AFI DOCS 2019 ANNOUNCES OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS AND SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY

and

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

to Bookend Five-Day Festival in Nation’s Capital

AT&T Returns as Presenting Sponsor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 9, 2019, 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 as well as the Special Screenings for its 17th annual edition.  The festival is proud to also announce the return of AT&T as Presenting Sponsor for the sixth consecutive year.  AFI DOCS 2019 will open with the world premiere of HBO’s TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, directed by Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt, and will close with RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS, directed by Janice Engel.  AFI DOCS runs June 19–23, 2019, in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD.

This year’s program also includes five Special Screenings: SEA OF SHADOWS, CHASING THE MOON, AMERICAN FACTORY, TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM and RUTH – JUSTICE GINSBURG IN HER OWN WORDS.

“We found ourselves this year with a wealth of powerful films focused on the most intriguing individuals, from a crusader for justice in Alabama to a brazen political commentator in Texas,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Festivals. “We are thrilled to invite our audiences to share in the extraordinary journeys of Bryan Stevenson and Molly Ivins, two unique personal portraits that also explore the society in which we all live.”

AT&T’s continued support enables AFI DOCS to connect audiences, policymakers and storytellers in the heart of our national government.

The Opening Night screening of TRUE JUSTICE:  BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY will be held on June 19 at the National Archives’ McGowan Theater and will be followed by a Q&A with subject Bryan Stevenson.  The film is an intimate portrait of Mr. Stevenson — Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama — who has dedicated his life to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.

The Closing Night screening of RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS will be held on June 23 at the Navy Memorial’s Burke Theater and will feature a Q&A with director Janice Engel.  The film tells the story of Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble who took on “good old boy” corruption wherever she found it.

OPENING NIGHT SCREENING

TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY:  DIRS & PRODS Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt.  USA.  Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, has dedicated his life to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.  He and his staff have won reversals, relief or release for more than 140 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row.  World Premiere.

CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS:  DIR Janice Engel.  PRODS James Egan, Janice Engel and Carlisle Vandervoort.  USA.  Molly Ivins was six feet of Texas trouble.  RAISE HELL illustrates how both sides of the political aisle were engaged and enraged by her sharp commentary and her understanding that “polarizing people is a good way to win an election and good way to wreck a country.”

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

SEA OF SHADOWS:  DIR Richard Ladkani.  PRODS Walter Köhler and Wolfgang Knöpfler.  Austria.  Featuring everything from Mexican drug cartels to the Chinese Mafia, this environmental thriller is every bit as gripping as any pulp novel but with real world consequences for the imperiled vaquita (the world’s smallest whale) and for local fisherman in the Sea of Cortez. With fewer than 10 vaquita left in the world, time is running out.

CHASING THE MOON:  DIR & PROD Robert Stone.  USA.  This World Premiere utilizes a visual feast of previously overlooked and “lost” archival material to reimagine the race to the moon for a new generation, upending much of the conventional mythology surrounding the effort.  World Premiere.

AMERICAN FACTORY:  DIRS Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert.  PRODS Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello.  USA.  This riveting story highlights the clash of cultures at a shuttered GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, which has been reborn as an auto glass factory owned by a giant Chinese company.

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM:  DIR Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.  PRODS Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Johanna Giebelhaus, Chad Thompson and Tommy Walker.  USA.  The legendary writer reflects on her life and career through the themes of history, art, literature and race.

RUTH – JUSTICE GINSBURG IN HER OWN WORDS:  DIR Freida Lee Mock.  PRODS Freida Lee Mock and Meghan Hooper.  USA.  Relying on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s own words, as illuminated by carefully culled archival footage and interviews, Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock crafts an intimate profile that covers the full breadth of Ginsburg’s life, views and career.  Furthermore, Mock succeeds in creating a compelling portrait as authentic, poignant and powerful as the Justice herself.  World Premiere.

 

Tickets to AFI DOCS, including Opening Night and Closing Night screenings, will be available beginning May 15, 2019.  Passes for AFI DOCS 2019 are now on sale at AFI.com/afidocs.  More information about AFI DOCS screenings and other special events will be announced in the coming weeks.

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, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 17th year, the festival will be held June 19-23, 2019, in landmark Washington, DC, venues, Landmark Theatres E Street Cinema and at the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD.  Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS, youtube.com/AFI and instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About the American Film Institute

The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.  AFI’s founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.

About AT&T Communications

AT&T is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2019 AFI DOCS. 

We help family, friends and neighbors connect in meaningful ways every day. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to mobile video streaming, we innovate to improve lives. We have the nation’s fastest wireless network.** And according to America’s biggest test, we have the nation’s best wireless network.*** We’re building FirstNet just for first responders and creating next-generation mobile 5G. With DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and WatchTV, we deliver entertainment people love to talk about. Our smart, highly secure solutions serve nearly 3 million global businesses – nearly all of the Fortune 1000. And worldwide, our spirit of service drives employees to give back to their communities. For 10 years, we’ve supported AFI’s commitment to honor the heritage of film and the artists who make them.  And through a variety of programs, we’re focused on giving amateur and underrepresented filmmakers the support they need to succeed.

AT&T Communications is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). Learn more at att.com/CommunicationsNews.

CONTACT:

Elizabeth Ward, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598, elizabeth@prcollaborative.com

Ryan Lattanzio, American Film Institute, 323.856.7619, RLattanzio@AFI.com

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