Top 10 Moments of the 2016 Festival

Missing the excitement of March? So are we! Thank goodness for year-round programming. But to hold you over until our next off-season screening, the Festival staff has put together a list of our favorite moments from DCEFF 2016. Enjoy!



Opening Night, I watched from the Carnegie balcony as people poured in and seats filled. It was a perfect storm: A powerful film — Sherpa, thought-provoking panelists and such an engaged audience. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the 2016 Festival.

— Chris Head, Acting Executive Director







Dancing in the aisles, after How to Let Go of the World — most memorable Closing Night ever!

— Caroline Gabel, Board Chair










At our pre-Festival youth screening of An American Ascent, we had more than 2400 students in attendance. I just remember the sound of laughter and the kids clapping each time something they liked happened on-screen. Then the Q&A after. That was a pretty magical day.

— Heidi Hermisson, Development Manager





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It was amazing and gratifying for me to see the enthusiastic overflow crowd for This Changes Everything at St. Columba’s Church and to hear broadcast journalist – and parishioner – Ray Suarez moderate the post-screening discussion about the paradigm shift that is needed to save our planet. What a church!

— Helen Strong, Director of Public Relations








It takes a village to make a documentary and nowhere was this more evident to me than at the City of Trees premiere, when Lance and Brandon Kramer thanked a room full of their family, friends, Kickstarter backers, everyone who had helped make the film possible. Grandma Kramer was in the house, as well as one of the participants of the film, Michael Samuels and his family. Great moment to witness.

— Saaret Yoseph, Director of Online Communications & Engagement




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I enjoyed laughing along with the rest of the audience at the Babushkas of Chernobyl screening. These sweet, tough old women really captured all of our hearts. And the post-screening discussion with director Holly Morris and our special guests from Ukraine’s 86 Festival was the cherry on top.

— Brad Forder, Director of Programming






The grassroots energy at the world premiere of SEED was pretty unforgettable. Filmmakers Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel came with buttons and totes in tow, and even planned their own after party, which they invited the whole audience to attend. After the film ended, I watched them receive the longest standing ovation. Really sweet and incredible.

— Arjumand Hamid, Programming Associate






My favorite moment was seeing “Bluebird Man,” Al Larson, get a standing ovation after the film! He is so inspiring and dedicated – he even had a bluebird embroidered on the back of his shirt.

— Chelsea Parker, Programming Manager








It was remarkable for me to see Dispatches from the Gulf at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I really enjoyed listening to the insightful panel discussion with marine experts Dr. Rita Colwell, Dr. Mandy Joye, Dr. Martin Grosell, and Steven Murawski. Felt so grateful to have such an informed panel and such an intelligent audience participating in attendance.  

— Molly Berg, Office Manager


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At the Creeping Garden screening it was great to see people staying afterward to discuss the film. There wasn’t a Q&A or panel programmed, they just wanted to stick around and talk about slime mold for the rest of the afternoon. Pretty cool.

— Nick Rueda-Sabater, Communications Intern





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