For bingewatchers at home, there are new releases to investigate.
Like other events forced to postpone festivities, the folks behind Filmfest D.C. shifted toward launching their fist ever Filmfest D.C. At Home, a virtual festival featuring successful movies from past events, both local and international. The free screenings run until May 21.
“When we first let folks know we were going to postpone, there was disappointment, but no surprise,” says Tony Gittens, the Filmfest D.C. Director. “It’s essential for us, we’re a Washington event. We’re very Washington oriented, we show films by local filmmakers and we want to remain engaged with our audiences.”
The virtual screenings aren’t intended as a substitute for the normal festival, rescheduled for sometime in the fall, but is instead a supplement for cinephiles who miss the movies.
“We wanted to do something,” Gittens says. “We didn’t want months and weeks to go by and people not hear from us in someway. This is our way to engage and contribute. A lot of folks are at home and this is a way for us to give entertainment for our friends and colleagues, and help them maintain their spirits.”
The plan is to release one feature-length film per week via the festival’s website. There is no cost of admission to view the movies, and the lineup consists of memorable entries from previous years.
Participating films include: DC Noir (April 23-30), A Simple Wedding (May 1-7), Sink or Swim (May 8-14), Tango Glories and No, A Flamenco Tale (May 15-21).
“We wanted films that were successful, entertaining and that people responded to,” he says. “DC Noir is a film we showed last year and had to turn so many people away that we knew we had better try to show it again [laughs].”
Subject matter varies from serious (Noir) to light (Sink or Swim). The complete lineup also includes a similarly-themed short to accompany the weekly features.
As for when his festival and actual movie theaters will reopen, everything is up in the air for everyone including the moviemakers who typically tour their works.
“A number of them have been canceled, so no one knows,” Gittens says. “It’s not the best time for film festivals [but] these directors were excited about this, and had a good experience with us in the past.”
Speaking of “experience,” as deeply ingrained in D.C.’s film world, Gittens says to try and view these movies on a nice TV, to open yourself to the story and to try and relax into it.
“Ask the question, what’s this about? What are they trying to say?” Gittens says. “It’s an incredible medium for all kinds of expressions. That’s what culture is about, variety and diversity. Films have always been a good way to absorb that.”
Filmfest D.C. At Home runs through May 21. To start watching, head to www.filmfestdc.org.