From January 26-29, the National Building Museum (NBM) will present the fifth annual Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF), featuring 16 films that explore issues of gentrification, sustainability and other topics relevant to the DC’s development landscape.

“It’s an international festival that takes place every year across North America, and the films focus on design in a broad sense – things like fashion, architecture and urban planning,” says Jacquelyn Sawyer, vice president of education and engagement at the National Building Museum. “We are so excited to welcome back to DC”

Throughout the festival, a varied selection of films from 11 countries will be screened on the impact of design – environmental and cultural – and on the worlds of fashion, real estate, art, architecture, town planning and housing. There will also be a beer garden throughout the festival with local brews.

“We have round tables, but it’s a festival, so we also wanted to make sure there was a lot of fun,” says Sawyer. “We will have a sustainable fashion pop-up with four local brands that will have pieces for sale. And Friday night we’ll have a pop-up with local photographers.

For this year, the National Building Museum has partnered with the ADFF to bring films that are truly DC-focused and also close to the institution’s mission.

“This year we have an amazing international roster, but we wanted to make sure we were telling stories about our home as well,” Sawyer said. “We brought movies to the table that we think fit the bill.”

The festival kicks off January 26 at 5 p.m. with the screening of “Alice Street,” a mural documentary that brought together artists, community leaders and two neighborhoods in the fight to protect history, culture and voice. facing gentrification.

After the film, director Spencer Wilkinson and community organizer Lailan Sandra Huen will host a Q&A for audience members. The evening will also include an open bar, appetizers and an opportunity to mingle after the screening.

On January 27, in addition to films exploring international design, the origins of redlining and the modern consequences of discriminatory urban design, a photographic showcase will feature local artists James Singewald and Steven Cummings.

Sustainable fashion is the subject of the films screened on January 28. Additionally, attendees can learn about sustainable apparel during a panel discussion with industry leaders and purchase a one-of-a-kind piece from local vendors Tribute Collective, Bitter Grace, or Illicit Rag Vintage at a market. ephemeral in the Grand Hall of the NBM.

The festival ends January 29 at noon, with a performance by the DC Go-Go band and the screening of the film “Barry Farm: Community, Land and Justice in Washington DC,” which details a public housing development in DC. Filmmakers Samuel George and Sabiyha Prince will participate in a panel discussion following the screening.

“During brunch, we will have an exhibit by local photographer, Dee Dwyer, whose work documents the people and culture of Southeast Washington in the face of gentrification,” Sawyer said. “The whole day is truly a love letter to DC”

Tickets range from $25 for students to an all-access pass for $150. For more information, visit

National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; // @nationalbuildingmuseum

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Keith Loria

Passionate about theater and avid music fan, Keith Loria is an award-winning DC-based journalist who has written about the arts for over 20 years. He began his career at the Associated Press and has written for Soap Opera Digest, Playbill, and Music Review. He is looking forward to 2021 and the reopening of theaters! He is the proud father of two daughters, who often accompany him on his outings to the theatre. Visit her website at

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