film fests dc

March Film Festival Roundup

DC Independent Film Festival: March 4-13
The DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF) showcases work from more than 70 indie filmmakers, including everything from full-length films to animated shorts, at venues throughout DC. There’s even a competition for local aspiring high school filmmakers.

“We build a community for them and include the audience so that watching films at DCIFF is not just about what is onscreen, but also about the people who make movies,” says Deirdre

Evans-Pritchard, executive director of DCIFF.  “The festival is fiercely independent in order to have the freedom to be cutting-edge and to present a wide range of ideas, issues and styles to Washington, DC”

This year, opening night includes a world premiere of the new web serial, Districtland, which was shot in and is about DC, and is based on the play written by Christina Bejan. Closing night includes a conversation with actor and Dogme 95 filmmaker Jean Marc Barr.

For more information and a complete schedule, go to

Environmental Film Festival: March 15-26
The 24th annual Environmental Film Festival, the country’s largest and longest-running of it’s kind, will present 140 films at venues around the nation’s capital selected to provide fresh perspectives on a wide variety of environmental issues facing the earth.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Parks: Protecting Wild,” exploring the vital role of parks and protected areas on our planet. Screenings will include discussions with filmmakers, scientists and policymakers, and many events are free.

“The festival will open with Jennifer Peedom’s new film, Sherpa, showing how Mount Everest’s Sherpa community united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain following a deadly avalanche in 2014,” says Helen Strong, public affairs director for the Environmental Film Festival.

A highlight of the festival will be director Ian Cheney’s screening of his newest film, Bluespace, which makes a strong case for taking better care of our water-rich planet so that future generations won’t have to resort to interplanetary colonization.

For a complete festival schedule, visit

CineMatsuri Film Festival: March 20-24
With five films being screened this year, the CineMatsuri Film Festival is slated to showcase some of the most compelling Japanese films made over the last year.

“CineMatsuri’s mission is comprised of two parts,” says Melissa Tolentino, assistant director for educational and public outreach for the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC. “The first is to provide an entertaining, weeklong event for people of the Washington, DC area to enjoy some of the latest and best Japanese films. The second is to use film as a way for the

Japan-America Society to accomplish our mission of helping Americans learn more about Japan.”

The opening film, Persona Non Grata, tells the story of a courageous Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara, who defied his government and issued visas to over 6,000 Jewish people in 1940, saving them from certain death in Nazi concentration camps. Encore presentations of Persona Non Grata will be held after the 24th.

The closing film, Emperor in August, was nominated for 11 Japanese Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.

“We don’t show avant-garde or cutting-edge films,”  Tolentino says. “Instead, we try to show recent Japanese movies that were well-received by both audiences and critics alike, and that we think will appeal to an American audience.”

For more information, check out