In Person Festival returns January 25-29, 2023 

The DBFF Institute

A platform for filmmakers & creatives

The Denton Black Film Festival has launched a space for both aspiring and established creatives to connect with one another, expand their artistic skillsets and transform into the next generation of film talent. The DBFF Institute will serve as year-round clearinghouse for creatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Texas and the Southwest, nurturing, inspiring and fostering the development of current and future diverse storytellers via information, educational and interactive workshops, salons and seminars. Learn more. 

Denton Black Film Festival to Start Institute for Creatives

Creatives Talk at Festival Networking MixerThe DBFF Institute nurtures, inspires, and fosters the development of current and future diverse storytellers.

We provide experienced and aspiring filmmakers with information, educational and interactive workshops and seminars during the festival and throughout the year.

“What we’ve learned over the past five years is that there are so many creative and talented people in this area who are striving to transform their ideas about writing, producing, shooting and directing their own films, but just don’t know where to get help,” says Eboni Johnson, director of the Institute. Agatha Beins is the assistant director. “The Institute is aspiring to become that resource to convert these ideas into reality.”

Here’s what we do:

– Provide year-round programming to assist filmmakers and all those affiliated with the creative process – script writers, screenplay writers, cinematographers, producers and directors.
– Serve as a forum for creatives to exchange ideas, brainstorm, collaborate and find opportunities.
– Establish partnerships with industry partners to support these creatives in all aspects of the process.
– Showcase talent, expertise and technology to further the craft of filmmaking.

Two Women Talk at Filmmaker MixerLast year, the Denton Black Film Festival previewed some of the institute’s work, including:

• Social Justice – An invitation-only Workshop on “Bias”
* 2 Panels: Mental Health and Human Trafficking

• Creative Resource Expo (wonderful offering with various business, and orgs. Who work with Creatives/Filmmakers)
* The Expo also includes two panels: Intellectual Property and Marketing as An Independent Filmmaker

• Four Workshops:
* How to Independently Distribute Your Films
* What a Producer Does
* Screening and Discussion w/ Michael Dennis from Reelblack on “Black Cinema”
* A Young Filmmaker Focus Group with facilitators from Ghetto Film School in New York.

• Panel and Networking event for Women: Women, Wine and Wisdom

For more information about the DBFF Institute, visit www.DentonBFF.com or contact Alexis Bolden, Director of Marketing at dbffcommunications@gmail.com.


About DBFF Institute
Th DBFF Institute is essential to help foster a community of creatives who are all around us. These individuals are driven to write, script, produce, shoot, edit and distribute stories that reflect people, events and institutions in the communities in which they live. These individuals produce work that sometimes reflect the harsh reality of life, death and dying. They sometime capture the imagination and fantasy of worlds yet to be found. What all these creatives want and need is knowledge, skill and resources – financial and human. They need money access to money to buy or lease cameras, lighting and software or hire actors or rent venues. They need access to people who can help them produce, shoot, edit and distribute their films. They need a community where they can find the support, the inspiration and tools to succeed.

The DBFF Institute relies on the financial support of the lovers of the cultural arts who, like us, profoundly believe that it is vitally necessary to preserve, share and invest in storytellers looking to create, produce and share stories about their communities, their culture and their heritage. It will seek out partners who recognize that culture is the essential fabric that strengthens the world around us.



Neil Foote


Location: UNT on the Square

Friday, January 24

2-3pm – Enhance Your Films with 2D Animation Workshop

This workshop will teach filmmakers with varying experience how to spice up their films by incorporating 2D animation and effects into their film projects. No experience necessary. Workshop instructed by David Heredia.


4-5pm – Grantwriting Workshop

Michael Thielvoldt, Program Manager of Filmmaker Resources at the Austin Film Society, is hosting a grant-writing workshop for filmmakers. This workshop looks at the AFS Grant to illustrate how to build a quality grant application, explore how grant reviewers evaluate applicant projects, and provide other best practice recommendations that can be universally applied to your grant writing.


Saturday, January 25

10am-12pm Art of Pitching Workshop with Seed and Spark

Before we get to tell our stories, we have to learn how to tell the story about our stories. Knowing how to convey the specifics about your upcoming project in a dynamic, succinct way can land you not only investors, but collaborators, audience members, and more. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn what makes a good pitch, how to tailor to different audiences, why you should research, and why practice is perfect. Workshop instructed by Christina Raia.


1:30-3:30pm – The Distribution Down Low w/ Seed & Spark

Distribution is one of the most mysterious and misunderstood topics for independent creators. We break down distribution tips, tactics, and, most importantly, the economics for every window from theatrical through VOD and beyond. Workshop instructed by Christina Raia.


1:30-3:30pm – The Distribution Down Low w/ Seed & Spark

Distribution is one of the most mysterious and misunderstood topics for independent creators. We break down distribution tips, tactics and, most importantly, the economics–from theatrical through VOD and beyond. Workshop instructed by Christina Raia.


Location: NCTC Building

Saturday, January 25

10:30-11:30am – The Art of the Short Film (Room 109)

A short film is not just a mini version of a feature-length film but a form in and of itself, telling a complete story in a product that may run from a few minutes to around half an hour. This panel of filmmakers explores the unique qualities of short films as well as why creatives should embrace this genre. Attendees will also gain insight into different dimensions of developing, creating, and editing a short film and benefit from practical advice about production strategies.

Panelists include Calvin Walker, Jacolby Percy, Lizette Barrera, Kameishia Wooten. Moderated by Vaun Monroe.


1:30-3pm – (Intro to Freelancing) 8 Essential Qualities of a Successful

Freelancer + 50 Killer Marketing Techniques (Room 109)

Intro to Freelancing: Filmmakers who are looking to monetize their videography skills will get a general introduction to what it means to run a freelance business. Topics will include some of the pros and cons of the life of a freelancer, creating opportunities for yourself, identifying who your clients are and specifically what services you have to offer, whether you’re pursuing a side hustle, part-time gig, or full-time endeavor. This class will also cover 8 essential habits of

a successful freelance artist.


50 Killer Marketing Techniques:The lifeline of businesses resides in their ability to continuously market themselves and their products or services. Attendees will learn 51 clever ways to market themselves, products or services to prospective clients for little to no cost. Both workshops instructed by David Heredia.


1-2:30pm – Savages, Servants and Specialty Acts Screening and Discussion (Room 111)

(2020 – Work-In-Progress Premiere) “Slavery never ended. It is time we break the chains!”

While the physical enslavement of Africans may have been abolished in the United States in 1865, the mental enslavement of Blacks worldwide continues. Savages, Servants and Specialty Acts demonstrates how Black Identity is largely dictated by The White Imagination. Using rare film clips and archival footage, film historian Charles Woods demonstrates how we were indoctrinated into a belief system of White Supremacy and Black Inferiority through the use of the motion picture and perpetuates itself in all mass media. From the Tarzan movies of the 1930s to Black Panther and Queen & Slim, the subversive tricks still exist—even when Black filmmakers are in control. Discussion facilitated by Michael J. Dennis.


4:30-6pm – Social Responsibility of Media Makers Panel (Room 212)

As filmmakers, we are privileged with the gift of storytelling, to break down barriers and connect individuals through the power of film. In using that gift, what role do we play in representing the people and stories around us? Do we have a responsibility to showcase certain issues in our communities, and if so, how do we do so ethically and respectfully? This panel will be a discussion about how creatives can be activists in filmmaking and the ways art mediates social and political issues in our society. Panelists include Christina Raia, Tia Williams, David Heredia, Deborah Riley Draper, and Loki Mulholland. Moderated by Rebecca Aguilar.


Meet the Institute Team

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