Things to Do

FilmFest DC Brings International Flair

Thursday marks the start of Filmfest DC, the District’s international film festival. This year the festival features 71 films from more than 40 countries and includes a special series of new French movies.

The festival’s films range from cultural dramas to sex-laden comedies to movies about music. Documentary films about current events worldwide are part of “Views From the News” series that’s new this year.  Read below for more details and our picks of the bevy of films.
The first film of the festival is La Vie en Rose, a documentary about French jazz singer Edith Piaf. The festival closes April 29 with Paris, je t’aime, stories of love shot by 20 filmmakers and starring actors such as Maggie Gyllenhaal and Willem Dafoe. Intriguing films in between include Border Café, about a widow trying to keep a diner open on the Iranian-Turkish border and struggling to make her place in the world as a single woman. Ten Canoes, a comedy set 1,000 years ago in an aboriginal tribe in Australia, is filmed in aboriginal languages with English subtitles and opens a door to a culture hidden to most of the world.  
If you want to pick the brains of the writers and directors, stop into one of the free festival events at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street, NW). At noon on April 21, DC native George Pelecanos, part of the writing and producing team for HBO’s The Wire, talks about the Baltimore-set crime show and what inspires its scripts. Or stop by at 3 pm on April 28 for the annual Director’s Roundtable, where some of the international filmmakers will discuss their styles and how conditions and cultures make their work different.

If you’re unsure which film to see, try one of the seven in the running for the festival’s Capital Focus award, which honors films the professional jury thinks deserve more recognition. These include The Cats of Mirikitani (United States), Eden (Switzerland), The Education of Fairies (Argentina), The King and the Clown (South Korea), The Page Turner (France), The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (China), Red Road (United Kingdom) and What a Wonderful World (Morocco). 

The Wisconsin Avenue Cinemas (4000 Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest) will show most of the films. Tickets are $9 a film.

Filmfest DC
April 19–29
$9 per film, or $80 for ten
Tickets available here