Our 31st year will feature the latest and greatest of international cinema.
Look for our festival catalog in the April 14th edition of the Washington Post.
Check back soon for more updates about Filmfest DC.
Opening Night and Closing Night Tickets Now on Sale!
Thursday, April 20, 7:00 PM - AMC Mazza Gallerie Theatre
THIS IS OUR LAND
Lucas Belvaux, France/Belgium
North American Premiere - In this timely tale, inhabitants of a mining town in Northern France have seen the world change too rapidly and feel neglected by the state. Sentiments hidden by the flag of populism and thinking in terms of enemies are becoming increasingly commonplace. Pauline, a popular nurse, is offered the candidacy for mayor by a far-right political party, but soon learns she’s merely a puppet candidate for those spouting nationalism and isolationism.
Tickets are $45 - Followed by reception
Sunday, April 30, 3:30 PM and 7:00 PM - Embassy of France
LOST IN PARIS
Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel, France
This charming and whimsical comedy centers on Fiona, a small town librarian whose life is upturned when her 93-year-old Aunt Martha goes missing in Paris. In her hilariously disastrous search, Fiona meets Dom, the affable, but annoying tramp who just won’t leave her alone. LOST IN PARIS is a wonderfully fun and hectic tale of peculiar people finding love while lost in the City of Lights.
Tickets are $25 - Reception from 5:30 to 7:00 PM
A Sampling of Films at Filmfest DC 2017
The African Doctor
The African Doctor (France) directed by Julien Rambaldi - In the feel-good film about resilience, perseverance and human foibles, The African Doctor tells the true story of Dr. Seylolo Zantoko, who struggled with his family to racially integrate a small French village.
All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone (Canada) directed by Fred Peabody - All Governments Lie provides insight into the life and work of American journalist, I.F. Stone, who led a crusade for a free, independent press and against government deception.
At the End of the Tunnel (Argentina, Spain) directed by Rodrigo Grande - Resourceful Joaquin is wheelchair bound and discovers a crime in progress with criminals digging a tunnel to a nearby bank under his home. As the plot repeatedly twists and turns, the viewer is unsure who is on the good side, or why.
Backpack Full of Cash (USA) directed by Sarah Mondale - With narration by Matt Damon, this is a riveting exploration into the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America's most vulnerable children.
Inversion (Iran) directed by Behnam Behzadi - An unmarried Iranian woman stands up to her family and pursues her dreams. An Un Certain Regard selection at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
J: Beyond Flamenco
J: Beyond Flamenco (Spain) directed by Carlos Saura - With beautiful filmmaking and striking dancers, festival favorite Carlos Saura captures the vivacity and charisma of the traditional Spanish jota, a waltz-like castanet dance.
The King's Choice (Norway) directed by Erik Poppe - Norway's king refuses to give in to Nazi threats and early involvement in World War II. This feature also made the shortlist of nine foreign language films in this year’s Academy Awards.
Last Men in Aleppo (Denmark, Syria) directed by Feras Fayyad, Steen Johannessen - Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, this film follows Khalid, Subhi, and Mahmoud, founding members of The White Helmets, as they remain in Aleppo to help their fellow citizens in a city under fire.
Lipstick Under My Burkha
Lipstick Under My Burkha (India) directed by Alankrita Shrivastava - India's Central Board of Film Certification has banned this film, even as it plays to acclaim worldwide. Trapped in their own worlds, four women claim their desires through secret acts of rebellion. An engaging, eye-popping satire on gender relations in India.
The Net (South Korea) directed by Kim Ki-duk - The Net offers a complex look into regional division (and similarity) through the story of a North Korean fisherman who accidental drifts into South Korean waters.
The Oath (Iceland) directed by Baltasar Kormákur - A profound and universal story of a parent's anxiety over his children.
Obit (USA) directed by Vanessa Gould - Meet those who write the New York Times obituary column and get their take on life.
Patti Cake$ (USA) directed by Geremy Jasper - This Sundance Film Festival stand out centers on aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, AKA Patti Cake$, an unlikely star trying to make it big in her hometown in New Jersey.
Play the Devil (Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, USA) directed by Maria Govan - Set against the backdrop of Carnival in Trinidad, a young man sorting out his self-identity is becomes involved with an older business man who will not leave him alone.
The Preacher (Egypt) directed by Magdy Ahmed Ali - American Premiere - This timely Egyptian box office hit drama tackles the complex relationship between religious clerics and the government, and has provoked a backlash from Muslim leaders, with some calling for the film to be banned.
A Quiet Passion
A Quiet Passion (Belgium, UK) directed by Terence Davies - Cynthia Nixon (Sex in the City) delivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson as she personifies the wit, intellectual independence and pathos of this brilliant American writer.
Santa and Andres (Cuba, France, Colombia) directed by Carlos Lechuga - A novelist under house arrest and his house guard are the odd couple, two supposed enemies who find they have more in common in life under Fidel than either could have imagined.
The Stuff of Dreams (Italy) directed by Gianfranco Cabiddu - The Godfather meets Shakespeare in this Italian comedy about a theater troupe that must incorporate members of a prison gang into a performance of The Tempest after being shipwrecked on a penal island.
This is Our Land (France, Belgium) directed by Lucas Belvaux - North American Premiere - In this timely drama, Pauline, a popular self-employed nurse and single mom living in a mining district in northern France, suddenly finds herself the right-wing nationalist party candidate in local elections.
Two Trains Runnin' (USA) directed by Sam Pollard - Narrated by Academy Award winning performer Common, Two Trains Runnin' follows the search for two forgotten blues singers, set in Mississippi during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
Zoology (Russia, France, Germany) directed by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy - A breakout festival favorite, Zoology tells the story of a lonely and repressed zoo employee, whose life is dramatically changed when she mysteriously grows a tail.
Play the Devil
At the End of the Tunnel
Watch Our 2016 Festival Trailer
Look for our festival catalog in the April 14th edition of the Washington Post
SUPPORT FILMFEST DC
From the Jury for the Circle Award
Circle Award: VIVA
Versatile Irish director Paddy Breathnach delivers contemporary Cuba in all its beauty and shabbiness, vibrancy and conflicts. Viva is a superbly written and acted story about one young man's life--one family and one drag club in one neighborhood in one city. At the same time, this compelling film presents the complexity of human relationships and the universality of what it means to love oneself and other people even when that love is challenged, self-awareness and acceptance, abandonment and forgiveness. An effervescent musical score is also at the heart of this film which works its way into audience hearts.
Special Jury Award: 3000 NIGHTS
An accomplished documentarian, 3000 Nights is the first feature from director Mai Masri, who constructs fiction rooted in reality. Filmed entirely on location in an actual prison, the story is depicted with sensitivity, subtlety and conviction. A compelling mother's love is matched with integrity and resilience. The power of the characters, the touching dialogue, the cinematically poetic frames touch on the larger universal humanity. Raw emotions are mixed with deeply moving interactions between mother and son. Despite the storyline this is not a dark film. The final feeling is one of female strength and power.
From the Jury for the Signis Award
Signis Award: PATHS OF THE SOUL
Director Zhang Yang combines stunning cinematographic vistas with intimate details to track the pilgrimage by foot of eleven rural Tibetan Buddhists over steep mountains, across streams, and winding roads to their sacred city of Lhasa. The journey of 1200 miles and many months is a metaphor of an inner journey as well, marked by untiring dedication no matter what obstacles they face. The pilgrims exhibit kindness, joy, and respect not only towards each other but also towards the strangers they meet. While specific to a particular Tibetan culture, the film speaks to a common yearning for a sense of transcendence, goodness, and well-being.
Behavior (Conducta), set in contemporary Cuba, is the story of an empathetic experienced schoolteacher on the verge of her retirement. Carmela goes beyond obligation to personally help two students with issues arising out of their extreme poverty, defending them against harsh and rigid application of rules by an administration which favours the law over love. The film makes a plea for a more humane society in which the lives of everyone, especially the marginalized, also count.
From the Jury for the First Feature Award
First Feature Award: MAGALLANES
Director Salvador Del Solar's film is set in contemporary Lima. His film explores themes of memory, guilt, power, corruption, justice, and survival wrapped in a story that unfolds as a gripping political thriller. Filled with a gallery of richly nuanced performances.
It's a film marked by a clear dramatic vision, an assured visual style, and the hand of a director—who is himself a veteran performer—that guides his actors to find often-surprising heart and depth in their roles. The characters in Magallanes have all been damaged by the legacy of the past, and are linked by its echoes in the present. Their struggle to release its hold makes for a powerfully told, compellingly acted film. We congratulate Salvador Del Solar for creating Magallanes, and are grateful for the support of the Embassy of Quatar in recognizing that achievement with the First Feature Award.
From the Jury for the Shorts Award
Winner: NKOSI COIFFURE
The winner of the 2016 Short Film Award goes to Belgium filmmaker, Frederike Migom's first film, Nkosi Coiffure about a woman who stumbles into an African hair salon in a Brussels Congolese neighborhood. This film captures the moment when diversity and the universality of being human intersect and it does so with originality and insight. We are very happy to have the opportunity to support this young filmmaker and we look forward to seeing what's next for her.
Honorable Mention: WIFEY REDUX
We would also like to acknowledge with an Honorable Mention, Robert McKeon's Wifey Redux for excellence in adaptation from a short story. And we would also like to acknowledge two films from Australia: the accomplished and especially delightful short film, The Orchestra for originality in animation (this film will convince you that life does have a soundtrack) and the live action short, Goodnight Sweetheart for the masterful performances of its two lead actors.
From the Jury for the Justice Matters Award
This ground breaking first feature from Guatemalen director Jayro Bustamante is not just a window into a disappearing culture but the direct expression of a native voice. Rather than a didactic approach to storytelling, this layered narrative subtly unfolds and is told through the indigenous language, Kaqchikel. The film breaks the silence of the Mayan people, addressing issues of indentured servitude, repression of women, struggle for survival, migration and trafficking of stolen infants.
The extraordinary artistic quality of this film and the power of its visual storytelling make it a perfect candidate for the Justice Matters focus on the marriage of art and social justice.