Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Credit: Alan Karchmer

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's Film Festival has ended. 


Selected Films

Learn about the Festival's 80+ films. Post Screening Conversations immediately followed film screenings, giving partipants the opportunity to hear from the filmmakers, cast and crew.

Festival Events and Screenings

Visit the Events page to find the latest list of festival films, screenings, and events. Our overview Schedule tells you where everything is happening.


Exchanges are open forums to share ideas about film production and the archive of the moving image.  Exchanges are free, first come first served. Registration is not required.

Event Locations


Getting To DC

By Air
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is the closest commercial airport to the capital serving the Washington metropolitan area.

Washington Dulles International Airport is an international airport located in Virginia and is 26 miles west of downtown Washington, DC.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is the primary international airport serving the Baltimore metropolitan area. BWI Marshall Airport is located 32 miles northeast of Washington, DC.

By Train
Washington Union Station is a major train station, transportation hub, and leisure destination in Washington, DC The terminal is served by Metro, Amtrak, MARC and VRE commuter railways, and is the main bus terminal of Washington, DC It also serves as a drop off and pick up center for many DC tour bus operators.

Getting Around DC


The Metrorail and Metrobus are the most convenient ways to get around, with Metrobus providing connections for locations not serviced by Metrorail. Metrorail operates from 5 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Metrobus runs hundreds of routes throughout the city and the greater Washington, DC area.

Ride Share and Taxi

Washington, DC has a number of rideshare, bikeshare, and scootershare programs, which are also viable ways to get around the city.

Learn moreabout more local transportation option in DC.


The designated hotel of the Smithsonian African American Film Festival and the National Museum of African American History and Culture is The Melrose, located at 2430 Pennsylvania Ave, NW. However, Washington, DC contains a wide variety of hotels, many of which are conveniently located near Metro stations or bus routes. Find other hotels here.



Why is the National Museum of African American History and Culture hosting a film festival?

The Smithsonian African American Film Festival presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture is taking place to showcase historical and contemporary time-based media works highlighting African American and African diasporic experiences. The Film Festival also aims to foster engagement between filmmakers, scholars, and the public.

What can visitors to the Film Festival expect?

The four-day Film Festival will consist of film screenings, master classes, panel discussions, and special events. Information will be frequently updated on the Film Festival website.

How many films will be shown?

Over 80 films will be presented during the Film Festival, including films from the juried competition, invited films, and films from our collection.

Where will proceeds from the Film Festival go?

Proceeds will go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


Will the theater(s) have wheelchair accessible locations and companion seating?

Yes, every reasonable effort to provide wheelchair access will be made.

Are wheelchairs available?

A very limited number of manual wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis for use while visiting the Museum. You are encouraged to bring a wheelchair with you due to limited availability.

Accessibility Resources

The Smithsonian Accessibility Map 
- provides accessibility entrance and parking locations for museums on and near the Mall. 

Venue Specific Accessibility Information

NMAAHC Accessibility Information by Phone

  • The NMAAHC Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System accessibility information: 
    1 (844) 750-3012 (select option 6, then option 2.)


Will museum visitors be able to attend Film Festival screenings?

Visitors of the Museum will need to purchase a festival pass, screening pass or a screening ticket to attend the film screenings.  

Will members receive a discount to attend the film festival?

Yes, current members will receive a 10 percent discount off of the festival pass. Current member is defined as a member who is in good standing, meaning they have renewed their membership or joined within the past 12 months.

The discount is only being offered for the festival pass and does not apply to the other options such as the screening pass, event passes, masterclass ticket(s), or individual ticket(s).

How do I purchase tickets or festival passes and for how much?

Information about purchasing tickets and passes for the Film Festival is on our tickets page.

Can I purchase a ticket for a single event?

Yes, individual tickets for screenings will be available for purchase online in September.

Can media attend the festival?

Due to spacing limitations, a select number of media will be granted access to cover the Film Festival. Media interested in covering the Film Festival onsite should sign up here to receive media updates.

Media passes will be issued by the Museum’s Office of Public Affairs.

Will Smithsonian staff who want to attend receive a discount?

Yes, all Smithsonian Institution staff will receive a 15 percent discount off of tickets for individual screenings.

Do children need a ticket?

Yes, each person attending the Film Festival programming will need a ticket.

What happens if pass holders do not reserve tickets in advance?

Pass holders will be notified and will be allowed to select their tickets first, then tickets will be opened for sale and ticket purchasers can select at their time of purchase based on availability.

Attending the Festival

Where will the Smithsonian African American Film Festival be held?

Screenings and programming will be held at multiple locations including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Freer|Sackler Gallery of Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

Will there be parking on-site?

Smithsonian Institution does not have public parking facilities on the National Mall. A few nearby commercial lots and garages may have available parking. Maps of the area around the Museum are also available. If you must drive, please review these parking options. For additional information on bus parking, contact the National Park Service Mall Operations Office at 202-426-6841. For all other questions about visiting the Museum, please call 1-844-750-3012.

I signed up for a masterclass, what do I need to bring?

We encourage all masterclass attendees to bring any materials to assist with note taking. This includes personal electronic devices including laptops and tablets.

The following items are NOT PERMITTED in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Freer|Sackler Gallery of Art, and the National Gallery of Art:

  • tripods                  
  • monopods
  • selfie sticks
  • guns
  • 3D weapons
  • knives
  • pen knives
  • pets
  • food and drinks
  • scissors
  • aerosol cans, including pepper spray and Mace
  • tools
  • smoking
  • placards, signs, or banners

Can I document my experience at NMAAHC or the Smithsonian African American Film Festival for a later work?

The Smithsonian permits still and video photography for noncommercial use only in its museums and exhibitions, unless otherwise posted. Photography of fine art is prohibited. For the safety of our visitors and collections, the use of tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks is not permitted at any time. To assist with capturing your memories, the Museum provides a mobile application with a variety of images from our exhibitions and collections.

Working members of the media who need to use a tripod or monopod must obtain permission from the Museum’s Office of Public Affairs and must be escorted by a Museum staff member while in the building.

Notice: Visitors may be filmed, photographed, or recorded by the Smithsonian for educational and promotional uses, including for posting on the Smithsonian’s and other public websites.

I’m bringing my family with me but they will not be attending the Film Festival, will they be able to tour the Museum?

Each visitor to the Museum needs a timed-entry pass. Entry into the Museum is always subject to building capacity. Weekends and holidays are peak visitation times.

Same-day timed passes are available online, beginning at 6:30 a.m. daily. A limited number of walk-up passes are available starting at 1 p.m. on weekdays only. The line for walk-up passes forms on the Madison Drive side of the building. Walk-up passes will be distributed one (1) per person. No walk-up passes will be available on weekends due to high visitation.

Is the festival appropriate for children or younger visitors?

Smithsonian’s programming is intended for a broad audience of all ages.

Can Smithsonian staff volunteer? Who is the volunteer point of contact?

Yes, SI staff can volunteer. Please send an email to and include “Film Festival Volunteer” in the subject line.


    This festival is made possible through the generous support of our partners.