Annapolis Film Festival Wrap Up

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This past weekend the Annapolis Film Festival kicked off to some pretty critical acclaim. The festival, which ran from the 21 – 24, seeks to establish the city of Annapolis as a prime breeding ground for different filmmakers to come and show different perspectives through their work to hungry audiences. A previous incarnation actually existed from 2003 to 2006 and was produced by Ken Arnold, Maria Triandos and Demetrea Triantafillides. The founders of the present version hope that in the long term it will bring both cultural and economic growth to Annapolis and the surrounding area. The festival showcased all types of films from gripping fictional tales to thought provoking documentaries. Word Wizards especially loves documentaries because transcription, captioning and logging are among our core business capabilities.  During the weekend, more than 90 films which covered various topics were shown in addition to educational panels and various film showcases.

After the festival, the winners as voted by audience members were:

Best Feature Narrative: Exquisite Corpse Project

The Exquisite Corpse Project, directed by Ben Popik and directed by Joanna Popik, is the result of a challenge given to five members of a former comedy troupe, all good friends. Their task is to each write fifteen pages of a movie script having only read the previous writer’s last five pages. This one-of-a-kind narrative-doc crossover is hilarious and touching.

Best Feature Documentary: Charles Bradley: Soul of America

Charles Bradley: Soul of America, directed by Poull Brien, chronicles the story of 62 year old aspiring soul singer and James Brown impersonator who becomes a star. After a life of abandonment, homelessness and tragedy, his debut album rockets on to Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of 2011. Mr. Bradley will giving a concert at Ram’s Head OnStage, West Street, Annapolis on April 12th.

Best Narrative Short: The Silk

The Silk, directed by Nathalie Boltt and Clare Burgess, is from New Zealand. Fifty years before, Herb had brought home from the war a length of beautiful silk. As he approaches death, his wife, Amy, takes out the scissors and undertakes a project which transforms their sorrow.

Best Documentary Short: Good Karma $1

Good Karma $1, directed by Jason Berger and Amy Laslett, tells how Ad guru, Alex Bogusky collects signs from homeless people asking for money, wondering if he can help them get their message across better. It turns into a lesson in generosity and humility.

Some of the highlights of the festival included an environmental showcase where a panel of leaders and filmmakers discussed various environmental issues. The festival also celebrated the young filmmakers of tomorrow with their Student Showcase which shows short films from young filmmakers from all around the world. It’s these young people that will be the face of the video production and media industry and bring us films, documentaries, powerful stories and put the spotlight on important issues. Other noteworthy topics at the festival included a panel on the African-American Experience and Segregation in the American School System as well as a shorts program thematically looking at women’s issues.

With the festival having attracted over 2,000 people, that’s great news for independent cinema as a whole. It shows that there’s a desire for it in Annapolis and a generally strong one in the region itself. More importantly it’s yet another exampe of how our production community comes together to celebrate our hard work and support each other. With such a rich pool of talent in the DC/MD/VA area and the sheer number of productions and documentaries that we produce, it’s vital that festivals such as Annapolis thrive. They are not just a showcase for great work but are serve as an important venue for those not from te area to see the type of outstanding video work our professional  community does.

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For more info on the festival, check out the link here: http://www.annapolisfilmfestival.net/

 




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

 

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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.

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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. http://dciff-indie.org/2013-festival/2013-film-selection/narrative-features/meth-head/   Some of the other notable features include two quirky and delightfully dark comedies from the land of Canada.

The First Winterhttp://bit.ly/YQg0m0, tells the story of a Portuguese man facing the cold Canadian landscape and his past. Camera Shy, http://bit.ly/15iTU0e 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, http://bit.ly/14lntLo . Saturday night is their chills and thrills block which features banshee’s, evil twin sisters and some deadly surgery, http://bit.ly/12N1mkG  For a complete look at their film  and festival schedule, check out their page here: http://dciff-indie.org/2013-festival/2013-festival-schedule/

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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: http://dciff-indie.org/2013-festival/2943-2/ 

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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: http://dciff-indie.org/2013-festival/summit-on-the-hill/      

 

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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: http://dciff-indie.org/2013-festival/2013-festival-schedule/music/  

So as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff here. Check out their website at: http://dciff-indie.org/     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