Through the Mentors project, we encourage independent filmmakers to develop the skills to create outstanding media projects. Taught by film professionals and peers, these interactive sessions are designed to build upon one another, developing the skills needed to better compete in the crowded field of filmmakers.

All workshops take place at Arlington Independent Media, 2701-C Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA 22201, three blocks from Court House or Clarendon Metro stations (orange/silver)

Mentors is presented by Arlington Independent Media, Women in Film and Video, and DC Shorts. Mentors is supported by the Gem Star Foundation.

These workshops are designed for filmmakers of all skill levels — from novices to seasoned professionals.


Film begins and ends with the story. Yet for many filmmakers, crafting a succinct tale is often the most difficult part of the process. During this session, filmmakers will learn techniques from local storytellers. Then, participants interact with area improv comedy performers to learn how on-the-fly changes can strengthen the final concept.

In the second half of the day, participants will work hear tips and techniques from local writers on how to translate their story into a fully-realized screenplay.

 March 14: PRODUCTION (Camera, Lighting & Producing) 

Producing is much more than tracking expenses. Learn from professional producers with local and national credits about what they really do to make find money, make their investors happy, negotiate spaces and equipment, work with the unions — and keep the director true to his/her vision.

Visuals and sound are key to a quality film. First, meet area DPs and lighting designers operators and learn special techniques to ensure that your shot is well framed, in focus — and at an exposure which will make for easier color correction. Learn to shoot under low-light, direct sun and other difficult conditions, and how to use a small light kit to improve any shot. Learn from sound professionals the tips and tricks to obtain the a solid sound recording, why ADR is a myth, and ways to salvage what went wrong.

March 21: POST-PRODUCTION (Editing & SFX)

Watch and learn the intricacies of the art of editing from true masters. All participants will follow along using Final Cut workstations (provided). The second half of the day will concentrate on SFX and compositing techniques to bring life to your project — and learn when too much starts to degrade the story.

This program repeats on March 22 to accommodate as many participants as possible.


The film is finished: now what?! Hear about the fast-changing distribution channels and how to prepare for all possible avenues available to screen your project.

The effective marketing of your film is an essential part of the creative process, yet one often overlooked. Filmmakers of every skill level will gain a thorough understanding of how to create effective and targeted promotional print, guerrilla and social media campaigns — for little cost.

Most independent films find an audience through the film festival circuit. Learn why a planned festival strategy will save money in the long-run, and how to find, research and apply to festivals worldwide. The session concludes with a Q&A panel with local festival directors — ask any question and learn what really happens in the programming room.

Registration begins in late January. All sessions are $75.

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