Indie films come to D.C.

Big names in American movies today from Martin Scorsese to Steven Spielberg to Wes Anderson have roots in independent film productions.

Just two years ago, indie movies became the two biggest sleeper hits of the summer: “Garden State” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” Looking at this year’s roster of nominees for best picture at the Oscars, one won’t find big-budget studio fare such as “Stealth,” but rather smaller productions such as”Brokeback Mountain” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

Luckily, D.C. residents don’t have to live in Los Angeles or New York or fly to Sundance or Cannes to see what’s new in independent film. The annual D.C. Independent Film Festival, beginning today and ending March 12, provides a forum for filmmakers and film enthusiasts right here in the District.

Taking place at the Avalon Theatre, the Goethe Institute and other locations around the city, the festival has for seven years encouraged D.C. citizens to, as founder and Executive Director Carol Bidault put it, in a news release “think outside the box.”

In pursuing this, the festival provides distinct programs for each day of the event including animation, shorts, documentaries and features, all with question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers. Young indie filmmakers can network with industry professionals who can help get their films distributed at the festival’s trade show.

This year, attention-getting titles include “I Love Your Work,” a psychological drama about obsession with fame written and directed by Adam Goldberg (“Saving Private Ryan,” “The Hebrew Hammer”) and starring Giovanni Ribisi, Joshua Jackson and Christina Ricci.

A documentary called “An Impression: Dischord Records” chronicles the story of the titular D.C. music label that brought the world bands Minor Threat, Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi and Q and Not U.

In the end, Bidault writes in a news release, the festival’s mission is simple. “If we have done our jobs right,” she said, “you will find that these films will amaze, provoke, delight, disturb, but never leave you bored.”

More information on locations and scheduling for the D.C. Independent Film Festival can be found on its Web site,

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