Posted by Larry Gleeson

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 festival filmmakers and all passholders, the four-day AFI DOCS 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.


Marjan Safinia, Michael Lumpkin, Monica Lewinsky
 Michael Lumpkin (Photo via

“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. Louis PBS affiliate Nine Network documentary GENTLEMEN OF VISION (DIR Frank Popper). Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from distribution experts as they discuss the latest industry trends.

The Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday returns to AFI DOCS for a special program with filmmaker Michael Pack (THE FALL OF NEWT GINGRICH) to discuss how conservative documentaries connect with viewers, their impact on politics and the connection between production values and policy. Hornaday will also join the Forum for a book signing and conversation on her latest book “Talking Pictures.”

This year, the Forum will offer a special VR program at the Festival Hub and the Newseum, open to all AFI DOCS passholders. The program will include a VR Exhibition to view the best and latest in virtual reality, as well as a panel exploring how VR emerged as a powerful storytelling platform in documentary filmmaking.

The AFI DOCS Forum is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NBCUniversal and the International Documentary Association. For more information about the AFI DOCS Forum, please visit

The 15th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 14–18 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD. AT&T proudly returns this year as Presenting Sponsor of the festival. AT&T’s continued support enables AFI DOCS to connect audiences, policymakers and storytellers in the heart of our national government.



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 and connect on,, and


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(Sources:, press release courtesy of Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, and Liza Ameen, American Film Institute)




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