Has it been a year already? The 29th Annual Washington D.C. Film Festival is about to kick off from April 16-26 and this year they will be presenting films from over 30 countries in the categories of World Views (international films), The Lighter Side (comedies), Trust No One (espionage and thrillers,) Justice Matters (social issues,) Global Rhythms (music themed movies) and Reel Jazz (jazz on film).
It’s a diverse crop this year. Bikes Vs. Cars (above) a Swedish documentary about the struggles of cyclists in car dominated urban areas. In They Die by Dawn (starring Erykah Badu as Stagecoach Mary) four real life outlaws from the pages of history meet up in Langston, Oklahoma to compete in a shootout; the winner walks away with $80,000, but the losers will be dead by dawn. Every character in the film is a historical figure who actually lived in the Old West and all but three are African American.
Happy Times, above (Mexico) is a comedy that explores the dissolution of a relationship between a mild-mannered cartoonist and his domineering girlfriend. In Order of Disappearance (Norway) show a snowplow driver who wreaks revenge on the criminals responsible for the murder of his son. The Glamour Boyz Again: The Might Sparrow and Lord Superior on the Hilton Rooftop, a documentary from Trinidad featuring two legends of Calypso, the Mighty Sparrow and Lord Superior performing on top of the Hilton Hotel overlooking the Port of Spain.
Moreover, this year to make things even livelier festival director Tony Gittens has announced that the Global Rhythms category will include live pre-screening performances from local artists for such films as Tap World, above (USA), Ciudad Delirio (Columbia, Spain) and Tango Glories (Argentina), the opening night movie (Thursday, April 16, 7 p.m., AMC Mazza Gallerie followed by a party, $45) for the festival where tango dancing and lessons will be presented before the screening and afterwards at the reception as well!
Other special events include: An Evening With Ann Hornaday (Thursday, April 23rd Landmark’s E Street Cinema 7 p.m.) where Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday will join Arch Campbell for a discussion of cinema and film making; and, Lunafest, a series of eight short films by and about women that runs approximately 72 minutes long that will be playing Saturday, April 25 at 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. at the Goethe Institute.
The closing night film will be the Italian crime comedy I Can Quit Whenever I Want (above) about a group of unemployed chemists whose attempts to get in on the underground drug scene go hilariously awry playing on Sunday, April 26, 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, followed by the after party at Brixton, $25. This will also be where the Filmfest DC Audience Awards will be presented; one to the feature film and one to the documentary voted most popular by audiences with ballots collected after every screening.
A complete list of the many exciting films featured at this year’s festival can be found at the website for the DC Film Festival where you can also buy tickets.