THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES AFI DOCS OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS
Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville's BEST OF ENEMIES and
Jessica Edwards' MAVIS! to Bookend AFI DOCS 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 12, 2015, WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the American Film Institute (AFI) announced Magnolia Pictures’ BEST OF ENEMIES, from director Robert Gordon and Academy Award®-winning director Morgan Neville (20 FEET FROM STARDOM), as the Opening Night film at AFI DOCS. HBO’s MAVIS! from AFI DOCS alumna director Jessica Edwards has been named the Closing Night film selection.
AFI DOCS kicks off on June 17 with the Opening Night Gala and screening of BEST OF ENEMIES at the Newseum, followed by a discussion and Q&A with filmmakers Gordon and Neville. BEST OF ENEMIES features William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal's explosive debates during the 1968 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, aired live on ABC News. The documentary masterfully captures the dawn of pundit television as it is known today.
The festival concludes on June 21 with the Closing Night screening of MAVIS! at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, followed by a discussion and Q&A with director Jessica Edwards. Edwards returns to AFI DOCS after screening her short film SELTZER WORKS in 2010.
MAVIS! is the first documentary on gospel and soul music legend, and civil rights icon, Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers. The documentary features live performances and conversations with collaborators including Chuck D, Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy and more. Mavis Staples' message of family and equality is just as powerful now as it was when she began performing 60 years ago.
"We are delighted to present these exceptional films to open and close this year’s festival," said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI DOCS. "BEST OF ENEMIES and MAVIS! both feature remarkable people who have made a mark on this country. These films will certainly inspire audience dialogue while providing great entertainment, both of which we embrace at AFI DOCS."
Tickets to the Opening Night and Closing Night screenings are now available exclusively to AFI members. Tickets to these screenings will be made available to the public at AFI.com/afidocs tomorrow. More information about AFI DOCS screenings and other special events will be announced in the coming weeks.
As previously announced, AFI DOCS's 13th edition will run June 17-21 in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, MD. For the past 12 years, AFI DOCS has made its mark as a prestigious festival known for its programming and remarkable exhibition experience. Filmmakers, industry leaders and audiences have come to recognize AFI DOCS as a hub for exceptional storytelling.
AFI DOCS is proud to have AT&T return as this year's presenting sponsor.
In addition, AFI DOCS official sponsors include American Airlines — the official airline of AFI, NBCUniversal and VIZIO.
The Washington Post is the major media sponsor of AFI DOCS.
About the Newseum
The mission of the Newseum is to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through education, information and entertainment. One of the top attractions in Washington, DC, the Newseum’s 250,000-square-foot news museum offers visitors a state-of-the-art experience that blends news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits. The Newseum Institute serves as a forum for First Amendment study, exploration and education. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit newseum.org or follow on facebook.com/Newseum and twitter.com/newseum.
About the National Portrait Gallery
The mission of the National Portrait Gallery is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation's history, development and culture. The National Portrait Gallery, part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, is located at Eighth and F Streets NW, Washington, DC. Smithsonian Information: 202.633.1000. Website: npg.si.edu.
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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