Posted by Larry Gleeson
103 Films From 28 Countries
Including Three World Premieres and 11 Spotlight Screenings
Will Screen June 14–18 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD
FOR 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 runs June 14–18 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD.
“The 2017 slate of films reflects AFI DOCS’ mission to celebrate powerfully told stories and the people at the heart of them,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director, AFI DOCS. “Documentaries continue to play an important role in our country regardless of partisan lines. No matter your background, these human stories have the power to inform and inspire. We look forward to another year of dynamic nonfiction cinema.”
As previously announced, AT&T — the Presenting Sponsor of AFI DOCS — will host the Opening Night East Coast premiere screening of ICARUS (DIR Bryan Fogel). The festival’s Closing Night Screening will be YEAR OF THE SCAB (DIR John Dorsey). Both films will be screened at the Newseum, the festival’s Official Gala Screening Partner.
The 15th edition of AFI DOCS will showcase 103 films representing 28 countries — including three world premieres, two international premieres, three North American premieres, seven U.S. premieres and five East Coast premieres.
This year’s program includes 11 Spotlight Screenings, a selection of some of the most anticipated documentaries of the year: the world premiere of ATOMIC HOMEFRONT (DIR Rebecca Cammisa), DOLORES (DIR Peter Bratt), AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (DIRS Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk), the U.S. premiere of MAMA COLONEL (DIR Dieudo Hamadi), the international premiere of MOSQUITO (DIR Su Rynard), NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK (DIR Dustin Harrison-Atlas), THE REAGAN SHOW (DIRS Pacho Velez, Sierra Pettengill), the U.S. premiere of RECRUITING FOR JIHAD (DIRS Adel Khan Farooq, Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen), RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD (DIRS Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana), the world premiere of TOUGH GUYS (DIRS Henry Roosevelt, W.B. Zullo) and WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME” (DIRS Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal). The festival will also feature nine virtual reality films in this year’s program as part of the VR Showcase.
Newly announced films from notable documentarians include ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM (Oscar® nominee Samuel Pollard), CITY OF GHOSTS (Oscar® nominee Matthew Heineman), I AM EVIDENCE (Oscar® nominee Trish Adlesic, Emmy® winner Geeta Gandbhir) and TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON (Oscar® nominee Rory Kennedy).
AFI DOCS also will offer special programs for festival filmmakers and audiences as a way to connect with industry and policy leaders, including the AFI DOCS Forum, open to documentary professionals and to festivalgoers, and the Impact Lab, a two-day intensive program designed for filmmakers to create broader social and political change through the power of story and film. More information about these programs will be announced soon.
In addition, AFI DOCS will host the VR Showcase, inviting audiences to participate in immersive virtual reality experiences that represent the cutting edge of documentary storytelling.
Audience Awards will be bestowed upon films based on the results of ballots cast by festival attendees. The winners of the Audience Awards for Best Feature and Best Short will be announced on Monday, June 19.
Tickets to AFI DOCS 2017 are now available exclusively to AFI members, and will be available to the public starting on May 15. Passes are now on sale to both members (at a discounted rate) and the public at AFI.com/afidocs. To become an AFI member click here.
AFI DOCS 2017 PROGRAM
OPENING NIGHT SCREENING – Wednesday, June 14
ICARUS: DIR Bryan Fogel. USA. An amateur American cyclist opts to up his game and experiment with performance-enhancing drugs. But his research leads him to a notorious Moscow lab director — and he soon finds himself entangled in the highest levels of the Russian government. East Coast Premiere.
CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING – Sunday, June 18
YEAR OF THE SCAB. DIR John Dorsey. USA. In September 1987, for the first time in U.S. history, replacement football players took the field amidst a union strike. Seen as a second chance for these “scab” players, the ’87 season became a memorable one for the Washington Redskins.
ATOMIC HOMEFRONT: DIR Rebecca Cammisa. USA. A large landfill containing both radioactive waste and an underground fire is threatening homes, health and lives in one of our major metropolitan areas. Can a group of concerned citizens prevent a potential catastrophe? World Premiere.
DOLORES: DIR Peter Bratt. USA. This film honors activist Dolores Huerta — who fought alongside Cesar Chavez to advance labor and civil rights causes beginning in the 1960s — as she reflects on the accomplishments and sacrifices of her passionate career.
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER: DIRS Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk. USA. This timely sequel to Academy Award®-winning documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (2006) takes up with former Vice President Al Gore and his efforts to educate the public — and those in power — about climate change and the crisis facing our planet.
MAMA COLONEL: DIR Dieudo Hamadi. Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the war-torn capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the headstrong Colonel Honorine Munyole leads a mission to serve and protect the women and children of her country when no one else will. U.S. Premiere.
MOSQUITO: DIR Su Rynard. Canada. MOSQUITO is an urgent exposé on humankind’s millennia-long war against one of the biggest threats to the survival of our species, and on the efforts of scientists to keep this deadly menace at bay. International Premiere.
NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK: DIR Dustin Harrison-Atlas. USA. Opening a new restaurant is not for the faint of heart. Two DC-area chefs put everything on the line to open two very different establishments — Frank Linn’s Frankly…Pizza! and Aaron Silverman’s Rose’s Luxury.
THE REAGAN SHOW: DIRS Pacho Velez, Sierra Pettengill. USA. Ronald Reagan brought a host of Hollywood savvy to the White House, with his team making unprecedented use of staged moments to inform popular opinion. Whether riding horses or grappling with Gorbachev, his administration crafted the story.
RECRUITING FOR JIHAD: DIRS Adel Khan Farooq, Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen. Norway. Journalist Adel Khan Farooq gains unparalleled and unsettling access into the shrouded world of jihadism. He shadows the young Norwegian Muslim Ubaydullah Hussain — a polarizing figure — while documenting this notorious but largely unknown world. U.S. Premiere.
RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD: DIRS Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana. This rollicking and thoughtful film about the Indian role in the history of North American music celebrates the unsung Native American and First Nation musicians who helped shape rock and roll.
TOUGH GUYS: DIRS Henry Roosevelt, W.B. Zullo. USA. Told through the colorful stories of scrappy brawlers and amateur promoters, TOUGH GUYS brings to life the birth of mixed martial arts competitions in 1980s Pittsburgh. World Premiere.
WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME”: DIRS Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal. UK. Prolific documentarian Nick Broomfield’s latest celebrity profile, co-directed by music video helmer Rudi Dolezal, is an intimate portrait of a pop star and her tragic trajectory from supremely talented New Jersey gospel singer to iconic American chanteuse.
FEATURE FILM SELECTIONS
32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE: DIR Hope Litoff. USA. In December 2008, Ruth Litoff took her own life and left behind a legacy of art, love and tragedy. Years later, her sister Hope undertakes a mission to understand Ruth’s illness and her desire to end her life. U.S. Premiere.
ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM: DIRS Reuben Atlas, Samuel Pollard. USA. This thought-provoking film tells the story of the 2008 demise of ACORN, the longstanding community activist group brought down by a right-wing undercover sting.
ANATOMY OF A MALE BALLET DANCER: DIRS David Barba, James Pellerito. USA. In this intimate portrait of an extraordinary talent, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Marcelo Gomes is at the top of his game, but knows that his body can only withstand the rigors of the profession for so long.
BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY: DIRS David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg. USA. The beloved TV personality finds himself in the fight of his life as he goes up against those seeking to debunk and diminish the scientific principles he has spent his entire career teaching.
BRIMSTONE & GLORY: DIR Viktor Jakovleski. USA. Bold, booming and beautiful, BRIMSTONE & GLORY transports viewers to Tultepec, Mexico — the country’s pyrotechnic capital — which honors the patron saint of fireworks in an eye-popping annual festival.
THE CAGE FIGHTER: DIR Jeff Unay. USA. In this unflinching and up-close portrait, a 40-year-old blue-collar dad is caught between his desire to make a comeback in mixed martial arts, and his family, who abhors his brutal hobby. East Coast Premiere.
LA CHANA: DIR Lucija Stojevic. Spain/Iceland. LA CHANA celebrates the incomparable talent and spirit of Spain’s greatest flamenco dancer as she reflects on her storied past while preparing for a return to the stage in her 70s. U.S. Premiere.
CHAVELA: DIRS Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi. USA. The triumphant late-life comeback of lesbian singer Chavela Vargas — soulful interpreter of the Mexican ranchera, renowned nightclub performer and alcoholic — secured her reputation as an artist of uncompromising passion and independence.
CINE SAO PAULO: DIR Ricardo Martensen, Felipe Tomazelli. Brazil. Once a grand movie palace, the Cine Sao Paulo in Brazil is now crumbled into ruin. Enter Dom Chico, whose father once owned the theater, as he attempts to restore it to its former glory. International Premiere.
CITY OF GHOSTS: DIR Matthew Heineman. USA. The latest film from Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND) is a harrowing and inspirational portrait of the men behind “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a group of heroic citizen journalists who are courageously fighting to bring to light ISIS’ atrocities in their hometown.
DINA: DIRS Antonio Santini, Daniel Sickles. USA. This tender story of overcoming obstacles and finding love follows a 49-year-old woman coping with autism and a fledgling romance with Scott, a Walmart door greeter. DINA garnered the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
DONKEYOTE: DIR Chico Pereira. Spain/Germany/UK. Chico Pereira’s portrait of a 73-year-old Spaniard planning a quixotic trip to the U.S. to walk the Trail of Tears with his beloved dog and donkey shows how the journey can be even richer than the destination.
DRIES: DIR Reiner Holzemer. Belgium/Germany. Style icon Iris Apfel calls him a treasure, yet few outside fashion circles know Belgian designer Dries Van Noten’s name. This artful portrait provides behind-the-scenes access to the designer’s stunning sartorial creations. North American Premiere.
THE FARTHEST: DIR Emer Reynolds. Ireland. An iconic space mission gets a cinematic treatment worthy of its impact. Through the most perilous points of the solar system and beyond, this chronicle of NASA’s Voyager program provides an awe-inspiring view of an unparalleled human achievement.
FOR AHKEEM: DIRS Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest. USA. Behind the racially charged headlines of Ferguson, MO, is 17-year-old Daje “Boonie” Shelton, a young woman from North St. Louis struggling to make it to graduation after an unexpected pregnancy.
THE FORCE: DIR Peter Nicks. USA. Winner of the Best Director prize at Sundance, Peter Nicks’ compelling exposé focuses on the Oakland Police Department as they undergo efforts to reform an agency riven by years of corruption and criminal activity.
GENTLEMAN OF VISION: DIRS Jim Kirchherr, Frank Popper. USA. Produced by St. Louis PBS affiliate Nine Network, GENTLEMEN OF VISION profiles the struggles and triumphs shared by a competitive high school step team and their determined coach as they prepare for a key competition.
THE GIRL DOWN LOCH ÄNZI: DIR Alice Schmid. Switzerland. Juggling the awkwardness of adolescence and the magnetism of a local legend, a 12-year-old girl navigates life on a Swiss family farm and dreams of searching a gorge for the titular mythological girl. U.S. Premiere.
A GRAY STATE: DIR Erik Nelson. USA. In 2010, ex-soldier David Crowley began crowdfunding an action film forewarning of a future America gone police state. He quickly became a rising star among fringe right-wing groups, all the while spiraling toward a violent, tragic and inexplicable end.
A GREEK WINTER: DIR Ingeborg Janssen. The Netherlands. In the wake of the Greek debt crisis, a spirited brother and sister from Thessaloniki must face the impossible choice of keeping their small family business afloat or helping neighbors in need. North American Premiere.
THE GROWN-UPS: DIR Maite Alberdi. Chile. In this delightful, award-winning documentary, a group of middle-aged adults with Down syndrome attend culinary classes in Chile. The students navigate life, love and making the perfect pastries, while dreaming of living independently.
I AM EVIDENCE: DIRS Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir. USA. Thousands of untested sexual assault evidence kits are languishing in storage facilities across the U.S. This urgent and eye-opening film investigates what’s being done to fight the backlog and bring perpetrators to justice.
AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN: DIRS Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla. India. Hailed as “a real-life HOUSE OF CARDS,” AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN chronicles the birth of India’s Common Man Party and the rise of its populist leader, Arvind Kejriwal, who boldly challenges government corruption.
LEANING INTO THE WIND – ANDY GOLDSWORTHY: DIR Thomas Riedelsheimer. UK. Director Thomas Riedelsheimer reconnects with artist Andy Goldsworthy, subject of his popular documentary RIVERS AND TIDES (2001), who continues his quest to create ephemeral, transformative works of art in unlikely places around the globe.
LA LIBERTAD DEL DIABLO: DIR Everardo González. Mexico. Victims and perpetrators of drug violence in Mexico offer chilling testimonies in this stunning documentary. Their masked recollections are a powerful reminder of the systemic violence that has infiltrated Mexican society. East Coast Premiere.
EL MAR LA MAR: DIRS Joshua Bonnetta, J.P. Sniadecki. USA. A poetic and enigmatic work, EL MAR LA MAR captures life and death at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing, pondering the terrain and the stories of the Sonoran Desert to understand the objects and lives left behind. East Coast Premiere.
MUHI – GENERALLY TEMPORARY: DIRS Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander, Tamir Elterman. Israel. MUHI is the deeply affecting story of a young Palestinian boy, separated from most of his family in Gaza, whose life depends on the care he receives at an Israeli hospital.
NO MAN’S LAND: DIR David Byars. USA. In 2016, a well-armed band of anti-government militants took control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. NO MAN’S LAND is the riveting account of the siege that followed and its aftermath.
NOBODY SPEAK: TRIALS OF THE FREE PRESS: DIR Brian Knappenberger. USA. Using a salacious sex-tape trial that pitted wrestler Hulk Hogan against an online tabloid, NOBODY SPEAK is a timely and critical cautionary tale about the dangers of the super rich controlling the message and the media.
NOWHERE TO HIDE: DIR Zaradasht Ahmed. Iraq/Norway/Sweden. A hospital worker films life in central Iraq’s “triangle of death” after American forces leave in 2011, capturing unforgettable images of his family’s survival and providing a brave view of a chaotic and brutal war zone.
THE OPPOSITION: DIR Hollie Fifer. Australia. In this riveting David-and-Goliath tale, a community of native Papua New Guineans battle developers who try to claim their homeland for a seaside tourist resort. U.S. Premiere.
THE PARIS OPERA: DIR Jean-Stéphane Bron. France/Switzerland. Documenting a season at the Paris Opera — a period set against terror attacks, ballet corps mutiny and a bull preparing for its stage debut — this portrait captures the majesty and chaos of a grand artistic institution.
QUEST: DIR Jonathan Olshefsky. USA. Following a close-knit family in Philadelphia’s inner city as they face innumerable struggles from the 2008 election to today, QUEST shows how much can change — and how much can remain the same — over the course of eight years.
RESURRECTING HASSAN: DIR Carlo Guillermo Proto. Canada/Chile. A family of blind street musicians cope with the death of their youngest member. As their lives fall apart, they attempt to find a way to bring their fallen kin back from the dead. U.S. Premiere.
SAVING BRINTON: DIRS Tommy Haines, John Richard, Andrew Sherburne. USA. As small-town historian and collector, Michael Zahs lucked into a rare collection of turn-of-the-century cinema. Now turning his obsession into purpose, Zahs sets out to restore and exhibit his treasure trove of newsreels, home movies and lost films. World Premiere.
SCHOOL LIFE: DIRS Neasa Ní Chianáin, David Rane. Ireland. For nearly five decades, eccentric and brilliant couple Amanda and John have nurtured legions of students through Headfort, Ireland’s last boarding prep school. They contemplate a future away from this rambling and beloved place of deep roots.
SPETTACOLO: DIRS Jeffrey Malmberg, Chris Shellen. USA. A delightful portrait of small-town Italian life, SPETTACOLO follows the residents of a tiny hilltop town in Tuscany who come together each summer to mount an original play about their own lives.
STEP: DIR Amanda Lipitz. USA. Meet the “Lethal Ladies,” the amazing step dance team from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, who are determined to become the first women in their families to go to college.
STILL TOMORROW: DIR Fan Jian. China. A farmer born with cerebral palsy, Yu Xinhua has been called China’s Emily Dickinson. Although fame brought her financial independence, Yu struggles to obtain a divorce while yearning for true love.
STRAD STYLE: DIR Stefan Avalos. USA. An amateur violinmaker living in rural Ohio mounts the seemingly impossible task of creating an exact replica of the classical music world’s most famous violin in time for a famed European virtuoso’s upcoming tour.
STRONG ISLAND: DIR Yance Ford. USA/Denmark. Yance Ford’s searing, deeply moving and personal journey explores the circumstances surrounding his brother William’s 1992 Long Island death by a white mechanic and the deep wounds caused by the incident’s aftermath.
A SUITABLE GIRL: DIRS Sarita Khurana, Smriti Mundhra. India/USA. Tradition, modernity and gender roles converge in this honest portrait of three young women in India as they — and their parents — contemplate their marriage prospects, careers and future happiness.
TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON: DIR Rory Kennedy. USA. TAKE EVERY WAVE tells the incredible story of big-wave surfing pioneer Laird Hamilton. Filmmaker Rory Kennedy juxtaposes a wealth of archival footage along with a breathtaking view of Hamilton’s current surfing adventures off the island of Kauai.
TROPHY: DIRS Shaul Schwarz, Christina Clusiau. USA. As man forces more animals to the edge of extinction, the search for how to save them has become only more complex. TROPHY is a dark journey into the global commodification of big game animals in Africa and the consequences that result.
UNREST: DIR Jennifer Brea. USA. When a mysterious illness robs newlywed and Harvard grad student Jennifer Brea of the life she dreamed of living, she reaches out to others grappling with a little-understood disease that primarily afflicts women.
WAITING FOR THE SUN: DIR Kaspar Astrup Schröder. Denmark. The children of China’s death row inmates face social stigma and few options. Enter Grandma Zheng, a former prison guard, whose orphanage Sun Valley provides a second chance for a normal life. North American Premiere.
WHAT LIES UPSTREAM: DIR Cullen Hoback. USA. Cullen Hoback’s trip to his home state of West Virginia to find out why the drinking water in Charleston has developed a strange smell turns into an eye-opening investigation into the dismal state of America’s water supply. East Coast Premiere.
THE WORK: DIRS Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous. USA. The top documentary prizewinner at SXSW, this remarkable vérité film follows a mixed group of “outsiders” and inmates as they undertake an intense four-day therapy session inside Folsom Prison.
SHORT FILM SELECTIONS
116 CAMERAS: DIR Davina Pardo. USA. A remarkable digital project enables a Holocaust survivor to share her story and interact with generations to come.
ALL GOOD THINGS: DIR Chloe Domont. USA. Middle-aged and polyamorous, Maria navigates the quirks of her unique relationships with husband Ron and boyfriend David.
BALANCÉ: DIR Ian Winstanley. UK. BALANCÉ is a beautifully choreographed dance with Birmingham Royal Ballet soloist Laura Tye Purkiss that explores the intersection of motherhood and a career where your body is the tool of your trade.
BALLOONFEST: DIR Nathan Truesdell. USA. In 1986, an armada of balloons was unleashed over the city of Cleveland, causing mayhem for days to come.
BETWEEN THE SAND: DIR John Picklap. USA. Director John Picklap examines artist Jean-Paul Bourdier, who travels to remote locations in the desert to create visually stunning artworks combining photography, sculpture, dance and body art.
CLOSE TIES: DIR Zofia Kowalewska. Poland. A comically cantankerous older couple is reunited after years of estrangement. As a landmark anniversary approaches, a lifetime of milestones and missteps is reexamined, for better or for worse.
CUCLI: DIR Xavier Marrades. Spain. A widowed truck driver finds companionship through a peculiar relationship with his pet dove.
EDITH + EDDIE: DIR Laura Checkoway. USA. Edith and Eddie are an interracial couple from Virginia who found love in their mid-90s. Can their bond withstand an uncaring system that endeavors to drive them apart?
EDUCATION: DIR Emi Buchwald. Poland. The simple act of Polish children memorizing a poem for school opens a universe of questions, pushing the kids to their limits as they struggle to meet the challenge.
ELECTION NIGHT: DIR Ryan Scafuro. UK. ELECTION NIGHT revisits the evening of November 8, 2016, at a London pub, capturing the reactions of locals expressing their shock, anger or support over the results.
A FEW THINGS ABOUT ROBERT IRWIN: DIR Lisanne Skylar. USA. A pioneer of the Light and Space movement, artist Robert Irwin defies expectations with his immersive work.
FIRST POLE ON MARS: DIR Agnieszka Elbanowska. Poland. A middle-aged Polish man plans a mission and a move to Mars. Will his peculiar dream inspire support or scorn from his fellow villagers?
FISH STORY: DIR Charlie Lyne. UK. FISH STORY investigates the 1983 opening of the Anglesey Sea Zoo in Wales, where an unlikely group of people with one thing in common came together.
THE FORESHORE: DIR Jonathan Beamish. UK. Searching for random items that wash up on the shores of London’s Thames River, passersby become at once scavengers, treasure hunters, voyeurs and guardians to lost items in need of remembering.
THE FORGER: DIRS Samantha Stark, Alexandra Garcia, Pamela Druckerman. USA. Adolfo Kaminsky spent his life doing his best work in secret, starting during World War II. Hunted himself, he forged documents to save hundreds of children from Nazi deportation.
GORAN THE CAMEL MAN: DIR Marcin Lesisz. Poland. Goran and his curious caravan are camped next to a highway telephone pole while rubbernecking motorists race past. The camel protests, but the other members of the menagerie don’t seem to mind.
GUT HACK: DIRS Mario Furloni, Kate McLean. USA. A young man with chronic gastrointestinal problems undertakes a radical and controversial “biohacking” experiment to replace his body’s natural microbiome with bacteria collected from another person.
HAND.LINE.COD: DIR Justin Simms. Canada. Centuries-old “handline” fishing doesn’t fit into the commercial model. As sustainability issues loom over the industry, old techniques and new ideas blend in the waters off Canada’s Fogo Island.
THE HANGING: DIR Geoffrey Feinberg. Russia/USA/Germany. Young people in Moscow called “roofers” go to dizzying heights to scale skyscrapers built by Stalin. Nicknamed the “Russian Spiderman,” 19-year-old Kirill takes viewers along for the climb.
HAVANA HOUSE: DIR Gaspar González. USA. Jossie Alonso dutifully cares for her late husband’s family home, which stands as a testament to their enduring love and a time capsule of 1950s Cuba.
HOMELAND: DIR Sam Peeters. Belgium. As terrorism and fear of refugees stoke the fire, rumblings of nationalism can be felt among the serene Flemish suburbs.
HOW THE AIR FEELS: DIR Khaula Malik. USA. A woman breaks the silence over a painful family secret, embarking on a journey alongside her mother and sister to heal and bring an abusive spiritual guru to justice.
JOE BLAUSTEIN AND THE FLOOD OF FLORENCE: DIR Alan Griswold. USA. In 1966, an American tourist witnessed a devastating flood. Rediscovered decades later, his photographs became a priceless record of an event that threatened one of the world’s greatest collections of art.
THE KODACHROME ELEGIES: DIR Jay Rosenblatt. USA. Luxurious Kodachrome film captured the times of our lives for generations of postwar Americans, from home movies to sophisticated art projects — and on a day when everything changed in Dallas.
KOJO: A SHORT DOCUMENTARY: DIR Michael Fequiere. USA. Kojo is a loveable and precocious jazz prodigy. When he’s not at home in New York, he’s touring the world, which serves as both stage and classroom.
LADY EVA: DIRS Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson. Tonga. LADY EVA focuses on a hopeful contestant in a pageant for “leitis” — transgender women in Tonga.
LIFE, DEATH AND CHEERLEADING: DIR Claire Tailyour. UK. Sun City is home to The Poms, a group of parade-marching women, from 55 to 85 years old, who defy age with sequins, high kicks and courage in the face of mortality.
LONG TERM PARKING: DIR Lance Oppenheim. USA. Arriving and departing from LAX is a different experience for those living in the airport’s long-term parking lot in stationary mobile homes. Amenities aside, the residents reflect on what home means to them.
MONUMENT | MONUMENTO: DIR Laura Gabbert. USA. This powerful short centers on a meeting point between the Mexico/U.S. border, where families on either side can catch a fleeting glimpse of their loved ones through a mesh wire fence.
THE MOVING CAMERA PROJECT: DIRS Andrew Moynehan, Chelsea Moynehan. USA. Polish artist Maciej Markowicz takes us on a journey through New York as he captures the wonders of the city using a giant camera in the unlikeliest of places.
MY DAUGHTER NORA: DIR Jasna Krajinovic. Belgium/France. A desperate mother waits for word from her daughter, who has fled to Syria to fight for jihad.
PICKET LINE: DIR Cecilia Aldarondo. USA. Striking workers at the Momentive chemical plants in Waterford, NY, rethink their decision to vote for Trump given his plans to weaken labor unions.
THE PRICE OF CERTAINTY: DIR Daniele Anastasion. USA. In times of social and political uncertainty, humans seek answers that offer one absolute truth — but at what cost?
THE RABBIT HUNT: DIR Patrick Bresnan. USA. This breathtaking portrait of African-American culture in the rural South focuses on a Florida family’s remarkable endeavor.
RIDERS OF THE WELL OF DEATH: DIR Erik Morales. India. Fairgoers watch in awe as brave motorists defy the laws of gravity at a carnival in India.
SHIVANI: DIR Jamie Dobie. USA. SHIVANI follows the titular toddler, who is also a reigning archery champ in her native India.
STYROFOAM: DIR Noah Sheldon. USA. Guo Jie shares her daily routine as a Styrofoam box reseller — and veritable stuntwoman — on the streets of Shanghai.
THE TABLES: DIR Jon Bunning. USA. NYC’s Bryant Park is home to a pair of popular ping-pong tables and the diverse players who are passionate about their pastime.
“THE TALK” TRUE STORIES ABOUT THE BIRDS & THE BEES: DIR Alain Delannoy. Canada. This hilarious animated romp looks at a group of men recalling their awkward parental “talk,” which did little to unmask the mystery.
TURTLES ARE ALWAYS HOME: DIR Rawane Nassif. Lebanon. A woman and her camera reflect on the idea of home from an unusual vantage point in the Middle East.
WAITING FOR HASSANA: DIR Ifunanya Maduka. Nigeria. Most of the schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group are still missing. Escapee Jessica shares the horror of being stolen and the heartbreak of waiting for news of her best friend.
WINTER’S WATCH: DIR Brian Bolster. USA. An off-season caretaker at a remote New England lodge relishes the quiet beauty of her surroundings, capturing their solitary splendor on film.
AFTER SOLITARY: Lead Artists: Cassandra Herrman, Lauren Mucciolo. USA. What’s it like in solitary confinement? In this intense volumetric VR experience, go inside Maine State Prison to hear Kenny Moore’s harrowing story of his time in solitary and what happened when he got out.
CHASING CORAL: THE VR EXPERIENCE: Lead Artist: Jeff Orlowski. USA. VR takes immersion to new depths by following scuba diver and researcher Zackary Rago as he hunts for visual proof of climate change and discovers the unprecedented 2016 bleaching event at the Great Barrier Reef.
MELTING ICE: Lead Artist: Danfung Dennis. USA. Al Gore takes you on a transcendent exploration of the devastating consequences of our changing climate. Stand on the Greenland ice and observe the melt.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S THE PROTECTORS: WALK IN THE RANGER’S SHOES: Lead Artists: Kathryn Bigelow, Imraan Ismail. USA. The last line of defense for elephants targeted by poachers and facing extinction, courageous rangers in the Garamba National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo find themselves in constant danger..
OPERATION ASPEN: Lead Artist: Danfung Dennis. USA. VR cameras follow activists from Direct Action Everywhere as they document the conditions inside a factory farm holding thousands of egg-laying hens and attempt to rescue two injured animals.
THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE: Lead Artists: Felix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël. CANADA. Barack and Michelle Obama host a virtual reality tour through the White House, from the West Wing to the private residences, while reflecting on their time in the building and recounting its profound history.
UNDER THE CANOPY: Lead Artists: Conservation International, Jaunt. USA. UNDER THE CANOPY invites you to explore the extraordinary landscape of Amazonia as guided by the indigenous inhabitants of the forest who are essential to its protection.
UNDERWORLD: Lead Artists: Francesca Panetta, Nicole Jackson, Andrew Mason. USA. Go urban exploring in the sewers of London and try to find your way back to the surface in this immersive game experience that is also a fascinating history lesson in what lies beneath London’s streets.
WE WHO REMAIN: Lead Artists: Trevor Snapp, Sam Wolson. USA. The first character-driven VR film shot in an active conflict zone, WE WHO REMAIN immerses viewers in the lives of four people struggling to survive a forgotten war in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan.
About AFI DOCS
AFI 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. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 15th year, the festival will be held June 14–18, 2017, in landmark Washington, DC, venues and at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD. Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS, youtube.com/AFI and instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.
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(Source: Press release provided by Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, and Liza Ameen, American Film Institute)