When a shipwrecked sailor, an Indian ballet dancer, a pair of escaped Afghan interpreters and an assortment of movie makers are all headed for the Vineyard in March, it can mean only one thing: The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival is back.

Beginning March 20, Grange Hall in West Tisbury is again the epicenter of a bustling five-day festival scene, with local food and live music on the ground floor and movies upstairs.

Other screenings, with local food concessions, are scheduled for the Vineyard’s two historic single-screen movie houses, the Capawock in Vineyard Haven and the Strand in Oak Bluffs.

“We’re really embracing our all-Island mission,” said Brian Ditchfield, executive director of Circuit Arts, the film festival’s parent nonprofit.

A Tattoo on My Brain was directed by local filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner.

For the first time, film festival also is presenting a live multi-media event at the high school performing arts center, with lower ticket prices for students and staff from Island schools.

“We have many more seats available than we ever have before,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

Titled The Forgotten Kingdom, the performance by the Guy Mendilow Ensemble combines animated film with live music, poetry and narration as it brings to life a mother’s letter to her daughter about life before wartime. It is scheduled for Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m.

“We’re sharing it with our entire community in a central location, where everyone can come,” festival director Minah Oh said.

“It really is world class,” Ms. Oh added.

Executive director Brian Ditchfield and programming director Minah Oh. — Ray Ewing

In all, this year’s festival features 33 screenings of more than 20 films, including shorts, documentaries and narrative dramas and comedies.

Starting March 22, Stoney Hill Pizza chef Nina Levin will be in the Grange Hall kitchen turning out lunch and dinner for festival-goers, and bringing her new Ophelia’s pastry trailer for desserts. The full menu is posted on the film festival website at tmvff.org/mealsandmusic.

Dinners will be accompanied by live music, with pianist David Stanwood performing Friday and Sunday and the MVRHS Jazz Trio on Saturday.

As usual for the 24-year-old festival, the directors, producers and documentary subjects of several films will be on hand for interviews and discussions after the screenings. Most films are pay-what-you-can.

“Once you see the person and their life story on film, there’s nothing like meeting that person, and what makes our festival so special is not only do you have the conversation with them after the film, you also get to have a meal with them at the Grange Hall and run into them at Cronig’s or run into them around the Island,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

Ghostlight screens March 22 and 23.

Documentary subjects taking part this year include solo sailor Steven Callahan, who spent nearly three months drifting 1,800 miles in an inflatable raft after a whale disabled his boat at the outset of a transatlantic passage. Mr. Callahan and producer Robert Sennott will speak after screenings of the film 76 Days, at 10 a.m. March 23 at the Capawock and 10 a.m. March 24 at Grange Hall.

Manish Chauhan, a street dancer from Mumbai who discovered a gift for ballet, will speak with audiences after screenings of Call Me Dancer, March 22 at 1:30 p.m. at Grange Hall and March 23 at 5 p.m. at the Capawock.

The documentary Interpreters Wanted tells the harrowing story of two Afghan brothers who worked as interpreters for the U.S. military and the bond they formed with soldier Robert Ham, who directed the film. All three will speak after screenings on March 23 at 1 p.m. at the Grange and March 24 at 12:45 p.m. at the Capawock.

Island documentary team Kate Davis and David Heilbroner’s latest film, A Tattoo on the Brain, explores early-onset Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of a neurologist grappling with his own diagnosis. It screens March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Grange Hall, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers.

Vineyard director Dawn Porter will talk with audiences after Luther: Never Too Much, her new documentary on musician Luther Vandross, March 22 at 7 p.m. at Grange Hall and March 23 at 8 p.m at the Strand.

Interpreters Wanted screens March 23 and 24.

Screenings of The Body Politic, which tracks Baltimore’s young mayor Brandon Scott as he seeks to dial down violence in his city at a time of national unrest following the murder of George Floyd, will be followed by conversations with the director and two of the young Baltimoreans featured in the film, March 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the Strand and March 24 at 1:15 p.m. at Grange Hall.

Opening the festival, emerging director dream hampton will speak after her documentary Underwater Projects, which takes on the impact of rising seas on Black neighborhoods in Norfolk, Va., March 20 at 4 p.m. at the Grange.

The festival’s opening night film, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Grange, is truly homegrown. Great Ponds: Finding a Better Balance is the second documentary on Island ponds produced by Circuit Arts and directed by Ollie Becker, who runs the nonprofit’s Circuit Films division. A fundraiser, tickets for this event are $125.

“The first episode of this docu-series really explored what was causing the [water quality] crisis . . . with our ponds. And now this one really starts to explore the solutions,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

Mr. Becker, Great Pond Foundation executive director Emily Reddington and Vineyard Conservation Society executive director Samantha Look will discuss the film afterward.

Along with full-length documentaries, this year’s festival offers three programs of shorts and plenty of feature films, from the magical-realist Tuesday, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus to the latest drama from British filmmaker Ken Loach, The Old Oak.

“We’ve long been tastemakers in the documentary scene, but Minah’s done a tremendous job getting narratives in the line-up,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

“We have funny and heartwarming narratives. We have thought-provoking and dramatic narratives. We have international narratives,” he said.

Ms. Oh said that while each of the films in the festival is outstanding in its own right, taken together they reveal an underlying theme of hope among this year’s submissions.

“What this idea of hope means is, alone you can get places fast, but together we can go there further,” she said. “Each film kind of illuminates that idea, whether it’s a happy or sad piece, because each film kind of tests what the individual can do [and how] once the introduction of community, family, some kind of society is interplayed, something drastic and amazing happens,” Ms. Oh said.

The complete festival schedule is posted at TMVFF.org.