Your article on Filmfest DC (“Persistence of Vision” 4/20) calls for an international film festival “worthy of this most international of cities” while bewailing the lack of more homegrown productions able to satisfy those moviegoers who might regard the festival’s programming as being forbiddingly esoteric.
Would it not be better if the independent features of talented American filmmakers outside the studio system had the honor of having their work exhibited through wider general theatrical release? The inclusion of more domestic films in Filmfest DC would likely crowd out many international films that would otherwise never be seen in the area. At least independent U.S. films can end up in the less forbiddingly esoteric sections of one’s local video store.
Contrast the local filmfest with that of Auckland, New Zealand, a city in a country more renowned for its numbers of sheep than movie buffs. Last year, Auckland’s International Film Festival was in its 32nd year and included more than 200 films. A number of those features have only just made it to this year’s Filmfest DC, including the Washington City Paper’s recommendation, Beau Travail, which was released in Europe in 1999. Clearly, if judged on the scope of its filmfest alone, D.C. has some way to go before it deserves the moniker “most international of cities.”