Importance of the Peers

Peer Awards

Honors in the DC video production community don’t get much bigger than the annual TIVA Peer Awards. These awards, which have been around since 1997, pay tribute to excellence in local media and are one of the most sought-after awards in the area. Every November the TIVA community comes together at the National Press Club to give out this honor in a variety of different categories. Some of the categories include best independent short, best music video, best documentary and best children’s program. This year brings the addition of a few new categories, such as government production, foreign language  and for one year only, a special Docs in Progress category, proudly sponsored by Word Wizards Inc. The winner will receive a $500 cash prize.

The Peer Promise Competition

Since TIVA recognizes that it’s important to help pave the way for the next generation of great film and media makers, it created the Peer Promise Competition. This special category is the high school component of the Peer Awards, where students are invited to enter their individual or class media projects in film and video. These projects are then judged on the basis of their creativity while being compared to other schools in the DC, Virginia and Maryland region. These students may be awarded a certificate of merit for their work, or even be chosen as one of three regional finalists who are invited to the awards with the winner receiving a gold award while the other receive a silver and a bronze. The best thing about the Peer Promise competition is that its absolutely free to enter, so there is absolutely no reason for future filmmakers not to put their best work forward.
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Backstory and Details

The awards were started by the former Washington Film and Video Council way back in 1997 before merging with the ITVA-DC Video Festival. The three levels of awards for each category are silver, bronze and gold. The gold winner receives a trophy to take home while silver and bronze winners receive a foil-embossed certificate and the option to order a trophy if they wish. While the early-bird deadline for submission just ended, there’s still plenty of time for film and video makers to get their work in by the regular deadline of June 30th. Entries will still be accepted up to July 31, but a late fee will apply. The full list of entrance prices and fees can be found on the awards Q&A page. Video professionals can register on the online portal. There is a two-year eligibility window for entries: this year the window is between June 30, 2011 and June 30, 2013.

 A Community Comes Together

As someone who has volunteered to help at the past two peer award ceremonies, I can honestly say it is a truly memorable evening. It is one of the few times a year that the DC Metro Area production community comes together to really celebrate one another. Everyone is there supporting the impressive body of work on display, and to win of course, in a very sympathetic and celebratory atmosphere. Its a time for people to reconnect with each other and catch up about their lives, as well as past and future projects. Of course the awards themselves are special since its the DC film-and-video community congratulating their best and brightest. The fact that peers and fellow media/production professionals are the ones voting makes these awards incredibly unique and personal.

 

 

 




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/