March on Washington Film Festival celebrates 10th anniversary in DC

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the March on Washington Film Fest (Part 1)
The March on Washington Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. (Courtesy March on Washington Film Festival)

The March on Washington Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary here in D.C. You can enjoy virtual and in-person screenings and panels Wednesday through Sunday.

“Our mission is to tell the untold stories and retell the mistold stories of the Civil Rights Movement, its icons and its foot soldiers and connect it to today,” Artistic Director Isisara Bey told WTOP. “We’ve gone through many political changes: our first African American president, then a complete reversal in philosophy, then 2020 [with] Black Lives Matter.”

The festival kicks off Wednesday at Union Market Dock 5 with an Opening Night Gala celebrating Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Broadway producer Irene Gandy and playwright/director George C. Wolfe. The evening will be hosted by Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post with special guests Congressman James E. Clyburn, Jeffrey Wright and Emilio Sosa.

It returns to the previous night’s location at Union Market Dock 5 on Thursday for a screening of the documentary “The Defenders” about the hundreds of lawyers from across the country who traveled to Mississippi during the early civil rights movement to transform the state’s legal landscape.

It will be followed by a panel discussion with Rashad Robinson with Color of Change, Derrick Johnson of the NAACP, Vangela Wade of the Mississippi Center for Justice, and filmmaker Roderick Red.

There will also be a special live performance by Rutha Mae Harris, an original member of the SNCC Freedom Singers.

Friday moves over to Eaton Workshop at 12th and K Streets, Northwest for a screening of the documentary “Acting While Black” by Washington Post journalist Rokhaya Diallo, who will hold a Q&A with George Washington University professor Dr. Imani Cheers. The event will be moderated by Afro-feminist Maboula Soumahoro and followed by “La Grande Fête” dance party.

The penultimate day Saturday returns to Eaton Workshop for the Student & Emerging Filmmaker Screenings showcasing finalists from over 150 submissions from around the world. That’s followed by the Next Narrative National Monologue Competition, The Next Narrative Monologue Workshop and The Virtual Reality Equity Lab & Fellowship.

It all culminates Sunday at Arena Stage with live performance excerpts from the new Frederick Douglass musical “American Prophet,” created by Charles Randolph-Wright and Marcus Hummon and starring Cornelius Smith Jr. and Kristolyn Lloyd.

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the March on Washington Film Fest (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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