OCTOBER 7-20

Washington’s New Day Films started out in the last-gasp moments of the ’60s (actually 1972) as a collective distributor of feminist films. It gradually became an umbrella organization for filmmakers with a social conscience, yet the works that comprise “New Day Films: A 20th Anniversary Tribute” are surprisingly diverse in style and subject and, for the most part, more irreverent than preachy. Highlights include Babies and Banners (Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. with Hearts and Hands), which opens the retrospective, and Seeing Red (pictured, Oct. 20 at 8:45 p.m.), which closes it, both featuring left-wing activists of a half-century ago (you can meet one of them, feisty ex-communist Dorothy Healey, at the latter screening); Kicking High…in the Golden Years (Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. with Love It Like a Fool), a group portrait of members of a senior citizens’ center; and perhaps the most archetypally independent projects of all, the first-person essays. Ralph Arlyck’s Current Events (Oct. 12 at 8:45 p.m. with When the News Went to New Orleans), for instance, ruminates wryly on the challenge of living as a decent human being in a world suffused not only with suffering, but direct mail telling you all about it. At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6. (202) 785-4600. (Pat Aufderheide)