Press Releases

  • LAURA POITRAS NAMED 2017 GUGGENHEIM HONOREE BY AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE

    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.com/afidocs.About 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.

  • THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES AFI DOCS 2017 FORUM

    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.

  • AFI DOCS 2017 REVEALS FULL SLATE OF FILMS

    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.

  • AFI DOCS 2017 ANNOUNCES OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS

    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.

Videos

AFI DOCS OFFERS FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Pioneering Documentary Filmmaker Stanley Nelson to be Honored at the Guggenheim Symposium

Spotlight Screenings Include MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED and THE DIPLOMAT

Day Two of the Filmmaker Conference

Washington, DC, Friday, June 19, 2015 — AFI DOCS presents a full schedule of Friday events that include the Charles Guggenheim Symposium celebrating Emmy Award®-winning documentarian Stanley Nelson.  The Guggenheim Symposium, which is free and open to the public, will include a presentation of Nelson’s work and a discussion and Q&A with the legendary filmmaker.  Also featured are Spotlight Screenings of MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED from director Greg Whiteley and THE DIPLOMAT from director David Holbrooke.  The two-day Filmmaker Conference concludes Friday at the Hotel Monaco.

WHAT:           GUGGENHEIM SYMPOSIUM
                     The Guggenheim Symposium will pay tribute to pioneering documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson

WHO:             Filmmaker Stanley Nelson, moderator Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post’s movie critic, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero and AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale                  

WHEN:              Friday, June 19, 2015
                         6:00 p.m. Press check-in
                         7:00 p.m. Symposium begins

WHERE:             National Archives, William G. McGowan Theater, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (Special Events Entrance) Washington, DC            

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

3:00 p.m. at the Naval Heritage Center:  The American education system has remained virtually unchanged for more than 100 years.  In today’s highly competitive age of information and technology, experimental schools such as San Diego’s High Tech High aim to change that.  The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss will moderate the panel including director Greg Whiteley and executive producer Ted Dintersmith. 

THE DIPLOMAT SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

8:30 p.m. at the National Portrait Gallery:  The son of the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke unflinchingly examines the career of his brash and talented father, whose life had global reach and unquestioned historical impact.  The panel will include director David Holbrooke and producer Stacey Reiss, moderated by The Atlantic's Steve Clemons.

Space is limited for Guggenheim Symposium and screenings.  Media wishing to attend screenings or Guggenheim Symposium should RSVP to gabrielle@prcollaborative.com and afidocspr@gmail.com.

FILMMAKER CONFERENCE:  DAY TWO

1:00–4:00 p.m.  Filmmakers and industry professionals meet for the final day of the Filmmaker Conference in the Paris Ballroom at the Hotel Monaco, 700 F St. NW, Washington, DC, for a series of conversations ​​and presentations on the documentary field.  Friday's Filmmaker Conference schedule will include:

Meet the Funders Micro Meetings
Filmmakers will meet one-on-one with representatives from some of the industry's most sought-after documentary funders.  Funders scheduled to participate include Cal Humanities, Catapult Film Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Creative Capital, The Harnisch Foundation, the International Documentary Association, ITVS, LEF Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Sundance Documentary Fund.

Expanding the Reach and Visibility of Indie Film on PBS
PBS representatives will discuss the renewed commitment to expand the reach and visibility of independent documentaries on PBS.  They will also explain how these decisions will be implemented, what changes they will likely bring to the independent documentary landscape on PBS, and discuss how filmmakers can best position themselves to take advantage of future opportunities on public television.

Photos and a recap for the day’s events will be made available for download in the Press Room of AFI.com/AFIDOCS.com.

A LOOK BACK AT THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday, June 18, AFI DOCS kicked off the two-day Filmmaker Conference at the Hotel Monaco.  Day one of the conference included a full day of filmmaker conversations and presentations on the documentary field.

Thursday's festival film programming included the world premieres of THE THREE HIKERS and Discovery's RISE: THE PROMISE OF MY BROTHER'S KEEPER.  THE THREE HIKERS film subject/hiker Josh Fattal and film subject Nora Shourd, mother of hiker Sarah Shourd, joined director Natalie Avital for a post-screening panel discussion at the Naval Heritage Center.

OTHER FRIDAY EVENTS:

12:00 p.m.  KING GEORGES
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
Take a look behind the scenes of five-star French restaurant Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, run by its famously demanding owner and chef, Georges Perrier.  Expected guests include director Erika Frankel and film subject Georges Perrier.

12:00 p.m.  IN TRANSIT
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
Legendary documentary pioneer Albert Maysles captures a cross-section of people in transitional stages of life as they journey across America by train.  Expected guests include directors Lynn True, Nelson Walker and David Usui.

12:15 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 3:  PARENTAL GUIDANCE
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
Featuring CROOKED CANDY, MIDNIGHT THREE & SIX, COBBLER, LETTING YOU GO, A CONVERSATION WITH MY BLACK SON, THE LAND.  Expected guests include COBBLER co-producer Priya Giga, A CONVERSATION WITH MY BLACK SON directors Blair Foster and Geeta Gandbhir and THE LAND director Erin Davis.

1:15 p.m.  THE CHINESE MAYOR
AFI SILVER THEATRE 1
Mayor Geng Yanbo has ambitious plans to refurbish and develop the Chinese city of Datong. But progress comes with a price.

2:00 p.m.  THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
Was Chernobyl really an accident?  Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich investigates an unusual conspiracy theory behind the infamous disaster.  Expected guests include director Chad Gracia and film subject Fedor Alexandrovich.

2:15 p.m.  ALTHEA
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
Tennis great Althea Gibson rose from the tough streets of Harlem to become the first athlete of color to win Wimbledon.  Rex Miller’s documentary tells the story of a strong and resilient champion.  Expected guests include director Rex Miller, editor/producer Elisabeth Haviland James and film subject Lange Johnson.

2:30 p.m.  PROPHET'S PREY
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
Filmmaker Amy Berg examines the alarming allegations surrounding the rogue polygamist religious sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) and its incarcerated leader, Warren Jeffs.  Expected guests include producer Katherine LeBlond.

2:30 p.m.  THE STORM MAKERS
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
Through revealing interviews with victims and perpetrators, filmmaker Guillaume Suon exposes the human-trafficking industry in Cambodia that ensnares tens of thousands of victims annually.

3:30 p.m.  3 1/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS
AFI SILVER THEATRE 1
The 2012 murder of African-American teen Jordan Davis by a middle-aged white man, following an argument over loud music, sparked a national debate about Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law.  Expected guests include director Marc Silver and film subject Lucy McBath.

4:15 p.m.  PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
Born into New York’s prominent Guggenheim family, Peggy Guggenheim made her own mark as one of the premier art collectors and exhibitors of her day.

4:15 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 1:  TOO MUCH TIME
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
Featuring THE TIMEKEEPER, SANDORKRAUT, HANGAR B, KATSUO-BUSHI, THE 414S: THE ORIGINAL TEENAGE HACKERS, A WEE NIGHT IN and BORN TO BE MILD.  Expected guests include THE TIMEKEEPER director Katherine Wells, cinematographer Sam Price-Waldman and film subject Demetrios Matsakis, SANDORKRAUT director Emily Lobsenz, HANGAR B director Thomas Beug, KATSUO-BUSHI producer Mika Nishide, THE 414S director Michael T. Vollmann and producer Chris James Thompson, A WEE NIGHT IN director Stuart Edwards and BORN TO BE MILD film subject Leland Carlson.

4:30 p.m.  UNCERTAIN
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
Stunningly beautiful and disarmingly funny, UNCERTAIN delivers a portrait of the literal and figurative troubled waters of Uncertain, Texas, a 94-resident town on the brink of extinction.  Q&A with filmmakers Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol via Skype.

5:00 p.m.  REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD: AMERICAN SPRING 2014
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
During the spring of 2014, more than 8,000 individuals lost their lives to gun violence in the United States.  REQUIEM focuses on these gun tragedies, weaving a series of vignettes from police footage, 911 calls and social media.  Panel discussion with directors Nick Doob and Shari Cookson; Colin Goddard, Senior Policy Advocate at Every Town for Gun Safety and Chelsea Parsons, Vice President, Guns and Crime Policy at Center for American Progress; moderated by Roll Call’s Jason Dick.

6:00 p.m.  FRAME BY FRAME
NAVAL HERITAGE CENTER
Four photojournalists in Afghanistan work to re-establish a free press after years of oppression under the Taliban regime.   The panel includes co-directors Alexandra Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, photojournalist Najibullah Musafer and associate producer Baktash Ahadi, moderated by The Washington Post photojournalist Nikki Kahn.  The Washington Post Strand.

6:15 p.m.  DRONE
AFI SILVER THEATRE 1
Drone technology has been a highly controversial issue in recent years as it has come to define the modern War on Terror.  Expected guests include director Tonje Hessen Schei, producer Jonathan Lie and film subject Brandon Bryant.

6:30 p.m.  PEACE OFFICER
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
A former Utah sheriff investigates the increased militarization of police forces following the death of his son-in-law during a police standoff.  Expected guests include directors Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber and film subject Dub Lawrence.

6:45 p.m.  FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
Filmmaker Sharon Shattuck explores her father’s gender identity struggles and how her parents have remained married through it all.  Expected guests include director Sharon Shattuck and producer Martha Shane.

6:45 p.m.  REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
Noam Chomsky offers a riveting discourse on income inequality and its devastating effects, which threaten to erode democracy itself.  Expected guests include directors Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott.

8:30 p.m.  CARTEL LAND
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
A citizen vigilante group in Mexico fights back against the encroaching drug cartels, which have brought widespread fear, violence and corruption to the area for years.  The panel includes director Matthew Heineman, moderated by The Washington Post Political Features Writer Manuel Roi-Franzia. The Washington Post Film Strand.

8:30 p.m.  WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?
AFI SILVER THEATRE 1
Nina Simone trained as a classical pianist but evolved into one of jazz music’s most beloved and complex figures.  Lending her voice to the civil rights movement, Simone battled demons that ultimately drove her into a self-imposed exile.  Expected guests include producer Jayson Jackson.

9:00 p.m.  OUT TO WIN
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA
The world of professional sports has long been dogged by a reputation of homophobia, steeped in the fear that openly gay players provide a potential “distraction” to the other teammates.  However, times are changing.  Expected guests include director Malcolm Ingram and executive producer Sarath Samarasekera.

9:00 p.m.  HOT TYPE:  150 YEARS OF THE NATION
NAVAL HERITAGE CENTER
Two-time Oscar® winner Barbara Kopple tracks the iconic progressive weekly The Nation from its 1865 founding by abolitionist Republicans to present-day challenges facing print media of all stripes.  Expected guests include director Barbara Kopple.

9:00 p.m.  FRESH DRESSED
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
This fun and colorful history of hip-hop fashion looks at how the fresh trends that were born on urban streets found their way into mainstream America.  Expected guests include director Sacha Jenkins.

9:00 p.m.  RIDE, RISE, ROAR
SILVER SPRING’S FOUNTAIN PLAZA
Filled with great performances, RIDE, RISE, ROAR goes beyond “concert film” to deliver a rare look into the creative process of enigmatic musician David Byrne, along with his frequent collaborator, Brian Eno.  Free outdoor screening.

9:15 p.m.  AMONG THE BELIEVERS
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
Within Pakistan’s borders a violent clash of ideologies between radical Muslim extremists and moderates is shaping the path of the country’s future.  Expected guests include directors Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvil and producer Jonathan Goodman Levitt.

American Airlines is the official airline of AFI and a proud sponsor of the festival.  The Washington Post is proud to be a major media sponsor and presenter of The Washington Post Film Strand at AFI DOCS.

About the National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government and the American people.  From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people.  The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, Presidential Libraries and online at http://www.archives.gov.

The Charles Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film at the National Archives was established in 2004 in honor of four-time Oscar®-winner and past president of the National Archives Foundation, Charles Guggenheim.  The Center’s mission is to advance public understanding of the process, challenges and social impact of documentary filmmaking and to promote the education of young people and professionals.  The Center is both a living legacy of an internationally acclaimed producer and director and an extension of America's premier resource for documentary film research.

About AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in the Washington, DC area.  Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the seat of our nation’s government.  The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, D A Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 13th year, the festival will be held June 17–21, 2015 in landmark Washington, DC venues and the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD.  Visit AFI.com/afidocs and connect on twitter.com/afidocs, facebook.com/afidocs and youtube.com/AFI.

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute, founded in the White House Rose Garden in 1965, is an educational arts organization committed to excellence in film.  AFI is America’s promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.  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 43rd 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; year-round exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world renowned AFI Conservatory.  For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

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CONTACT:
Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598 or gabrielle@prcollaborative.com
Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, 323.856.7885 or LAmeen@AFI.com