For three days only, Delaware cinephiles will have front-row seats for newly-released independent and documentary films.

The WilmFilm Festival returns to Wilmington this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with more than 50 screenings of 16 films at the Penn Cinema theater at the Wilmington Riverfront. 

Film fans can catch the Oscar-nominated film "Philomena," as well as the Oscar-winning documentary "20 Feet From Stardom." In addition to nationally-distributed films like these, locally and regionally-produced films are scheduled as well.

"One of the local filmmakers has curated five or six films, all made by local or regional filmmakers under the title 'Delaware Shorts,'" said festival organizer Barry Schlecker.

Because of the state's small size, independent films and documentaries are often difficult to find on Delaware movie screens. While some independent movies do get screenings at Theatre N in downtown Wilmington, they don't play for very long.

"Living in Delaware, I was always frustrated," Schlecker said. "If you’re not home that weekend, you miss it. My goal was to bring independent and documentary films to one weekend, then see them all in one weekend." 

For die-hard film fans who want the whole experience, a full-festival ticket is also available.

"We have some people who buy a festival pass for $75, and stay there all weekend. And can literally see 20 films," said Schlecker. 


Schlecker talks more about WilmFilm on this week's First on WHYY TV at 5:30 and 11, Friday night.