After 7 seasons, 100+ short screenplays read, and 200+ films programmed, DCFF has met an immense amount of visionary filmmakers, artists and writers. As we look forward to our 8th annual festival (February 26 – March 7, 2021), we’d also like to check in with some of our alumni. This is our tenth installment of “DCFF Alumni: Where Are They Now?” Please check back for future updates and news about our filmmakers and writers.
Ben-Alex Dupris – 2020 DCFF Director, Sweetheart Dancers
Director Ben-Alex Dupris is an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State, where he grew up. His work continues to push boundaries of traditionalism and modernity while challenging perspectives on Indigenous concepts.
His directorial debut, Sweetheart Dancers, follows a Two-Spirit couple determined to participate in the “Sweetheart Dance.” The film screened at numerous festivals, including DCFF, and won the Grand Jury for Best Short Film at Outfest LA in 2019.
Dupris’s latest work includes the animated short Sister Wolves and documentary short Bunky Echo-Hawk: The Resistance. Sister Wolves was released under Filmdigenous – Dupris’s film company co-founded with James Pakootas – and explores the “paradoxical relationship between wolves, deer, and Indigenous people as it was passed down since time immemorial.” The film received a nomination for Best Animated Short at the 2020 American Indian Film Festival. Bunky Echo-Hawk: The Resistance aired on PBS as part of the broadcaster’s “American Masters” series. The film profiles Bunky Echo-Hawk, a Pawnee visual artist whose work ignites discussion on environmentalism and Native American resistance.
In addition to directing, Dupris has produced several first-time Indigenous filmmakers and two new projects for Vision Maker Media in 2021.
Keep up with Ben-Alex Dupris here.
Asher Jelinsky – 2020 DCFF Director, Miller & Son
Asher Jelinsky is a Los Angeles-based writer/director whose short films have garnered awards and nominations at over 70 film festivals, including DCFF’s 1st Prize Storyteller’s Award in 2020 for Miller & Son.
Miller & Son, which follows a trans woman mechanic who lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night, was also shortlisted for the 92nd Academy Awards and won the gold medal Student Academy Award, the BAFTA Student Film Award, and the Cannes Lions Young Director Award.
Jelinsky is currently developing their upcoming feature film Julian, which was awarded a $25,000 screenwriting grant by SFFILM. Julian focuses on a young nonbinary person struggling to assert their identity while falling in love with an older trans man.
Learn more about Asher Jelinsky here.
Part of the non-profit Destiny City Film Festival’s mission is to engage filmmakers, writers, and film-goers through shared experience and storytelling. These connections make our community stronger, and our filmmakers and writers make these experiences possible.
If you’d like to support our mission, your financial investment can help bring these special guests to our City of Destiny. Please review the many opportunities to contribute to Tacoma’s premiere celebration of cinematic storytelling.