New Projects!

Hey everyone!

It’s Wednesday which means we’re half-way through the week. SO AWESOME! We’re also approaching Memorial Day weekend, which is a 3-day weekend for many of us, again, AWESOME! We hope everyone is enjoying the kiss of spring (well…except allergies!). Over here at DC Web Fest, we’ve got a lot of cool, new things happening and we’re excited to share with you!

This summer, we’ll be spending most of our time working on two projects: HardDCcore, an upcoming series about a group of teens who find themselves amidst the emergence of DC’s punk rock scene during the early 80s; and a podcast that revolves around the effects of toxic cultures on womxn - from microaggressions to mental health. If you follow us on social (which you should!), you know we did a few story polls requesting help with a name for the podcast. Here are a few names that were in the run: “Well I Didn’t See It…”, “Out of Control”, “Conversations with Hysterical Womxn”, “Don’t Be Hysterical”, and “Stop the Hysteria”. Out these names, the winner is…..”WELL I DIDN’T SEE IT…”!!!!!

We’re expanding our team with brilliant, local creatives who can help us bring these projects to life in the BEST possible ways. Keep an eye on our website redesign as we add project clips and teasers. We’re excited about this and we hope that you are too!

Remember, keep creating. The world needs it.

Peace & Love.

Name reveal cake!

Name reveal cake!

More DC Web Fest 7 Photos & Videos!



It’s hard to believe that it has been over two weeks since the fun and festivities of the 7th annual DC Web Fest! Time surely flies when you’re having fun. We just wanted to let you all know that we are working away at our website redesign!

We’ve added dozens of new photos to our recap gallery, so be sure to head on over to check them out! Along with photos, we captured various memorable moments with loads of video footage and we’ll have trailers, reels, etc. for you to enjoy very soon, so be sure to keep an eye on our website and follow us @DCWebFest over IG, Twitter, and Facebook

Also, don’t forget to share and repost your favorite DC Web fest 7 moments on IG, Twitter, and Facebook with hashtags:






Much peace and love.

Guest Blog! @daynasays_xo

Photo credit: Suzanne Fladung (@wellaforma)

Photo credit: Suzanne Fladung (@wellaforma)

In the past three years, the most valuable lesson I have learned is the importance of self-care. As a creative person, I constantly have a wellspring of ideas that I can’t wait to put on paper. The problem is, when I started each of those projects, I left very little time for myself. I started Color Story Magazine in the summer of 2016, with ambitious plans to design and publish my own magazine once a month. As I got started, I realized that even with my optimism and resilience, this was impossible. Working full-time, being a full-time journalism student, spending time with family and friends, doing freelance makeup, and starting a magazine seemed to sound insane to everyone but me. I took pride in juggling each commitment and giving each one equal attention—until I burned out. I mean like ugly cry, ruin your mascara in the car, burnout. Not the best time for a selfie, right? 


As an older millennial, I can appreciate the warm fuzziness of a handwritten letter and the ability to send someone a quick email. I understand the balance of powering through life and also slowing down to observe my surroundings. This sense of balance gives me an edge in the creative field, because I’m able to connect with audiences of all ages. As technology evolves however, so do stress levels. In the fabulous book “Burnout” by Nagoski sisters Emily and Amelia, I found comfort in reading that stress is a cycle. As millennials, there is so much expected from us on a daily basis—and it almost always results in burnout. As a creative from any generation, when we produce something that everyone seems to love, we feel pressured to make more—and fast. How can we make the cycle of stress easier to manage? After three years in DC, I found the answer. 


When I met Otessa Ghadar, I knew she would be someone who would be in my life for years to come. Being resilient Taurean women, we have a similar work ethic and tend to think we are immune to burnout, when the truth is; we need to take breaks too. DC Webfest opened an entire network of possibilities for me, and introduced me to a sea of new people and ideas. When I spoke with Otessa about the 2019 DC Web Fest, she said, “I think the theme of the year for me is DC as a creative/cultural destination…and how to improve the connections between creators. That’s what this 7th year is meant to do—to build that creative connective tissue; so we all have more support and know who is there for us and we can mutually uplift.” I couldn’t help but smile, because as good as that sounds, the reality of it is even better. 


Through this amazing network of individuals, I have learned that it is okay to ask for help. No one person can do everything, and if you can, then you aren’t dreaming big enough. I now have a family of photographers, journalists, designers, filmmakers, stylists, makeup artists, illustrators, copy editors, podcasters, and small business owners to reach out to whenever I need them. While Color Story submissions came from all over the world, the heart of the first two issues beats as a result of the hard work from my fellow DC creatives. During the 7th Annual DC Web Fest fireside chat, Otessa asked us, the panelists, “How can we help you?” I found so much irony in her question, as she and her entire team have helped me so much already. My magazine started as a response to a void in the media, evolved into something tangible, and for the first time, I was a panelist at an event I truly believe in—speaking about something that means something to me. Sure, I did the work, but DC Web Fest had my back. Surround yourself with people who get it, and things will become so much easier. Stress is inevitable, but with a strong creative family like this one, it is nearly impossible to burn out—we just burn too damn bright. 


Dayna Hood, Teacher & Beauty Editor 


DC Web Fest, Edition 7: Feel the Energy!


So can you believe its spring already? Where in the world is time going? Seems like we were just bringing in the year yesterday.

Anyhow, everything is blossoming and the weather is breaking. The 7th annual DC Web Fest is just a few weeks away and we couldn’t be more excited!

Early bird tickets are up now, so make sure to grab them, as we anticipate selling out. We don't want you to miss out on the incredible offerings we have this year, at "The Indie Webbys" :)

Here's how the party will flow ~

On Friday, April 12th, feel the energy as we kick off the festival at Google. Feed your brain and your body!

  • Fuel up with some KIND snack bars provided by our KIND snacks sponsor.

  • Break the ice by participating in a fun people scavenger hunt.

  • Enjoy games and VR created right here in the nation's capital by fellow Washingtonians like Joey Cathey of Capital Interactive (who has done work for Discovery) and Shayna Skolnik of Navteca (who has done work for NASA).

  • Gain new skills and become more competitive in the marketplace by nerding out at one of the two General Assembly sponsored courses:

    • Digital Market  

    • UX Design

  • For our creatives, some of the DC Web Fest team players have decided to offer pro bono creative consultations, so bring your work if you'd like some constructive criticism. While you're at it, get a FREE professional headshot by one of our talented DC Web Fest photographers.

  • To wrap up at Google, Creative Control will be providing you with pro bono legal counseling on IP law so you can know your rights as a creator and take control over your work (sign up and secure your spot here!). 

Oh! Google has dope food, so don't worry, we'll feed you :) Also, our snack sponsor, KIND snacks, will KINDLY provide plenty of sweet treats to keep you ENERGIZED throughout the day.

For Friday evening we'll migrate on over to Mindspace for international night.

Kick back and enjoy a plethora of international web series over Australian wine (provided by the Embassy of Australia DC) and dinner brought to you by Broccoli Bar.

We'll end the night chatting with our international web fest friends, creators and curators, followed by another fun people scavenger hunt and gift card giveaway.

Sleep. Eat. Repeat @ MakeOffices Glover Park on Saturday, April 13th. 

  • Get your energy going with some more KIND snack bars and tasty, locally brewed Kombucha brought to you by Wild Kombucha.

  • Bring your listening ears for our podcast listening booth and fireside chats with our podcast, writing, social impact, and digital art folks. 

  • Amazon Web Services Educate is coming through to exclusively offer educators and students with cloud training along with AWS credits.

    • Sign up here and use promo code dcwebfest-students19 - NOTE: you will be required to use your academic email. 

  • Sweetgreen will be providing dinner to select ticket holders, order instructions will be provided upon ticket purchase.

For the first time ever, DC Web Fest x Discovery Education x the USC Shoah Foundation have partnered to uplift the Teaching with Testimony: Stronger than Hate Challenge, where students identify and address the issue of hate in their schools and community.

The festival will conclude with an award ceremony and closing party featuring Australian wine, beer, and champagne (provided by the Embassy of Australia DC) and a cash bar.

For the extreme party heads, head on over to Decades nightclub for the unofficial afterparty. 

Then sleep. Eat. Reflect. 

Tickets and spots are limited 
and we do anticipate selling out. We feel very strongly about keeping our event closely curated, as we want to create an experience that facilitates connections. Having been to too many conferences with 1000+ attendees, we have found that it is not easy to make organic and deep connections with other people in the circumstances. The DC Web Fest is an event that is meant to inspire collaborations, connections, and creation, and to bolster and uplift everyone together… And we feel the human element is so important to our mission. The digital age works best when we use it to connect with people. So, get your tickets! We are @DCWebFest across all social platforms and our website is, so check out the attached fliers and feel free to share! 

Lastly, if you're in need of a place to stay, our official hotel partner, Hyatt Place (US Capital) is offering a great group rate for DC Web Fest guests, so take advantage by booking below:

See you in a few weeks!

Much peace and love.

Tomorrow = Last day for regular submission rates for DC Web Fest 7!

Hurry up to get that regular submission rate!

Hurry up to get that regular submission rate!

Time is flying! Thanksgiving has passed us by and we are less than a month away from Christmas! So crazy. Over here at DC Web Fest, we want to make sure that you save some bucks by submitting before the regular submission rate ends TOMORROW!

The thing we love most about the content we receive is the diversity and authenticity. We get a little bit of everything, from content produced right here in DC to stories produced in Iran and various other parts of the world. We’re looking for the BEST of indie web series, digital shorts, trailers, podcasts, VR/AR, games, apps, blogs, and scripts. So if you’re making amazing digital media- we want to see it!

We all have stories. What’s yours? Head on over and submit!

Peace & Love.

DC Web Fest @ Rewind by Decades

Lunch was LIT yesterday maaaan! No seriously…Otessa had previously visited Rewind by Decades (a fabulous diner serving up the tastiest classics and comfort foods) and she told us about this unicorn waffle.

Photo credit: Diana Eaton

Photo credit: Diana Eaton

WHEN I TELL YOU that was the BEST waffle I have EVER eaten in my entire LIFE. I know, I know. The thought of waffles and ice cream may seem repugnant but once you try it, you’ll be hooked. The next time you’re in the Dupont area, come through and give it a try!

Anyways, we didn’t meet for waffles- that was just an awesome byproduct of meeting at lunchtime. We actually went to meet up with DC Web Fest advisory board member and friend, Marcus Dowling. If you know Marcus, you know he’s in to just about everything cool. He’s like that go-to guy if you want to know about the awesome stuff happening in the city. We had a great conversation about prepping for the 7th annual DC Web Fest.

Among some of our topics of discussion were potential partners, venues, event programming, connections, etc. We can’t quite get into the specifics yet but just know that things are steadily unfolding and we are working to the best of our ability to make this the absolute BEST year yet. Just stay tuned as we reveal more partners, sponsors, venues, guests, and everything else web fest related.

Hope you’re shopping for thanksgiving :)

Peace & Love.

A Place to Call Home!

Venues…venues…and more venues! Finding a home for DC Web Fest 7 is INDEED one of the most important tasks at the moment. We’ve checked out some really amazing places like Eaton House and Decades; however, we have yet to lock in with anyone officially.

For DC Web Fest 6, we were super fortunate enough to use the AT&T Forum for Technology, Entertainment & Policy which was the PERFECT match, considering we are a digital media and technology festival. There were more than enough screens (which enabled us to implement simultaneous programming), the space was flexible- allowing us to divide and open for multiple use, and the venue offered convenient catering that kept our guests fed.

The seek continues for the perfect place for next year’s web fest. We’re really scaling up for next year, so the place MUST BE fire! The city is filled with amazing spots, soon enough we will land one!

Drop a comment of any venues you think would be a great match :)

Peace & Love

So...BMW makes films...and we're 17 years late on this discovery!

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 2.43.46 PM.png

So, you may or may not be aware of this, but BMW makes films! Too bad we’re 17 years late on this discovery. BMW Films has been around since 2001 and their films often star Hollywood big names such as Dakota Fanning and Don Cheadle. Some of its acclaimed directors include John Frankenheimer and Guy Ritchie, just to name a couple.

I took a few minutes to check out one of BMW’s short films, The Escape. My take away point from the film is this: the 2017 BMW 5 Series is a POWERFUL vehicle. There was one particular seen where the protagonist is trying to escape the antagonists (in the 2017 BMW 5 Series of course) and he ends up getting blocked under a bridge with a helicopter in front of him. The antagonist in the helicopter lowers a hook on the car (I guess to try to pull it up) but instead, the protagonist shifts to reverse, puts his foot to the floor, and drags the helicopter down to the ground. As always, it’s not a legit action movie without that dramatic explosion (BOOM).

The things that interests me the most is BMW MAKES FILMS. As large as the digital sphere is (locally and internationally), more of us (creators, curators, and consumers) should be aware of their presence, so I’m glad about this discovery. Who knows, maybe some day DC Web Fest will showcase one of their films :) The possibilities are endless.

Peace & Love.

Analyzing Diversity in Independent Media Project

Tired of the lack of diversity in movies? Tired of certain groups getting more screen time in movies than others? Tired of the same old content that keeps promoting the same old, stupid stereotypes? Well…SO ARE WE! Like you, we’re also over it…SERIOUSLY!

The lack of diversity and inclusion is no new issue. This has been an ongoing problem for decades. Although it has gotten better over the past several years, there is still much work that needs to be done.

The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient is a program that uses advanced technology to detect male and female faces and determine the length of speech and screen time. The results from several top movies (across all genres) over the past few years have indicated that men get far more screen time and speech time compared to women. Even when there is a female lead in the movie, men still get more screen and speech time. Not surprised? Neither are we.

So we are embarking on this new Google-funded project that will use algorithms to analyze the demographics of content creators across different forms of visual media. We'll use the data to highlight underrepresented ethnic communities, gender divisions, and other areas of inequality/non-parity and provide qualitative and quantitative analysis for stakeholders, creators, and policy makers to begin addressing these issues.

The bottom line is there are still some folks who are in denial, claiming diversity IS NOT an issue…but it is…and we’re determined to prove it.

So how can you get in on the action?? SO GLAD YOU ASKED! It’s pretty simple. We’re collecting data through a brief survey that will only take a couple of minutes. The more data we gather, the better. So fill out the survey, share the link with every creative you know, and let’s pump up diversity and inclusion to better represent the world in which we live.

Questionnaire link:

Sweet Therapy in Fashion

Photo credit: Steven Mendez

Photo credit: Steven Mendez

Fusing alternative fashion into everyday life isn't as dramatic as it seems. Japanese style, alternative fashion, anything that isn't jeans and a t-shirt can draw the gaze of the general public and make you feel like a colorful spectacle. However, in a moment of a fashion risk, there is also a relief.

Dressing in a manner so vibrant can substitute your voice as you interact with so many different people. I’m best known for my magical girl lite looks, with pink hair and heart-shaped glasses. I claim my magical girl status both for my admiration of 90’s and early 2000 anime series about magical girls and because I felt it expressed a joy I don't always exude in my daily life. If I'm not fighting evil by moonlight, I'm fighting it by daylight in common interactions. The joy I experience in feeling like I'm about to transform can mentally keep me going under the stressors of just being a black woman in America. I feel like I embody my favorite magical girls as I walk to work or pick up some shampoo at CVS. Whatever I’m doing these minor fashion additions help me express confidence and magic that I don’t feel I have in an ordinary style.

Alternative fashion, or even cosplay, offer the chance to dress beyond yourself but yet be the self you wish to be, or the character you want. It’s a duality of fiction and reality fused into fashion and style that tests the limits of our creativity. I don’t find anything wrong with jeans and a T-shirt. In fact being comfortable is a big thing I think is essential in how we dress. There are a few of us existing out here who find comfort in vibrant colors, pastels, all black, or perhaps Victorian-inspired fashions. I've seen that I'm dabbling in just about everything, fusing looks into a casual manner. I take inspiration from Japanese fashion, Ugly Betty, and anime. There are little details in my general style that come from all over the place. Color coordination and killer accessories really pack a punch for my magical girl aesthetic. My goal is to look like I'm in a magical girl anime and any moment I'm about to magical girl spin and transform.

However, I don't stop there. This upcoming fashion shoot with Otessa will push my fashion creativity into Decora. I'm modeling a style inspired by Hard Decora x Puvithel that fuses Decora and Menhera Fashion. Decora Fashion emerged in late 90's and early 2000's as a branch out of Harajuku fashion. This style is defined by the layers of accessories and bright colors used to decorate the outfit. Mehera, which is Japanese slang for "Mental healther" takes motifs from mental health stigmas and melds it into kawaii culture and aesthetics. Redefining a concept that can be socially isolated or ignored and making it into a statement of acceptance and care. My background in psychology and my love of fashion will really contribute to how I wear this fusion of styles and aesthetics. I'm excited and nervous but I like the challenge to represent my advocacy for mental health and fashion creativity in showing how something shunned in society can be beautiful. It’s a step in a different direction for me, but I hope that this style is another way to express something I believe in.