the best which means audiences have a certain quality to look forward to and that filmmakers have better chances to be recognized. To find out about all the screenings and films, check out the Filmfest DC website at




DC Independent Film Festival, one of the longest running festivals in town



Starting a film festival is no easy feat and keeping it going for a successive number of years is downright extraordinary. That’s why the DC Independent Film Festival which will be celebrating it’s 15th year later this week, from March 6 – 10th, is darn impressive. While most film festivals would be resting on their laurels at this point, DCIFF is ramping up even more this year with a greater film variety, world premieres, great master classes, informative seminars, a rockin music line up and more social media connectivity than ever before.


First off let’s start with the films. One of the biggest they will be showcasing is the world premiere of the critically acclaimed film Meth Head. Not only does this cautionary tale about addiction deliver a powerful message, its also being headlined by notable talent such as Lukas Haas. Wilson Cruz and Blake Berris.   Some of the other notable features include two quirky and delightfully dark comedies from the land of Canada.

The First Winter, tells the story of a Portuguese man facing the cold Canadian landscape and his past. Camera Shy, tells the tale of a corrupt politician who is shadowed by a cameraman who may or may not be part of his imagination. For something even more offbeat, the festival has two very notable blocks of short films. First on Saturday is their Amazing Animation block where you can see paper cutting be tuned into a mesmerizing movie experience amongst other delights, . Saturday night is their chills and thrills block which features banshee’s, evil twin sisters and some deadly surgery,  For a complete look at their film  and festival schedule, check out their page here:


Besides film, the festival is offering a huge array of seminars that focus on topics such as entertainment law, casting,  film financing, cinematography, option agreements and fund raising. One of their more unique offerings this year is an oral history panel on the experience of going to the movies which will include an open mike component. If your really in the mood to learn, there will be a few master classes including an acting masterclass led by Blake Berris. Hey, we told you they were ramping it up this year. To see a complete listing of seminars and master classes check out the schedule here: 

summit on the hill

Since this is Washington, DC there has to be some political aspect right? Of course there is and that would be DCIFF’s annual Sumit on the Hill program. Each year leading government, industry and key government experts are given the chance to debate such important topics as the impact of tax incentives, production costs and is the US art friendly enough. For full details, check out their page here:      



Accompanying all this is an expanded selection of music that features reggae, soul, DJ Fusion, post punk and goth rock. Some of the names include Waverly Giants, AMIJ, DJ Fusion, Sweetbread Jim’s, Nehemya, Janice B and Queenearth. They will be performing at night to help set the mood and make the happy hours ultra cool. For more info on them, check out the music page here:  

So as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff here. Check out their website at:     Follow them on facebook at DC Independent Film Festival and on twitter at @DCIndieFilmFest and @JackStrawsLane

Again the dates are March 6-10th, with the majority of events and screenings held at the Navy Memorial right next the Archives Metro Stop





The Art of Reviewing Film Festivals



We’re all used to seeing movie and film reviews but reviews for film festivals are not quite as

frequent. What if your a die hard movie junkie who needs their fix of fresh indie cinema but

don’t know just where to turn? Well film festival maven Christina Kotlar has got you covered.


Her blog Film Festival reViews,, fills this niche by examining

all that is indie in films, filmmakers and film festival’s the world over. Mrs. Kotlar, a jersey native who

received her masters in Producing Film and Video from American University in Washington D.C. founded

the site in 2006.  One of her main goals was to give some insight in to the film industry as a viable means of

economic development in the film festival circuit.


One of her passions is the work of early women film makers, more specifically Alice Guy Blache, the first woman

film director.


While most would shrug their shoulders and say “Alice who?”, Blache was an important

figure in the then burgeoning industry as she was making fiction films before women could even vote in this country.

Even more impressive, she built, owned and operated Solax Studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey which did work such

as special effets, super imposition, sound synchronization and colorization. Mrs. Kotlar has actually written a story  and screenplay

about Alice Guy Blache titled Madame Director who’s website can be found here   


Some other unique features on the Film Festival reViews blog include  the Backstage Pass which looks at unique and rare events

happening at different film festivals. Examples include an in depth look at the eagles in honor of their documentary History of the Eagles

Part 1 which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. There are of course the reviews of films and film festivals such as the recent Athena

Film Festival which are told from a woman’s point of view. Lastly, there is also the Media Madness Workshop which strives to develop leader

ship capacity in the media community.


For all this and so much more  check out her website at