Bring Them Home directed by Ray Whitehouse and Kate Woodsome
Bring Them Home directed by Ray Whitehouse and Kate Woodsome

The DC/DOX documentary film festival set to take place June 15-18, 2023 in Washington, DC, revealed the slate of films for DC/FRAME, a special festival program curated in partnership with HumanitiesDC.

DC/FRAME will feature films made by documentary filmmakers from the Washington metropolitan area, celebrating Washington, DC and telling stories that demonstrate a deep resonance with the city: its people and places, arts and culture, politics and policy.

“DC/DOX and HumanitiesDC are proud to partner on DC/FRAME,” said DC/DOX co-founder and festival director Sky Sitney. “DC/FRAME embodies the festival’s mission to celebrate the power of documentary film as both an art form and a way to shed light on important issues, and what better messengers to do that than filmmakers from right here in DC.”

“Washington, DC is the nation’s most important political hub, but it’s also a thriving city made up of diverse communities who have fascinating and culturally important stories to tell,” said Rebecca Lemos Otero, HumanitiesDC’s Executive Director. “In partnering with DC/DOX for the DC/FRAME program, we hope audiences can see all the facets of what makes this city great reflected in these films.”

The inaugural DC/DOX festival will be held June 15-18, 2023 in Washington, DC.



Friday, June 16, 5:30 pm, Eaton Cinema
Lost & Found explores the profound impact of losing one’s home – be it a physical, an emotional, or an ancestral home – and the journey to find one’s way back. Through three thought-provoking films, this program introduces individuals and communities grappling with the loss of home, whether it be through the harrowing experience a family fighting for the return of a beloved father and husband who has been taken hostage, the new discovery of shared ancestry among enslaved people, or the impacts of gentrification on a building and neighborhood.


BRING THEM HOME: DIRS Ray Whitehouse and Kate Woodsome.
Americans Emad and Bahareh Shargi never expected their family to be torn apart by the global effort to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But while visiting the country of their birth, Iranian security forces took Emad hostage as a pawn in the proliferation talks. Bahareh and her daughters are now forced into unlikely roles, navigating Iran’s shadowy authoritarian system — and complex U.S. diplomatic and domestic politics — to try to free Emad. With more Americans now held hostage by foreign governments than by terrorist groups, BRING THEM HOME is an intimate window into a fast-shifting geopolitical landscape.

PARK REGENT: DIR Victoria Broadus.
PARK REGENT tells the story of a historic building and its longtime residents and staff at a crucial turning point in their lives. The film poignantly reveals how the building and its community reflect many layers of DC history, and highlights the strong community bonds forged in a place that might appear disparate and lonely — a building of mostly small studio apartments.

FINDING US: DIR Kathryn Carlson.
Georgetown University sold hundreds of enslaved people to stave off bankruptcy, scattering families across the South, never to see each other again. With the help of DNA databases, their descendants are reconnecting six generations later. FINDING US is a portrait of four descendants who are using their unique talents to regrow the family trees felled nearly two centuries ago.


Saturday, June 17, 5:30 pm, Eaton Cinema
Rhythms of Resilience shines a spotlight on the vibrant artistic spaces and visionary creators who have profoundly shaped Washington, DC’s cultural landscape, transcending time and inspiring generations to come. This program introduces a master bass player who remains a stable fixture of his neighborhood; the transformative influence on a generation of musicians by a groundbreaking record label; and the resounding impact of a coffeehouse that continues to resonate deeply with LGBTQ artists of color across borders and through the ages.


SPANISH JOE REMEMBERS is a video poem in four parts, dedicated to the unsung jazz legends of Washington DC, including Zapata, María Rodriguez and Lawrence Wheatley. Told through the perspective of Pepe Gonzalez, an exuberant storyteller who grew up in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood and found music as a way off the streets.

FIERCENESS SERVED! THE ENIKALLEY COFFEEHOUSE profiles the history of a Black LGBTQ performance venue and rehearsal space for artists and a meeting place for Black Gay and Lesbian political organizations in Washington DC from the 1980s to mid-90s. The ENIKAlley Coffeehouse, once located in the now-gentrified H Street N.E. neighborhood, was the epicenter of a DC cultural renaissance that paralleled the Harlem Renaissance. The Coffeehouse operated during a time of significant political ferment in Washington DC, at the height of the AIDS and crack epidemics.

The Black Fire Record company was founded in 1975 by Jimmy Gray and J. Plunky Branch, two iconic names in the music business, synonymous with creativity and commitment. Black Fire Records was established to amplify and produce culturally relevant jazz and progressive original music for the Washington, DC community. This small, independent label would go on to revolutionize the music business, nationally and internationally. RADIO, RHYTHMS, AND REVOLUTION recounts the story of the label’s founders and the musicians, producers, and radio personalities they influenced. The film depicts iconic images of the 1970s and 80s and speaks to how the music and activism of that era shaped the terrain of the independent music business and paved the way for innovative jazz, hip-hop, deejays, and Afro-future creatives.


Sunday, June 18, 5:30 pm, Eaton Cinema
I Did It My Way unveils the remarkable stories of individuals who defy societal norms and redefine the boundaries of what is possible. Delve into the lives of fearless trailblazers who forge their own paths, from a female gangster who reigns over a lucrative gambling ring in 1950s DC, to a one-wheel riding wonder who defies expectations. Witness the inspiring journey of one of NASCAR’s youngest drivers, and immerse yourself in the vanishing world of Black Washington through the captivating lens of photographer Steven Cummings.


Allen Woods, otherwise known as the OneWheel Bandit, rides his bike around town, impressing every passerby with his one-wheeled magic.

ODESSA’S REIGN: DIR Robin N. Hamilton.
Odessa Madre, nicknamed Queen of the Underworld, was a prosperous numbers runner and a key figure in a lucrative gambling ring in Washington, DC in the 1950s. Leading the paper chase gave her prestige within the mob, power in her neighborhood, and control over the men charged with enforcing the law – all while being an African American woman in a segregated city. A biography woven with a cautionary tale, ODESSA’S REIGN delves into the story of a multi-faceted woman who became one of the most powerful women in DC’s history and challenged the idea of what a lady could be and how far she could go.

How do you take a still picture and tell a whole story? A CHOCOLATE LENS chronicles Steven Cummings’s photographic journey through a disappearing Black Washington. His approach is simple: use the camera lens to find the power amidst the storm. His images are a love letter to Black people across America.

Rajah Caruth wasn’t supposed to be a NASCAR driver. As a Black kid growing up in Washington DC., he had no connections and little representation in the industry. Determined to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a driver, he pursued the only path he saw available: virtual racing. He made a name for himself in the online world of iRacing, leveraging his rapidly growing talents and personal brand into a spot in a real-life race car. In the few short years since Caruth first got into a car, he has risen to NASCAR’s penultimate racing series, with his sights set at the top. This short documentary tells his story and follows him as he prepares for a bold new chapter in his racing career.

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