MC: How and when did you get started with the whole concept of doing the World Music and Independent Film Festival (WMIFF)?
JD: 2009 is when I started working on the creation of World Music & Independent Film Festival. My mission and objective is to create a platform not only to the DC, Maryland, and Virginia Indie – filmmakers, but to also provide a platform of achievements for international cinema artists. Dedicated to building a global film community and supporting emerging filmmakers
MC: How did you come up with the name?
JD: Most of the Festival around the World has some type of genres or specific type of festival that they are focusing on. I wanted to have a combination of Oscar/Grammy type of awarding for indie artists.
MC: When does planning begin for each year’s event?
JD: The Festival runs for the entire week starting on the second Sunday of August, screening of the top officially selected films and the gala and awarding is always on the third Saturday in August. Planning for the next year begins immediately afterward.
MC: How do you fund it? JD: I spend my own money to fund the festival every year. Most of the businesses are just doing cross promotion with the festival. Hopefully, this year we can get sponsors.
MC: What are the challenges of doing a festival like this?
JD: In our first annual festival (2010), we had about 100 films submitted from 17 Countries and in 2012, over 300 films and music videos were submitted from 32 Countries. This year I opened more categories and added a short and feature screenplay contest, so my biggest challenge is getting more credible judges to help out in watching and voting for the best films and music videos.
MC: How do you expect the WMIFF to evolve in the years ahead? JD: I will be looking for a few partners this year to help me fund and run the festival, so I think the festival will grow much bigger in the years ahead.
MC: What were the highlights of this year’s event? Any lessons learned? JD: We have few more well-known artist who participated in this year’s festival, and we finished the gala and awarding on time. I will be looking for a much larger and accessible venue next year.
MC: There is a real international flavor to the event. Will that continue to grow in the years ahead?
JD: I will be opening more categories next year, so the amount of submissions next year will probably triple.
MC: It’s not easy to put on a show like this. You can’t possibly please everyone. How do you handle your critics? JD: I rather focus my energy on positive feedback and continue to try to make the right decisions and focus on the mission and objective of the festival.
MC: Are you planning any large changes in the show beginning next year?
JD: I was invited to run the gala in Los Angeles and also in New York, but all of that will depend on how many submissions come in locally. I want the festival to travel around just like the Olympics, so if I have more local submissions from any bigger cities, it will make more sense to run the festival from those locations. Local support is key to a film festival like this.
MC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from this year’s festival?
JD: I haven’t heard any negative feedback so far, so I guess the majority of the attendees are happy with the festival.
MC: What a tremendous, incredible, fantastic program you provided for all! It was a spectacular luncheon, awards presentation, and entertainment and everything was well organized! Thank you June for all your hard work to honor the local and international film community. It was exciting to see all the diverse film and musical talents come together at the WMIFF!