Bring Filmfest D.C. to Your Classroom

Teaching for Change is partnering with Filmfest DC: The Washington, DC International Film Festival for a sixth year to spread the word about the international film festival and to bring filmmakers for several films into D.C. classrooms in April.

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 these visits–from viewing the documentaries, thinking about and preparing their questions, and discussing the film with the visitors, who often come with provocative questions for the students, as well. Read about last year’s visits here.

If you are a teacher in D.C. who is interested in hosting a visit by one of the film directors to your classroom or a combination of classrooms at your school, please submit a request here.


Ilse Cruz immigrated to Chicago from Mexico when she was a toddler. In high school, she comes face to face with the realities of being undocumented as more and more dreams seem out of reach — like going to college or returning to Mexico to meet the family she left behind. But halfway through her senior year, Ilse realizes she qualifies for an alternative pathway to permanent residency, one that takes her on a life-changing trip back to the place where she was born. (13 minutes)

Director Leah Varjacques may be available for visits April 25-28.


As vulnerable gay and transgender youth living in Washington, D.C., they’ve been shot, stabbed, and raped. In 2009, a group of 9th graders started a gang, and today these 14-22 year olds have rap sheets riddled with assault, armed robbery, and drug dealing charges. Check It members are now creating their own clothing label, putting on fashion shows and working stints as runway models, but breaking from the poverty and violence they’ve grown up with is a daunting task. (91 minutes)

Directors Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer may be available for visits April 24-28, possibly along with one of the film’s subjects.


Narrated by Matt Damon, this documentary explores the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America’s most vulnerable children. Filmed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville and other cities, it takes viewers through the tumultuous 2013-14 school year, exposing the world of education “reform” where public education – starved of resources- hangs in the balance. (95 minutes)

Director Sarah Mondale may be available for visits April 27-28.


The House on Coco Road is an intimate portrait of an activist and teacher who moves her children from Oakland, California to participate in the Grenada Revolution only to find her family in harm’s way of a U.S. military invasion. It is the filmmaker’s search for historical and emotional truth that will confirm his mother’s place in American history. (78 minutes) 



In June, 1964 hundreds of college students traveled to Mississippi, starting what would be known as Freedom Summer. That same month, two groups of young men, unaware of one another, also came to Mississippi to find an old blues singer and coax him out of retirement. Mississippi, that summer, was a tense and violent place. Churches were bombed, shotguns blasted into cars and homes. It was easy to mistake the young men looking for Son House and Skip James as activists. Finally, on June 21, 1964, these two campaigns collided in memorable and tragic fashion. (80 minutes) 

Civil Rights Movement activist Judy Richardson and Director Sam Pollard may be available April 24-28.


Giant media conglomerates are increasingly reluctant to investigate or criticize government policies – particularly on defense, security and intelligence issues. With government deception rampant, and intrusion of state surveillance into private life never more egregious, independent journalistic voices like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Amy Goodman are crucially important. All three are inspired by the iconoclastic rebel journalist named I. F. Stone, whose fearless, independent reporting from 1953 to 1971 filled a tiny 4-page newsletter which he wrote, published, and carried to the mailbox every week. This film will change the way you look at the mainstream media. (92 minutes)

Director Alfred Peabody or a local journalist may be available April 24-28.

If you are a teacher in D.C. who is interested in hosting a visit by one of the film directors to your classroom or a combination of classrooms at your school, please submit a request here.

Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017 |

Stay Connected

View Our Photos


Your donation to Teaching for Change (a 501-c-3) is tax-deductible and helps us provide teachers and parents with tools to create schools where students learn to read, write, and change the world.