The Sundance Film Festival used to be where cinematic up-and-comers up and went. Now Sundance is a celebrity-filled meet-and-greet with more knowns than unknowns. Still, any indie filmmaker would kill to get in, and the D.C. Independent Film Festival wants to help.

“We do a lot of young filmmakers who are on their way to Sundance, is how we think of it,” says Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, executive director of DCIFF.

With new-ish avenues like iTunes and video on demand, film festivals are no longer the only place filmgoers can see indies that haven’t yet gotten theatrical distribution. To keep DCIFF — now in its 15th year — relevant, Evans-Pritchard says, “Now our mission is to support the filmmaker.” The festival functions, in part, as kind of a convention for indie directors, with networking events and professional development.

That’s not to say it isn’t about the movies anymore. “We entertain by extension,” Evans-Pritchard says. “We have great films and independent music and happy hours and events, but that’s all because of the quality of the filmmakers we attract.”

Are you listening, Sundance?

Highlight Reel

Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, executive director of the D.C. Independent Film Festival, picks some of her favorite movies in this year’s fest:


“Camera Shy” is a Canadian comedy getting its East Coast premiere. A corrupt politician discovers a cameraman is filming him. All the time. And he doesn’t know why. U.S. Navy Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Sat., 7:30 p.m., $12; (Archives)


“Hard Shoulder” is an English film about a family vacation that goes horribly wrong. “It’s a thriller slightly on the edge of horror,” Evans-Pritchard says. U.S. Navy Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Fri., 9:30 p.m., $12; (Archives)


“Let There be Light” follows two artists as they complete their final window for the National Cathedral. The doc’s screening will be held at the cathedral, with director Peter Swanson and artist Rowan LeCompte in attendance. Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW; Fri., 7:30 p.m., $22; (Archives)


“Shouting Secrets,” set on a Native American reservation, is about the members of a dysfunctional family finding their way back to one another. It’s a universal story, since everyone’s clan is a little screwy. U.S. Navy Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Sun., 7:30 p.m., $15; (Archives)