March On Washington Film Festival

A film festival striving to inspire activists and honor the heroines of the Civil Rights Era


The March on Washington Film Festival is a social change film festival that focuses on themes related to the historic March on Washington, striving to inspire activists and honor the heroes of the Civil Rights Era. In addition to film screenings, the festival includes panel discussions and live musical performances to bring film, music and keynote speakers together for this powerful event.

The inaugural festival in 2013 in Washington, D.C., was extremely successful and attracted more than 1,000 attendees over the course of two weeks. In its second year, the festival needed to raise awareness for the D.C. festival as well as an additional festival in New York. The challenge was breaking into a new market and motivating a new region of people to participate in the event.


  • The inaugural festival attracted more than 1,000 attendees
  • Both D.C. and NYC festivals had sold-out attendance every night

The Strategy

The Wakeman Agency was retained one week after the start of the first festival, which allowed us to produce impressive results over a six-week period. Based on the D.C. festival’s success the previous year, we knew that the festival’s engaging format and quality of speakers alone would spark interest within the community, but we needed to increase public awareness of the event to maximize attendance.

Working closely with festival organizers to generate support for the events, we created a comprehensive PR campaign that focused on energizing public interest in viewing the films featured at the festival. We leveraged our media contacts in New York and D.C. to raise awareness about both festivals and help boost visibility within each of the appropriate media markets.

Targeted media relations served as a major aspect of the push to drive attendance, as we were able to secure interviews with NPR, Inside City Hall and other prominent local media sources.

The Results

Both the D.C. and New York festivals had sold-out attendance every night, allowing the event’s message to motivate a wide audience of impassioned activists.

Schedule a confidential consultation to learn how our strategic communications offerings can elevate your organization’s impact.