Press Releases


    AFI DOCS Will Celebrate Academy Award®-Winning Documentarian on June 16FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 23, 2017, WASHINGTON, DC — The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that AFI DOCS will pay tribute to Laura Poitras — the groundbreaking filmmaker best known for her Academy Award®-winning Edward Snowden portrait CITIZENFOUR (2014) — as the festival's 2017 Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree.Each year, the AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium honors a master of the nonfiction art form.  Taking place at the Newseum on June 16, the Symposium will include an in-depth conversation with Poitras along with clips from her acclaimed works.  Poitras' latest film RISK (2016), a six-year project following WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was released by Neon on May 5 and will air on Showtime this summer.  Poitras' impressive documentary catalog also includes THE OATH (2010), MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY (2006) and FLAG WARS (2003). "Poitras has the extraordinary instinct and ability to put her camera in the heart of history as it unfolds, regardless of the risk," said Michael Lumpkin, Director, AFI DOCS.  "Using her keen eye, Poitras reveals worlds just beyond what we can see.  We are honored to celebrate her remarkable career and dedication to the documentary form." Poitras' first feature-length documentary, FLAG WARS, was nominated for an Emmy® and won a Peabody Award, cementing her stature as a top-notch documentarian from the outset.  Next, she was nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Academy Award® for MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, the first installment in her post-9/11 trilogy.  In 2015, Poitras won the Academy Award® for CITIZENFOUR.  That same year, Poitras co-founded Field of Vision, an entity that commissions and creates original short-form nonfiction films about global events. Poitras joins a renowned list of Guggenheim Symposium honorees:  Charles Guggenheim (2003), Barbara Kopple (2004), Martin Scorsese (2006), Jonathan Demme (2007), Spike Lee (2008), Albert Maysles (2009), Frederick Wiseman (2010), Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker (2011), Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (2012), Errol Morris (2013), Alex Gibney (2014), Stanley Nelson (2015) and Werner Herzog (2016).AFI DOCS is proud to have AT&T return as this year's Presenting Sponsor.  Passes and tickets to AFI DOCS, including the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, are now on sale at AFI DOCSAFI DOCS is the American Film Institute's annual documentary festival in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year's best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S.


    Forum Features Spotlight on Virtual Reality, Canadian Docs, Impact of Conservative Docs, Nonfiction Podcasts and More  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 22, 2017, WASHINGTON, DC — The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced the 2017 AFI DOCS Forum.  Open to all AFI DOCS passholders and festival filmmakers, the four-day Forum will take place June 15–18 at the AFI DOCS Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center in Washington, DC.  The Forum will present a variety of networking and professional development events for filmmakers, industry professionals and those with a passion for nonfiction storytelling.  Highlights include an examination of the rising surge of conservative documentaries, virtual reality presentations, talks on funding, female-focused docs and much more."We are excited to present a thought-provoking program of panels and presentations to attendees of the AFI DOCS Forum," said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI DOCS.  "Filmmakers and documentary film-lovers will convene to discuss the state of the industry, the latest trends and address the issues facing nonfiction storytellers today.  The Forum offers the unique opportunity to connect filmmakers and industry insiders outside of the movie theater."The Forum will offer presentations examining topics such as nonfiction storytelling in a "post-truth" world; emerging trends in documentary funding; and the latest programs to support women-centered initiatives in documentary filmmaking.Additional Forum programming includes a panel with AFI DOCS Canadian filmmakers to discuss Canada's role in creating the documentary form; a panel with short-documentary filmmakers and funders to discuss and support the model; a session with NPR on nonfiction podcasts; and a documentary case study and screening of the St.


    103 Films From 28 Countries Including Three World Premieres and 11 Spotlight Screenings Will Screen June 14–18 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MDFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 12, 2017, WASHINGTON, DC — The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced the full slate of films for AFI DOCS 2017, a five-day documentary celebration in the nation's capital.  Each year, the festival is committed to providing artists with the opportunity to present powerfully told, artfully constructed stories — and to connect audiences and filmmakers with policy leaders.


    Bryan Fogel's ICARUS and John Dorsey's YEAR OF THE SCABto Bookend Five-Day Festival AT&T Returns as Presenting Sponsor  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 4, 2017, WASHINGTON, DC — AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute's annual documentary celebration in the nation's capital, has announced the Opening and Closing Night films for its 15th annual edition.




All-Day Forum:  AFI Catalyst Sessions: The Art of Moving Reality

First-Ever:  AFI DOCS Film and Politics Bootcamp on Capitol Hill

Washington, DC, Thursday, June 20, 2013 – AFI DOCS presented by Audi presents a full schedule of events that includes the festival’s gala screening of HERBLOCK – THE BLACK & THE WHITE, directed by Michael Stevens; four AFI Catalyst Sessions dedicated to public discourse and the inaugural AFI DOCS Film and Politics Bootcamp which brings filmmakers to the U.S. Capitol Building to meet with members of Congress.  These events and the festival screenings further AFI DOCS’ mission to bring filmmakers, our nation’s leaders and audiences together in the heart of Washington, DC.


Filmmaker Michael Stevens paints a lively portrait of influential Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block whose distinguished 55-year career spanning 13 presidents earned him three Pulitzer Prizes and the Medal of Freedom.  Luminaries, including Carl Bernstein, Lewis Black, Ben Bradlee, Ted Koppel, Jon Stewart and Bob Woodward contribute their insights into Block’s life, work and indelible influence.  The film’s director, Michael Stevens, and producer George Stevens, Jr., Founder of the American Film Institute, will attend along with notables in the film.

WHO:          Michael Stevens, Filmmaker
                   George Stevens Jr., Producer, AFI Founder
                   Bob Gazzale, President & CEO, American Film Institute                                          Notable subjects featured in the film

WHEN:        Thursday, June 20, 2013
                   6:45 p.m. Press Check in
                   7:15 p.m. Photo Opportunity
                   7:30 p.m. Screening

WHERE:      Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

Space is limited for screening and reception.  All media may not be accommodated.  Media wishing to attend the screening or red carpet arrivals should RSVP to Lauren Selman at

American Airlines, the official airline of AFI, is a proud sponsor of AFI DOCS presented by Audi


10:00 a.m. Filmmaker Ariana Delawari and producers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Emily Lynch present WE CAME HOME.  Afghan-American musician, Ariana Delawari, shares the personal story of how she re-connected with her homeland in this thought-provoking film.  Born in Los Angeles, Delawari’s life is turned upside down after 9/11.  When her parents move back to Kabul, she spends a decade documenting their transition and her own awakening, through music, to her Afghan heritage.

10:00 a.m. WHAT IS AN AMERICAN? (Immigration Catalyst Session)

As an extension of the AFI DOCS feature DOCUMENTED, an esteemed collection of our Nation's top policymakers and immigration reform advocates join to discuss and debate Immigration Reform and its role in America's present political culture.  Featuring Jim Avila, Senior National Correspondent for ABC News, Jose Antonio Vargas (Filmmaker, DOCUMENTED), Maria Teresa Kumar, Founding Executive Director of Voto Latino.

10:00 a.m. FILM AND POLITICS BOOTCAMP ON THE HILL.  The Bootcamp gives filmmakers a behind the scenes look at how Washington works as well as an opportunity to meet with DC insiders from the major sectors of influence in Washington.  The Workshops will be held at the U.S. Capitol Building and hosted by Members of Congress, followed by lunch and opportunities to engage directly with relevant policy makers.

11:15 a.m. Filmmaker Camilla Magid presents WHITE BLACK BOY. The sun is among the least of his worries for Shida, a Tanzanian boy with albinism.  Because witchdoctors believe in the mystical power of albinos’ limbs, the white-skinned are often hunted for a bounty.  WHITE BLACK BOY looks at Shida’s first year at a boarding school, where he is momentarily safe from harm.  North American Premiere.

11:45 a.m. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION? (Education Catalyst Session)

Educators and policymakers assemble to discuss the state of education reform in America.  The panel will focus on issues surrounding the High School Drop-Out Crisis and discuss solutions looking towards the future.  Featuring Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Bernardo Ruiz(filmmaker, THE GRADUATES), Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association and Sarita Brown, President of Excelencia in Education (TBC)

12:00 p.m.  Filmmakers AJ Schnack and David Wilson present WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS. Branson, Missouri, is one of America's most popular tourist destinations where people from all over the country flock to enjoy a return to old-fashioned down-home wholesome entertainment. Amid the abundance of kitschy stage and music shows are an eclectic group of talented performers who have dedicated themselves to the show business Mecca of the Midwest. Come meet the colorful people who call Branson home and must cope with an uncertain future as the town faces economic adversity.

12:15 p.m. Filmmaker Marc Wiese presents CAMP 14: TOTAL CONTROL ZONE. Little is known about the shadowy world of North Korea, but former prisoner Shin Dong-hyuk has lived to tell his harrowing story.  Born inside a North Korean “death camp,” Shin knew of no other reality beyond the barbed-wire fences that encompassed a life of fear, hard labor, starvation and torture.

1:15 p.m. Filmmaker Matt Wolf and co-producer Andrew Goldman present TEENAGE. Those magical and often difficult years between childhood and adulthood didn’t always have a label.  In fact, the word “teenager” didn’t even exist until 1945.  This fascinating documentary, based on the Jon Savage book of the same name, illuminates the period in which teenagers emerged to claim their unique place in history.

1:30 p.m. WHAT IS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY? (Intellectual Property Catalyst Session)

Leaders from political, legislative and artistic sectors join to discuss the future of Intellectual Property rights in America's evolving digital culture.  Featuring John Simson, American University Business School, Grammy Foundation and Patricia Aufderheide, Professor in the School of Communication at American University and Director of the Center for Social Media.

3:00 p.m. On July 22, 2011, Norway experienced its deadliest attack on native soil since World War II.  Through intimate interviews with survivors of the tragedy and the families of victims, John Appel’s powerful film WRONG TIME WRONG PLACE takes a haunting look at the result of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

3:00 p.m. Filmmakers Banker White and Anna Fitch present THE GENIUS OF MARIAN. White’s mother Pam is slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease, which is the same fate that befell her own mother Marian, a noted artist, before her.  In this intimate portrait of a woman at her most vulnerable, Pam works to help preserve a meaningful personal legacy before it is too late.



Celebrating AFI DOCS' featured screening of HERBLOCK - THE BLACK & THE WHITE, tracing the life and legacy of editorial cartoonist Herbert Block, a distinguished panel of artists, journalists and politicians join to discuss to discuss the role of humor in politics and how poking fun at our democracy influences the national conversation.  Featuring George Stevens, Jr. (Producer, HERBLOCK), Nick Galifianakis, cartoonist, writer and columnist for the Washington Post, Jason Grumet, President, Bipartisan Policy Center, and Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die.

3:30 p.m. Filmmakers Patrick Creadon, Christine O'Malley and film subjects present IF YOU BUILD IT. A David and Goliath story for the recession era, IF YOU BUILD IT documents a year in the innovative “Studio H” architectural program.  The film examines the work of Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller who give the teens of a crumbling rural town a chance to build a better future. Jen Hughes, a design specialist for National Education Association (NEA), moderates a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers and subjects (pending).

5:30 p.m. Filmmaker Dan Krauss and subjects Eric Montalvo and Dr. Stephen Xenakis present THE KILL TEAM, a powerful portrait of wartime atrocities and the men who commit them.  This riveting film focuses on an American platoon in Afghanistan who waged a campaign of terror against the Afghani civilians they were sworn to protect.  A chilling look at the madness of war that very few will forget.


6:00 p.m. Filmmakers Samantha Buck and Danielle DiGiacomo and subject Janet Mino present BEST KEPT SECRET, introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Erik, Rahamid and Kareem, among others, have found an unexpected haven in a Newark, New Jersey public high school where a fiercely dedicated staff supports students such as themselves with autism and learning disabilities.  Looming over them, however, is a ticking clock where at the age of 21 they will “age out.”  After the screening, Erik Scott Badesch, President & COO of Autism Society, filmmakers and subjects will take part in a Q&A session.

7:45 p.m. Filmmaker Greg “Freddy” Camalier presents MUSCLE SHOALS. Filmmaker Greg “Freddy” Camalier chronicles the unique sound that emerged from the Deep South of 1960s America that would attract some of the most diverse musical talent of the time.  The place was Muscle Shoals, Alabama and this is the story of how its sound, and the people who created it, left its mark on music history. 

7:45 p.m. In EXPEDITION TO THE END OF THE WORLD filmmaker, Daniel Dencik follows a motley crew of scientists and artists as they set sail for the frozen fjords of Northeast Greenland, which are accessible only because of the melting ice cap.  The stunning, unexplored landscapes of the Arctic form the backdrop of this madcap expedition to the end of the world.

8:45 p.m. Filmmaker Lucy Walker presents THE CRASH REEL.  A mere two months before the 2010 Winter Olympics, game-changing pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury that derailed his life, career and a much-anticipated rivalry with competitor Shaun White.  Oscar®-nominee Lucy Walker’s engaging, intimate portrayal of Pearce’s recuperation explores the understated heroism of a recovering champion.

About AFI DOCS presented by Audi
AFI DOCS presented by Audi (formerly Silverdocs) is an internationally recognized event that honors excellence in filmmaking, supports the diverse voices and free expression of independent storytellers and celebrates the power of documentary to improve our understanding of the world.  Now in its 11th year, the festival is embarking on a transformational chapter in its history with an expansion into landmark Washington, DC venues and with the AFI Catalyst Sessions which serve as stimuli for national public discourse and an opportunity to engage our nations leaders with filmmakers striving to shine a light on the greatest issues of today.  The festival historically has attracted over 27,000 documentary enthusiasts, policy-makers and thought leaders.  Visit and connect on, and

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.  AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.  AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film – now in its 41st year; AFI Awards, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI Fest presented by Audi, AFI Docs presented by Audi and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world renowned AFI Conservatory, renowned for the quality of its instructors and speakers, and its notable alumni. 

For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI at, and

About Audi
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles.  AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally.  Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S.  Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products, facilities and technologies.  Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.