16th Annual

Washington DC Independent Film Festival

March 04, 2016 to March 13, 2016

Add to Watchlist Qualify this Project
Film Market
Submit Online
1435 Holly Street NW
Washington DC 20012
Phone: 2023381198
filmmakers@dciff.org; dciffsubmissions@gmail.com

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

DCIFF defines Feature Films as fiction films between 41 mins and 120 mins. (we can show films that are over 2 hours). We are equally interested in the lyrical, the dramatic, the amusing, the ironic, the symbolic, the unexpected, the beautiful and conversations. We welcome fiction films in all genres. We always reserve one or two spots for our Horror Night held in honor of the important role the genre has in forwarding independent filmmakers.
Short (includes experimental)
DCIFF defines a short as a fiction film 30 minutes or less in length. However, if your film is 30 - 40 minutes in length, it will be considered. The festival welcomes all content except adult films. Experimental and art films will be programmed in the experimental category and are welcome. Please note that we are are known for holding one Fright Night Horror Film Extravaganza every year as part of the festival. If your film mixes genres, it is best to put this in the Short Category. If you are a student and you also submit a Valid Student ID, you would do best to apply through the student film category at WAB (although there is no student category when it comes to awards).
Animation has become a central part of DCIFF from 2013 going forward as it is an area of immense creativity and innovation in independent filmmaking. We welcome animation submissions from 2 minutes to 90 minutes and all genres (except adult films). The festival does not have a dedicated family or children's section and so our selection committee loves animation that appeals to the child in us all but that is not produced exclusively for children. We encourage experimental and animated art films as well as narrative animated films.
DCIFF seeks innovative documentaries on any topic. We like to take conceptual risks, we love aesthetics and we pay attention to the craft of documentary filmmaking. As we screen in Washington DC we also look for films that deal with timely issues and 2016 will see a special section dedicated to politically controversial and important topics.

The festival has generally screened at least one documentary about music each year. DCIFF normally presents about 5 feature length documentaries and up to 15 documentaries of 30 minutes in length or less. In both 2012 and 2014, documentaries won Best of Fest.

Please note that the student category is for submissions only as there is no actual student category for programming or awards at the festival. Student films are screened alongside other films. So student films may be belong to any of the other categories: feature, short, animation, documentary and experimental. The only exception to this is work created while in High School and there is now a separate category for this.

To qualify as a student film, you MUST be a CURRENT STUDENT with a Valid ID (you must submit a copy of your ID with your submission with current dates on the card). If your card does not have dates, you must submit a letter from your school or equivalent form. These can be scanned and attached to your online wtihoutabox submission.

DCIFF expects most student submissions to be shorts (up to 20 mins.) If you are submitting a feature film, you can submit this under the Features section where there is a Student Fee rate as well.
High School Students (age 18 and under)
Since 2014, DCIFF has decided to honor the incredible creativity and talent that we see in films made by filmmakers before they have left school. This separate category means that submissions are not selected against seasoned filmmakers with good equipment and oodles of experience, but are judged in a category alone and screened in a special, competitive sidebar. Attending filmmakers get to be part of the full festival however.
Out of Competition (up to 30 mins)
This year we add small non-competitive sections in the area of political and experimental films. We still require you to pay a small submission fee for this and fill in the submission form. In this case your film does not have to be completed in 2015/16. We will be looking for topics that are politically volatile, artistically cutting edge, technologically innovative and/or quite unexpected.
Out of Competition (over 30 mins)
This year we add small non-competitive sections in the area of political and experimental films. We still require you to pay a small submission fee for this and fill in the submission form. In this case your film does not have to be completed in 2015/16. We will be looking for topics that are politically volatile, artistically cutting edge, technologically innovative and/or quite unexpected.


The Washington DC Independent Film Festival (dciff-indie.org) - "The festival that brings independent film culture to Washington, DC" (Washington Post) showcases the best in independent film from around the world, with a special section devoted to Metro DC filmmakers. DCIFF presents world premieres, award-winning features, shorts, animation, experimental films and documentaries by local, national and international filmmakers. We strive to make our festival a celebration of media arts, a community event and an engaging, exciting experience for our audience at the same time as being of value to filmmakers. We are fiercely independent but welcome creative interaction with mainstream media.

The festival's goal is to help filmmakers find a place in the marketplace through effective screenings, intensive outreach online and to the traditional press, and long term support. The festival also hosts many workshops and seminars for filmmaker professional development, 2015 will be the second year of the High School Student Film Competition that is part of DCIFF. Unique to DCIFF, the Independent Film Summit on the Hill held yearly since 2006, lets filmmakers meet with government representatives to discuss the issues which specifically address our industry.

For 2015, DCIFF continues to expand the animation section of the festival to include feature-length films and the experimental and art film offerings. The festival also has a strong music component and we welcome fiction and documentary films about musicians and music. We have become known for our strong documentaries which we try to screen with a relevant panel discussion.

Films are selected through the submission process, rather than by invitation (with the exception of honorees or VIPs) or by visits to other film festivals, and are reviewed by a group of people with media experience. All films are finally viewed by the festival programmer. We hope that this makes for an equal opportunity film submission and screening process. Only after review do we decide if we wish to specifically invite any final applications. We require all films to be Metro DC premieres.

DCIFF20i6 is the festival's eighteenth year. We work with dedication to deserve filmmaker trust in our process and our event. Please note that DCIFF is a 100% volunteer-run festival and ALL submission dues go towards programming and outreach. We try to keep our submssion fees reasonable and, accordingly, we rarely offer fee waivers.


The Washington, DC Independent Film Festival (dciff.org) showcases world premieres, award winning features, shorts, animation and documentaries by local, national and international filmmakers. Of late we have honored such talents as Jorge Saralegui, Les Blank, Harry Shearer and Q'orianka Kilcher. DCIFF also presents a music festival highlighting the best of local independent sound. Founded in 1999, the Washington, DC Independent Film Festival showcases each year up to 70 features, shorts, animations, and documentaries including independent films that have won awards in renowned festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Cannes to World Premieres. We have recently developed a reputation as a strong launching pad for first feature films.

DCIFF is the only festival that brings its filmmakers to Capitol Hill to meet and discuss film related issues (crowdfunding, drone cameras, film tax laws, online music rights) with members of Congress. The Washington, DC Independent Film Festival also hosts several events with veteran independent filmmakers as well as focused professional seminars and interactive film events. Often there are "Film Sessions" (where several films and Question and Answers with the filmmakers are presented in a 2-3 hour session).

Finally, the festival partners with many organizations and institutions to assure great events: In 2015 and 2014 there were screenings at The World Bank, in 2013 there were screenings at The Washington National Cathedral and the Voice of America Building; in 2012 the festival partnered with The Smithsonin Institution. In all cases, the festival strives to assure a quality projection and sound experience for both the filmmaker and the audience.

The films compete for category-based audience awards and one Grand Jury Award. Winners receive financial and promotional support when and if available.


Deirdre Evans-Pritchard (Executive Director); joanne cassidy (counsel)


Non-refundable submission fees: if not paying online via credit card, please make your checks or money orders, (or International money orders, for foreign countries) payable to: DC Independent Film Festival,. Your submission will be marked as in consideration once we have received payment and your submission copy.

Checklist for the submissions to the DCIFF (these materials will NOT be returned):

* Completed online entry form.
* Non-refundable entry fee
* Properly labeled DVD or Blu-Ray(on the box and the disc itself) with WAB Tracking ID, title of the film, name of the director and length.
*Although a full press kit is not necessary, we do request the following elements with your entry form:

1) jpeg photo of production.
2) jpeg photo of the director.
3) Director's bio.

In the Withoutabox Cover Letter Section, please indicate if you have sent the required elements via email to filmmakers@dciff.org (please write the film title in the subject line of the e-mail) or if these elements are available in your Withoutabox online Press Kit (free and easy to use!).

Thank you.

You MUST be a DCIFF Alum (meaning that your film had been accepted and screened at a previous DC Independent Film Festival) in order to qualify for the No Entry Fee for Earlybird submission and the discounted fee for regular submission for all DCIFF Alumni. Please email the year your film screened and the title to dciffsubmissions@gmail.com, otherwise your film will not be put into consideration and reviewed.

By submitting to the festival, the filmmaker(s) acknowledges that no film accepted for screening in competition at DCIFF may be withdrawn without the express written permission of DCIFF given in DCIFF sole discretion. There are no exceptions to this rule even in the case of technical issues. In the event a screening print is not delivered, DCIFF reserves the right to screen publicly the DVD or VHS submission. This being said, we hope and expect to resolve all and any issues without incident with you, the filmmakers.

Thank you submitting to DCIFF 2015

Keywords: DC, Indie, DC Indie Film Fest, DC Independent


Legal Information
Terms of Submission

* I am authorized to submit this film to the DC Independent Film Festival for consideration and have read, understood and agreed to all entry requirements.
* I release DCIFF from all responsibility for any and all film loss or damage.
* All of the above information and statements are accurate. I promise to contact DCIFF immediately regarding any changes to the information above, including Premiere status of my film or exhibition format. Failure to provide complete and updated information or failure to submit an exhibition copy of my film by the communicated deadlines may cause the elimination of my film from competition.
* All rights and permissions are in place for my submission (it is the sole responsibility of the applicant to obtain any and all necessary rights and permissions).
* By submitting my film for consideration, I grant permission to DCIFF to use any portion of my film and related materials for promotion in all media, including DCIFF catalogues, flyers, posters and the DCIFF website.
* I am DULY authorized to submit this film to the DC Independent Film Festival and its competition ("DCIFF") and I have read, understood and agreed to all entry requirements.
* I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE that IF THIS FILM IS ACCEPTED for screening in competition at the DCIFF and once it has been programmed online that this film MAY NOT BE WITHDRAWN WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE DCIFF. THE DCIFF RESERVES SOLE DISCRETION TO SCREEN THIS AND ALL FILMS ACCEPTED TO COMPETITION. There are no exceptions to this rule even in the case of technical issues. In the event that a screening print of this film is not TIMELY delivered, DCIFF reserves the right to screen publicly the VHS or DVD submission tape..
* I understand that if this film is accepted in competition, DCIFF will check to see if it is available to the general public online for free. If DCIFF finds that it is available online for free then DCIFF will request that the film be removed until after the film is screened at DCIFF. If the film is not removed as requested, DCIFF reserves the right to remove the film from competition.
This being said we hope to work with filmmakers to resolve all issues. Thank you.