The DC Independent Film Forum returns to the Landmark E Street Cinema downtown

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Prestige Hollywood pictures are competing in the race for the Oscars, while “The Batman” is set to become a blockbuster this weekend, but what if you want something under the radar? The DC Independent Film Forum returns this week to screen 43 short and feature films.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley gives an overview of the DC Independent Film Forum (Part 1)

Prestige Hollywood pictures are competing in the race for the Oscars, while “The Batman” is set to become a blockbuster this weekend, but what if you want something under the radar?

the DC Independent Film Forum returns this week to screen 43 short and feature films.

“It started in 1999 to fill what was seen as a need at the time for films that weren’t yet mainstream to have a chance to be out there,” the director said. Executive Deirdre Evans-Pritchard at WTOP. “It was really the original idea and his job was also to help local filmmakers start having a chance to see their work.”

This year’s event will take place Wednesday to Sunday at the Landmark E Street Cinema.

“Last year we tried the hybrid version and it was extremely difficult,” said Evans-Pritchard. “This year things opened up and the Landmark E Street Cinema [has] gave us the space for the whole festival which is ideal. … Many of our filmmakers will be able to meet and greet and be there for conversations with the public.

Opening night is “My Childhood, My Country” by Phil Grabsky and Shoaib Sharifi.

“The film is very powerful because it covers 20 whole years of someone’s life. [in Afghanistan]said Evans-Pritchard. “You see him pass Russian tanks, you see him pass American tanks, you see him live for a while in a cave next to the famous Buddhist statue in Bamiyan which was destroyed by the Taliban.”

Thursday offers something much lighter with “Bootyology” featuring Brian Austin Green.

“It’s just one laugh a minute…to make us feel like we’re moving into a space where there are no more problems, except that we can’t find The Booty Boys! ” said Evans-Pritchard. “[They] are a rap group that… in the movie, they’re a lost cause. … We call it a mockumentary made in a documentary style if you remember “This is Spinal Tap!”

Friday brings “Living in Delusionville” directed by Constant van Hoeven.

“Ron English is a fairly well-known muralist across the country, famous for his slightly iconic style; he plays in emojis and smileys and does a lot of commentary on society and culture,” Evans-Pritchard said. “It’s the first major documentary about his life. … Ron English is coming to town to paint a mural [at the 14th Street Graffiti Museum].”

Saturday brings the “Amazing Animation” short program filled with animated shorts.

“It’s easy to see animation as…designed for your kids, but it’s not always easy to see these short, really creative, thought-provoking animations. [animated films]said Evans-Pritchard. “We have a collection from around the world of really interesting formats. Some are made with tiny little models, some are made with stop animation, some are drawn, some are computer.

Sunday book “Soul of a Beast” by Swiss director Lorenz Merz.

“He’s one of those ‘filmmakers to watch,’ as they say,” Evans-Pritchard said. “The way it’s been made is a very quick, youthful, energetic, quirky, slightly witty love story that doesn’t quite work. He’s noted in Europe as an up-and-coming director, so we’re glad we’re only its second showing in the US.

It all ends on Sunday with the romantic comedy “Americanish” directed by Iman Zawahry.

“It’s the Muslim version of ‘Coming to America,'” Evans-Pritchard said. “They arrive in New York and they face the same problems. It’s a love story, it’s a romantic comedy, it’s delicious, and it’s directed entirely by a team of Muslim American female directors.

Ultimately, it’s about the festival experience of coming together in person.

“What’s different about sitting at home and watching something on Netflix…is that we bring the filmmakers to the events,” Evans-Pritchard said. “You have the opportunity to not only watch the films, but also to understand how they were made, what motivated the filmmaker, how his career is going, who he knows in Hollywood.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley Previews the DC Independent Film Forum (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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