The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival is back for another season, this time with twice the programming. In addition to the usual Wednesday night screenings, the festival will have Monday night double features.

“It’s been this desire of ours to do more, and then we said, wait a minute, why don’t we just do another night?” Thomas Bena, executive director of the festival, said.

Festival opens on June 28 with The Discovery, directed by Charlie McDowell.

He continued: “We’ve never had so many good films that we didn’t want to say no to.”

Mr. Bena said that many of the films will address pressing, topical issues. He mentioned the August 9 screening of Whose Streets?, a film about the killing of Michael Brown and subsequent protests in Ferguson, Mo. as an example. Following the screening, Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, will lead a discussion.

Ms. Cullors is just one of many speakers who will travel to the Island to engage with audiences after the screenings. Director Doug Liman, a seasonal resident of Chilmark, will present his latest film The Wall on July 15, and also take part in a Q&A.

Opening night for the summer series is Wednesday, June 28, and will highlight three films by seasonal residents of the Island. Charlie McDowell will screen The Discovery, which he directed and co-wrote. Mr. McDowell said Martha’s Vineyard played a large role in the development of the film.

“The original idea was to shoot on the Vineyard,” he said. Logistics and financial constraints got in the way, though, so the film was shot in Newport, R.I.

For Akheen screens on July 5, discussion to follow with film subject and director.

“We wanted it to be in a place that revolves around these summer months in terms of tourism, but what does it look and feel like when it’s not that time of year.”

The off-season imagery provides a fitting backdrop for the plot and themes of the film. Its central premise is that a scientist, Dr. Thomas Harbor, has definitively proven the existence of an afterlife, which is euphemistically referred to as “the discovery.”

Though Dr. Harbor has not determined what the afterlife entails, the very proof of its existence leads to a massive spike in suicides. The mere promise of an escape—any alternative from a bleak, known reality—is alluring enough. The film incorporates romance, mystery and science fiction to explore obsession, regret and the divisions between fantasy and reality.

Mr. McDowell acknowledged the challenges of creating a project that grapples with such difficult themes.

“How do I balance making a film about a character and also these huge, massive ideas? That was the hardest part for me, honestly.”

Documentary Mr. Chibbs, about basketball player Kenny Anderson, screens July 1.

The film is rife with nautical allusions and features a star-studded cast including Jason Segel, Rooney Mara and Robert Redford. Mr. McDowell’s mother, Mary Steenburgen, has a cameo. She will moderate a discussion with Mr. McDowell following the screening.

Mr. McDowell said he is honored to be included in the festival, especially considering his ties to the location, the Chilmark Community Center, where he used to be a camp counselor.

Also screening on opening night is All These Voices, a short film directed and written by David Henry Gerson. The movie is set in post-liberation Poland. A theatre troupe happens upon their old playhouse, where they explore the possibility of acting once again.

The second full-length feature of the evening is Peter Stray’s Canaries, a film that was partially shot on-Island that blends the genres of comedy and horror as the plot of an alien invasion unfurls. A discussion with Mr. Stray will follow.

Later screenings this summer include a documentary on basketball player Kenny Anderson called Mr. Chibbs which screens on July 1. Mr. Anderson and director Jill Campbell will lead a discussion after the film. Obit. screens on July 10, a documentary about the New York Times obituary writers, with a discussion afterwards led by director Vanessa Gould. I Am Not Your Negro about the writer James Baldwin screens on July 19, with a discussion led by Henry Louis Gates.

Director Doug Liman presents his latest film, The Wall, on July 15.

Director and producer Lynn Novick will participate in a Sunday night program on August 13 at the Tabernacle previewing her docu-series The Vietnam War, which she created with Ken Burns. The Tabernacle screening is one of a few outdoor events scheduled for the season. There will also be screenings at Niantic Park, Menemsha Beach, the Beach Plum Inn and Owen Park.

There are plenty of programming options for younger film buffs too. In addition to the six scheduled Cinema Circus events each Wednesday evening, beginning July 5, the festival is offering camps for aspiring filmmakers.

The packed summer schedule is the result of months of soliciting submissions, pre-screening and planning, said Brian Ditchfield, the managing director of the festival. “It’s this wild combination that results in us watching hundreds and hundreds of films to whittle it down to these 36 programs.”

The season kicks off on Wednesday, June 28 at 6 p.m. with dinner and live music at the Chilmark Community Center prior to the 7 p.m. screening of The Discovery. Tickets are $10 for members and $20 for general admission. A full schedule is available online at