Filmfest DC 2018 in D.C. Classrooms


Teaching for Change is partnering with Filmfest DC: The Washington, DC International Film Festival for a seventh year to spread the word about the international film festival and to bring filmmakers for some of the films into D.C. classrooms April 19-27. 

While most Teaching for Change programs are for the D.C. metro area, the funding for these visits is limited to schools located in the District of Columbia. Read more about the films below, then REQUEST A CLASSROOM VISIT FROM A FILMMAKER.

We have found that the visits are most useful if (a) there is time for students to view the film in advance of the visit, (b) the students prepare questions for the director, and (c) the theme of the film connects with a topic the class is studying already. Visits can be from 30-45 minutes. Students gain a lot from viewing the documentaries, preparing questions, and discussing the film with the visitors. (Read about prior year visits.) 

Film visits available

The Foreigner's Home

Directed by Rian Brown and Geoff Pingree

Who is the foreigner? So wonders Toni Morrison in her solemn vision of art's power to redeem a world driven by race, power, and money. The Foreigner’s Home is a documentary film that explores Toni Morrison’s artistic and intellectual vision through “The Foreigner’s Home,” her 2006 exhibition at the Louvre. Through exclusive footage of Morrison in dialogue with artists, along with extensive archival footage, music, and animation, the film presents a series of candid and incisive exchanges about race, identity, “foreignness,” and art’s redemptive power.” 57 minutes.


Directed by Brandon Kramer

This six-part digital docu-series explores a community-based attempt to fight violence in Burkina Faso in the Sahel region of West Africa. Each episode profiles a community member in the small town of SAABA: a police officer, a Muslim cleric, a leader of a vigilante security group, a women's activist, and the tribal chief. The final episode follows everyone as they come together to build security and resilience in a community on the border of Boko Haram and ISIS strongholds in West Africa. The series is an honest, authentic, people-centered view of a peace-building effort in an area drawing increasing international attention for its role in combating violent extremism. Six 8 minute episodes (48 minutes total).


Queens in Training

Directed by Deanna Del Ciello and Anna Molinaro

This documentary short profiles 7-year-old Sienna and 11-year-old Bendu as they prepare to compete in a citywide chess tournament. They are members of an organization called Chess Girls D.C., which teaches girls to compete in the high pressure environment of tournament play. As they receive coaching from some of D.C.’s master chess players, Sienna and Bendu do the work to master the game, compete against boys, and learn life skills. 15 minutes.

Puerto Rico: Citizens in Peril

Directed by Rich Henrich and Daniel Seymour

In September, 2017, Hurricane Maria swept through the Atlantic Ocean, barreling through the island of Puerto Rico, and causing unprecedented damage across the region. This short documentary, “Puerto Rico: Citizens in Peril”, explores the socioeconomic devastation left in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria through its attempts to document the environmental, economic, and emotional tolls of this catastrophic storm. 8 minutes.

Yewub Dar

Directed by Lij Azigza

A short film about a young fisherman who lives in the countryside of northern Ethiopia. Because of the invasive water hyacinth, the amount of fish he can catch has decreased. Now he is forced to leave the village to find a work in the city.

Directed by Karin Jurschick

Why is the life of a firefighter who died a hero in the Twin Towers on September 11 worth on average a million dollars less than that of a stockbroker who lost his life in the same disaster? How much money should oil giant BP pay the countless fishermen on the Gulf of Mexico who are fighting for their livelihoods in the wake of the largest oil spill in history? Shortly after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. Congress created a fund to compensate all victims who agreed not to go to court. ONE man was appointed to have sole responsibility for deciding how much compensation was to be received by people according to their individual circumstances: Ken Feinberg. He offered to meet all victims or their families personally. However, his calculation model caused uproar among many of them who felt that the value of their lost loved ones could never be compensated with money.

Allison Acosta