LifestyleAnimation First DC Film Festival features French films

Animation First DC Film Festival features French films

Check out a handful of the many events happening in the DMV this weekend. To keep up with all the fun, don’t forget to check out the Washington Informer Calendar. 

Keep your outlook vibrant and remember, there’s always something happening in the DMV to keep your spirit — and social life — lit.

Thursday, Jan. 25

9th Annual C. Clyde Ferguson Symposium

Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Free w/ RSVP

2900 Van Ness Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20008

The “Voices Unchained: Exploring the Intersection of Expression, Law, and Liberty,” symposium delves into complex issues related to freedom of expression, censorship, and the law. It features diverse events exploring the legal, cultural, and social implications. Highlights include a panel discussion on banned books in prisons with experts like Sonia Kumar and Moira Marquis, a keynote by Gloria J. Browne Marshall on art in advocacy, and a conversation on the right to joy with Brence Pernell, Brittany Cooper, and Dean Lisa Crooms. 

The event concludes with a fireside chat on rap music censorship with Emerson Sykes and P. Tuneen Chisolm. The symposium will be a thought-provoking exploration of expression, law, and liberty.

Hopin’ Mic: A Comedy & Storytelling Open Mic for Causes in Need

Time: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. | Donation Suggested

BloomBars, 3222 11th Street Northwest, Washington, D.C.

Hopin’ Mic showcases both national touring comedians and local up-and-comers, experimenting with material centered on leftist causes supported by Grassroots Comedy (climate justice, racial equity, immigrant rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, etc.). It’s a comedic audition platform for progressive humor, interspersed with irreverent hilarity. This donation-based event now benefits Grassroots Comedy as a non-profit, funding comedy-driven engagement, education, and cause support.

Grab your woke and non-woke friends for a night of laughter, uniting in the mission to make the world better through humor. Join them in the name of comedy and positive change! 

BloomBars is an alcohol-free establishment, but your ticket will get you discounted drinks at Buddy’s DC, two doors down at 3234 11th St NW.

Friday, Jan. 26

Art Bites Gallery Talk

Time: 12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. | Free

National Portrait Gallery, 8th and G streets NW, Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian American Art Museum’s (SAAM) research fellows present a lunchtime gallery talk series unveiling fresh insights into on-display artworks. Discover the narratives woven within these pieces, revealing the dynamic shifts in U.S. culture. Join Terra Foundation predoctoral fellow Sadé Ayorinde as she explores the significance of Nick Cave’s Soundsuit.

Inua Ellams: Search Party

Time: 7 p.m. | $10-20

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, 8270 Alumni Drive, Suite 3800, College Park, Maryland, 20742

A man walks into a room with his life in his hands. He is the internationally acclaimed artist and playwright Inua Ellams (“Barber Shop Chronicles” and “The Half God of Rainfall”) and he has filled thousands of pages in an ongoing attempt to be heard, to give his genius wings that can travel. Every word he’s ever written is captured, all the poems and the theater and the essays, the drafts of projects abandoned and works as yet unknown, indexed, rendered as binary and waiting patiently within the confines of the electronic tablet he’s holding even now. 

Pick a word, any word. Prompted by audience suggestion and open conversation, Ellams searches through his archive, unearths refined or raw gold, and presents his treasure in a spontaneous performance. 

“Search Party” is an act of call and response that hearkens back to the birth of storytelling. At this uniquely futuristic and puckishly chaotic interactive event, the artist couldn’t be more present. He’s inviting you to join the work. What do you say?

Saturday, Jan. 27

Events DC Housing Empowerment Expo

Time: Noon. | Free with registration by Jan. 26

R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center, 2730 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, D.C., 20032

Discover ways to move forward confidently in your personal housing journey. Get personalized financial tips for managing debt, budgeting, rebuilding credit, and more. Talk one-on-one with an experienced local housing adviser. Demystify housing myths during an interactive panel discussion. Find helpful housing and financial resources available in your neighborhood.

Experienced housing advisers will be available to speak with you at no cost.


Time: 9 p.m. | $35 to $50

Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd NE, Washington, D.C., 20018

Did you know Shaq’s other alias was DJ Diesel?

Sunday, Jan. 28

A Day of Action

Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. | Free

National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F streets NW, Washington, D.C., 20004

Ignite and empower! Discover your inspiration and voice. View art as activism and portraiture as a force for change. Commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his dedication to community engagement by participating in “A Day of Action” with the Portrait Gallery and our collaborators.

While designed to engage teens and young adults, all are welcome to this event featuring local social justice partner organizations and community groups. Gain insights from those making a difference and be inspired by activists featured in the Portrait Gallery’s exhibitions: “The Struggle for Justice” and “Forces of Nature: Voices that Shaped Environmentalism.”

Animation First DC Film Festival

Time: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. | Free with registration

La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

Join us in celebrating the inaugural edition of the Animation First Festival in Washington, D.C. After six successful years in New York, the festival arrives in the nation’s capital, offering a unique platform dedicated to showcasing the enduring legacy and pioneering innovation of French and Francophone animation.

For its debut in Washington, D.C., the festival will feature two feature-length films in French with English subtitles:


Followed by a Q&A with director Joël Vaudreuil

Dir. Joël Vaudreuil, 2023, Canada, Color, 96 min.

Voice by Simon Lacroix

In French with English subtitles

Imagine if every taunt, criticism, or unkind word spoken to you had a physical impact. “When Adam Changes” is set in 1990 Quebec and portrays the (literal) growing pains and absurdity of adolescence. Adam, a 15-year-old with a unique quirk, experiences his body changing and warping in response to mockery and negative comments. This darkly comedic narrative, animated by French artist Nicolas Moussette, won the Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature at the 2023 Ottawa International Film Festival.

“The Sacred Cave/ La Grotte Sacree”

Dir. Daniel Minlo, Cyrille Masso, 2023, Cameroon, Color, 100 min.

Voice by Andre’ Bang, Diallo Diallo, Gérard Essomba

In French with English subtitles

In the heart of Africa’s equatorial forest, the king of Mabunos is poisoned, and two palace aides embark on a quest to a sacred cave in search of an antidote. They have only seven days to save their ruler, encountering inexplicable spectacles and obstacles along their visually stunning journey. Directed by Daniel Minlo and Cyrille Masso from Cameroon, this film is rich in legend, lore, and breathtaking scenes and received acclaim at the 2023 BFI London Film Festival and 2023 Festival Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Source: Washington Informer

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