Things to Do

5 Film Festivals to Watch in the DC Area This Spring

Annapolis Film Festival, Filmfest DC, and other movie showcases return to DC this spring.

Photograph courtesy of Widow Clicquot.

A number of multi-day film festivals are popping up around town this spring featuring a ton of shorts and full-length movies to binge. Here are a few to add to your movie calendar:

1. Annapolis Film Festival

Various Annapolis locations | April 4-7

The 12th Annual Annapolis Film Festival spotlights more than 70 films over a span of four days. Opening night boasts a red-carpet showing of the new film Thelma followed by a dinner and after-party. The remaining days will feature panel discussions with actors, coffee conversations with industry leaders, and documentary and feature film screenings ($100+ for passes and tickets).


2. Bethesda Film Fest

Bethesda Row Landmark Cinema | April 5-6

Sit back and watch five short documentaries produced by local filmmakers at the 12th Annual Bethesda Film Fest. This year’s jury-selected films are: Eat Flowers, Filming Under Fire: John Ford’s OSS Field Photo Branch, A Chocolate Lens, 1001 Cuts, and Spanish Joe Remembers ($15).


3. District Dreamers Film Festival

STABLEarts | April 5-6

A new film festival premieres this month at STABLEarts. District Dreamers Film Festival was created to support emerging area filmmakers. While it will have screenings like at a traditional film fest, District Dreamer’s schedule also includes industry networking opportunities and educational discussions about funding, distribution, and film creation ($20+).


4. Filmfest DC

Various DC locations | April 18-28

This binge-worthy festival returns to DC with a lineup of more than 60 films from 36 countries. Moviegoers can watch international productions such as Italian thriller Diabolik or French comedy A Difficult Year, plus two films about DC’s go-go and jazz scene: Bring the Beat and The Humbler ($14+).


5. JxJ: DC Jewish Film and Music Festival

Various locations| May 9-19

Edlavitch DCJCC brings together music and film in their regional showcase next month. Opening night launches with a screening of Israeli narrative Seven Blessings followed by more than 30 screenings of shorts and feature films. In concert with the movie showings, there will be cultural performances at Edlavitch DCJCC  by international groups such as The Maccabeats, Polyphony Quartet, Mister G, and more (prices vary).

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Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.