Posted by Larry Gleeson
AFI DOCS has announced its Opening and Closing Night films, and Centerpiece and Special Screenings — with AT&T returning as Presenting Sponsor of the festival for the fifth consecutive year.
For its 16th edition, AFI’s annual celebration of documentary film in the nation’s capital will open with the world premiere of PERSONAL STATEMENT (DIRS Juliane Dressner and Edwin Martinez) and will close with UNITED SKATES (DIRS Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown).
This year’s program also includes ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW (DIR Rory Kennedy) as the Centerpiece. The four Special Screenings will be the world premiere of THE COLD BLUE (DIR Erik Nelson), KINSHASA MAKAMBO (DIR Dieudo Hamadi), MR. SOUL! (DIRS Sam Pollard and Melissa Haizlip) and WITKIN & WITKIN (DIR Trisha Ziff).
The Opening Night screening of PERSONAL STATEMENT will be held on June 13 at the Newseum and will be followed by a Q&A with directors Juliane Dressner and Edwin Martinez. The film centers on three Brooklyn high school seniors who are working as college counselors in their schools because many of their classmates have no one else to turn to for support.
The Closing Night screening of UNITED SKATES will be held on June 17 at the Landmark E Street Cinema and will be followed by a Q&A with directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown. The film chronicles the fight to save roller-skating rinks, which have played a critical role in modern African-American culture.
The Centerpiece screening of ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW will take place at the National Air and Space Museum. As NASA heads into its 60th anniversary, filmmaker Rory Kennedy looks back at the men and women who have built the institution, and whose boundless curiosity drives scientific progress forward.
Tickets to AFI DOCS, including Opening Night and Closing Night screenings, are now on sale at AFI.com/afidocs.
Descriptions of the films are below.
OPENING NIGHT SCREENING
CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING
UNITED SKATES: Roller-skating has played a critical role in modern African-American culture, with rinks serving as both a haven of community and of artistic expression, and a flashpoint in the civil rights movement. UNITED SKATES chronicles the fight to save these rinks, and the souls of communities nationwide.
ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA‘S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW: Rory Kennedy tells the stories of the women and men behind the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s decades-long exploration of our solar system, our universe and our planet, in this enlightening film that celebrates NASA’s triumphs, mourns its tragedies and affirms the importance of its mission both in space and on Earth.
*Featured photo UNITED SKATES