The March on Washington Film Festival announced its programming schedule, which will bring its unique approach to art, history and activism back to the District for the fifth year, with the theme “Speaking Truth to Power.”

Founded in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the festival features more than 20 events including film screenings, discussions with filmmakers, performances, and panels on the groundbreaking activism of the 1960s as well as the movement’s current work towards justice and equality.

Unfolding over ten days, the 2017 festival will kick off on July 13th with an opening night special event at the Israel Baptist Church called “Let Freedom Sing,” which is a fundraising concert featuring choirs from Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Reid Temple AME Church, and special guest vocalist Karen Clark Sheard.

This year’s festival also introduces the Freedom’s Children Student Journalist competition, providing high school and undergraduate students professional mentorship, publication of their original work on the festival in a major news outlet, and a cash award. Judges of the contest will include Gene Demby, NPR; Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post; and Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, NPR.

The festival will present the second Emerging and Student Filmmaker Competition, which invites amateur filmmakers to present an original piece of work and receive national recognition. The competition has received more than 100 entries from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Singapore, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Other special events include: “Hip Hop and Social Justice,” featuring DJ and producer 9th Wonder, which will explore the genre’s role in education and mobilization in the fight for racial justice; and “The Gathering Place: Creating a Shared Religious Activism” which will convene ministers, rabbis, imams, congregants, and choirs from varied religious backgrounds to launch an interfaith movement for meaningful exchanges and direct action on racial justice.

“This festival is not only about showcasing the breadth of artistic and cultural contributions of the African American community, but also aims to connect our history to our future,” said Robert Raben, Chair of the Board for the March on Washington Film Festival. “We can’t make progress as a country without Americans having an accurate understanding of what we’ve been through. The film festival offers a platform for people to tell the truth—through film, art and scholarship.”

Also in this year’s program, iconic activists from the civil rights movement, leaders in contemporary racial justice activism, and cultural icons will be celebrated, including: Diahann Carroll, 9th Wonder, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Leadership Conference and Human Rights President Vanita Gupta, Tuskegee, AL Mayor Johnny Ford, Civil Rights-era photographer and author Cecil Williams, former Gary, IN mayor Richard Hatcher, former SNCC Field Organizer Larry Rubin, and Senator Harris Wofford, with music produced by Nolan Williams, Jr. of NEWorks Productions.

To purchase tickets and view the full schedule of events, visit: