Category Archives: #AFIDOCS

COMMAND AND CONTROL

How do you manage weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? It’s the great dilemma the world has faced since the dawn of the nuclear age. From the director of the groundbreaking film Food, Inc., and the executive producer of the Oscar-nominated film Last Days in Vietnam, comes Command and Control, the long-hidden story of a deadly accident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in 1980. The chilling documentary features the minute-by-minute accounts of Air Force personnel, weapon designers, and first responders who were on the scene that night, and recounts the feverish efforts to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States. (http://www.commandandcontrolfilm.com/)

Director Robert Kenner ratchets up the tension in a film that is both a thrilling disaster movie and a probing documentary about the threat posed by aging nuclear warheads in our midst. The action centers on a true account of a nuclear accident in 1980 and the workers who raced to repair a damaged missile before it exploded. Suspenseful and thought-provoking, COMMAND AND CONTROL is a compelling cautionary tale. — Mark Page

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COMMAND AND CONTROL is screening at AFI DOCS on Saturday, June 25th, 2016 at 3:00 P.M. at Landmark 1. For more details visit: Command and Control

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NEWTOWN

On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and murdered 20 schoolchildren and six educators. In the aftermath of the killings, filmmaker Kim Snyder traveled to Newtown and trained her lens on a grieving community, following several families who came face to face with tragedy. NEWTOWN reveals both the indelible scars gun violence leaves behind and the resilience of people who come together to heal.  — Vicki Warren

Filmed over the course of nearly three years, the filmmakers use unique access and never before heard testimonies to tell a story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history on December 14, 2012. NEWTOWN documents a traumatized community fractured by grief and driven toward a sense of purpose. Joining the ranks of a growing club to which no one wants to belong, a cast of characters interconnect to weave an intimate story of community resilience.

NEWTOWN, a 2016 AFI DOCS Spotlight Screening, is scheduled to show on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, at 5:45 P.M. at the Newseum.

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“You won’t truly understand gun violence until you see the NEWTOWN documentary.” – Esquire

“A breathtaking gut punch. This film is an important historical record, and an important reminder of an event in American history that could have changed everything, that should have changed everything. NEWTOWN is a crucial reminder of that.” – Indiewire

For more details visit: Newton/AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

 

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CHECK IT Advance tickets sold out @AFIDOCS

The AFI DOCS Spotlight Screening of Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer’s riveting documentary, Check It, has sold out its advance ticket sales for its Saturday, June 25th, 9:00 P.M. show at the downtown, Washington, D.C., Newseum. However, there will be a standby line at the screening for any unclaimed seats.

Brief synopsis of Check It

In the heart of the nation’s capital, the Check It is a street gang comprised of gay and transgender teens who support each other in the face of outside bullying, attacks and discrimination. The group struggles with an existence underscored by violence, poverty and prostitution, but when a young mentor comes into their lives, he endeavors to help them find a more productive outlet: through the creative world of fashion. Finally faced with a better option, the Check It members must now attempt to beat the odds by getting off the street and working toward lives of purpose and accomplishment. — Chuck Willett

#AFIDOCS Interview: AFTER SPRING Directors Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez

AFTER SPRING looks at the brutal war in Syria, which has contributed to the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with nearly 60 million people fleeing the conflict. Many escape to Europe while others find themselves in limbo in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp — the largest such camp in the Middle East. Homesick yet haunted by the violence they’ve witnessed, they fear their children may become a “lost generation.” Many struggle with dwindling resources as others become entrepreneurs, finding creative ways to generate income in the camp, while awaiting a permanent home.

AFI spoke to the filmmakers ahead of the AFI DOCS premiere of AFTER SPRING, which is their first feature together. Head to the film’s website for more info.

What inspired you to tell this story?

Martinez: I went to high school in Damascus, Syria, and spent over eight years living in the Middle East. As the conflict in Syria escalated, I was extremely frustrated by how the media failed to talk to the Syrian people and show the human side of the story. Everything was so politicized while thousands of refugees were fleeing to neighboring countries. When an aid organization at the refugee camp Zaatari invited us to Jordan to film, we knew we had to figure out a way to go and help tell a different side to this story.

Ching: I always gravitated towards stories surrounding humanitarian issues but it wasn’t until I spent time at the camp that I began to understand how close this hit to my personal history. My grandma was a refugee in China at the end of World War II. She never liked to label herself as a refugee, and, to me, she was just Grandma, but I remember growing up with all of these stories of her “fleeing war” — the soldiers marching through her neighborhood, the few things she brought with her, the journey on the boat. And it wasn’t until I started hearing very similar stories from the people we met at Zaatari that I began to make this connection. And the fact that this story is representative of so many people’s histories, whether it is the current generation or from more than 70 years ago, is so powerful.

How did you find the subject(s) in your film?

We were so inspired by the people we met working and living at the camp — from the aid workers struggling tirelessly to keep the camp running, to the families who risked everything to get to the camp and are now trying to rebuild their lives as best they can.

What was a particular obstacle you faced while making the film?

Our film is mostly in Arabic and Korean. We do not speak either of those languages. Being able to put all our trust in our translators, making sure we got everything we needed on location, and then having to put it all together in the edit was a constant challenge. Overall, we had 24 translators contributing to the film. We didn’t want to rely on narration and felt it was important for the families to be able to share their own stories and experiences. This actually led to some of our favorite parts of the film, where the families share their home videos from their time back in Syria.

What do you want audiences to walk away with after screening your film?

We hope this movie will help people better understand what it means to be a refugee. The families in our film had happy, fulfilling lives back in Syria before they were forced to flee. No one chooses to become a refugee and we hope our documentary can help audiences put a human face to this issue that is so often generalized in the media. We hope it will inspire some of our audience to get involved with organizations doing work to help in this refugee crisis.

Why do you think Washington, DC, is a valuable location to screen your film?

Some members of Congress have sought to halt refugee admissions to Syrians and to date, the United States has only let in one fifth of its pledged number of 10,000 Syrian refugees for 2016. Being able to screen in Washington, DC, and to meet and invite decision-makers who are directly involved in policies related to resettlement and humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees has potential to influence real change.

AFTER SPRING plays AFI DOCS on Thursday, June 23, 1:00 p.m., and Friday, June 24, 4:15 p.m. Buy tickets here.

{Source: American Film Magazine (blog)May 25, 2016}

 

ALMOST SUNRISE: Demonstrates the Power of Meditation & Nature in Healing “Moral Injury” of War

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Inspiring New Documentary Almost Sunrise and Its Immersive Impact Campaign

Demonstrates the Power of Meditation & Nature in Healing “Moral Injury” from War

DC Premiere at AFI Docs:

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Thursday, June 23 at 4:00 p.m. at Landmark E Street Cinema (Theatre 1)

Friday, June 24 at 6:45 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (Theatre 3)

From the Emmy-Nominated Filmmakers of Give Up Tomorrow

Once in a while, a film comes along that breaks from the genre. War documentaries are usually somber pieces that explore the darkness of battle but few, if any, venture past the shadows. But a unique new film takes a rare, uplifting look at the life of veterans beyond their demons.

 

It’s a staggering statistic: 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives every day, which means, we lose more soldiers to suicide than to combat. Despite millions of dollars spent on the mental health of veterans, the crisis rages unabated. Almost Sunrise, a new feature documentary by the award-winning filmmaking team behind Give Up Tomorrow (a 2013 News & Documentary Emmy nominee) Michael Collins (director) and Marty Syjuco (producer), is a timely and groundbreaking look at what could be a missing piece of the puzzle—the true nature of the psychological wounds of returning soldiers known as “moral injury” and the undeniable potential power of meditation and nature therapy in helping veterans to reclaim their lives.

 

Almost Sunrise will make its World Premiere on Memorial Day weekend at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival with one of the opening night slots on May 27 at the 650-seat Palm Theater, followed by screenings on May 29 and 30. The film will next make its East Coast Premiere at the prestigious Human Rights Watch Film Festival New York, June 11 and 13. It is also an official selection of the distinguished AFI Docs in Washington, DC, screening June 23 and 24. Along with its film festival premieres, Almost Sunrise launches an immersive two-year impact campaign.

 

“Our vision for the campaign is to walk with veterans on a path towards healing,” says Syjuco. “Our goals are three-fold: 1. Changing the Narrative; 2. Promoting Wellness; 3. Supporting Legislation (Veteran Wellness Act H.R. 2555).”

 

Almost Sunrise tells the inspiring story of two Iraq veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, who, in an attempt to put their haunting combat experience behind, embark on an extraordinary 2,700 mile trek on foot across America. While the physical trek across snowy mountains and vast deserts is punishing, the inner journey proves to be, by far, the most dangerous mission they will ever undertake. Like many of their fellow returned servicemen and women, Tom and Anthony are tackling post traumatic stress, or PTS, but the pair are simultaneously dealing with an unseen battle scar called “moral injury”—often manifested as an extreme brand of guilt and shame that arises when one goes against one’s own moral code. While PTS, characterized by fear, can be treated with drugs, therapists are finding that no amount of medication can treat the pain that comes from carrying a moral burden. Almost Sunrise is the first feature documentary film to introduce the emerging term “moral injury,” what some experts believe may eventually be recognized as the signature war wound of our generation.

 

While the film exposes some of the brutality of war, it does not dwell there. “It’s ultimately a story of hope and potential solutions,” Collins says.  Most importantly, the film reveals the promise of holistic practices for healing. When Tom signs up for a special breathing workshop for veterans, he must confront his deepest spiritual identity. He encounters Father Thomas Keating, a renowned Trappist monk who has counseled veterans for decades, who gently illuminates the need to turn inward to achieve true peace, guidance that culminates in a remarkable transformation, rarely depicted on screen. Where the stereotypes of “the broken veteran” and “homecoming hero” leave off, Almost Sunrise continues onward, presenting audiences with an unprecedented portrait of those who return from war; richer, far more complex beings—driven by a universal human aspiration for happiness—who discover life’s soaring possibilities.

 

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN:

The Almost Sunrise Impact Campaign is a two-year initiative designed to educate and engage target audiences. The campaign will include the national broadcast premiere of Almost Sunrise in 2017 on the PBS documentary series POV (date and time to be announced), as well as an interactive multimedia exhibit including a photo essay, videos, audio, articles, educational curricula and more (dates and times to be determined.)

 

The campaign focuses on the following key goals:

Changing the Narrative

We are challenging stereotypes of veterans through public education, engaging communities through the use of screenings, panel discussions, visual and performance arts and partnering with targeted NGOs to use the film as a tool to support and promote their interrelated missions.

Promoting Wellness

We are challenging the dependence and possible overuse of medication to treat psychic wounds and promote the growing body of research and documented experience around the benefits of holistic practices and its as yet untapped potential to contribute to the healing of veterans.

Changing Legislation

We are working with Congressman Tim Ryan to support the Veterans Wellness Act (HR 2555) legislation that will improve the ability of Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) to promote good health among our nation’s veterans. These facilities are a place of comfort and familiarity for thousands of men and women and their families. The new legislation would expand upon the activities in which these organizations are currently engaged, and create greater opportunities for veterans to access wellness programs and therapies.

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS:

Director Michael Collins is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and the founder of Thoughtful Robot, a production company specializing in social issue documentary films. Producer Marty Syjuco is from the Philippines. Their film Give Up Tomorrow (POV 2012) won the Audience Award and a Special Jury Mention for Best New Director at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, a Media Award from Amnesty International, and was nominated for a 2013 News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism.

SCREENINGS/TICKET INFO AND IMMERSION ACTIVITIES:

Almost Sunrise at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival (World Premiere)

(Q & A’s after screenings, with director Michael Collins, producer Marty Syjuco and film subject Tom Voss attending)

Friday, May 27 @ 6:30 p.m.

Palm Theater

Sunday, May 29 @ 9:15 a.m.

High Camp

Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day) @ 11:45 am

High Camp

TO BUY TICKETS:

http://www.mountainfilm.org/festival/passes-and-tickets

COFFEE AND CONVERSATION

Moral Injury
Saturday, May 28th, 8 a.m.
Christ Church Upstairs

COFFEE TALK:

Meditation and Healing

Sunday, May 29th, 8 a.m.

Ah Haa East

COFFEE TALK:

The Long Walk
Sunday, May 29th, 8 a.m.
Ah Haa West

MEMORIAL DAY WALK:

Monday, May 30, 9:15 A.M.

Meet in front of Ghost Town 210 W. Colorado Ave.

LIBRARY PRESENTATION:
Tracings: An Interactive Performance
Monday, May 30th, 9:30 a.m.
Wilkinson Public Library

Almost Sunrise at Human Rights Watch Film Festival New York (East Coast Premiere)

(Q & A’s after screenings, with director Michael Collins, producer Marty Syjuco and film subject Tom Voss attending)

Saturday, June 11 @ 9:15pm

IFC Center

Monday, June 13 @ 6:30pm

Lincoln Center

TO BUY TICKETS:

http://ff.hrw.org/new-york

Almost Sunrise Urban Hike

Sunday, June 12 in New York City

3:00-5:00 p.m.

A contemplative walk into the woods of Central Park led by Tom Voss, an Iraq veteran and meditation teacher, featured in Almost Sunrise. Voss has experienced first-hand, the restorative, soul-nourishing benefits of spending time in nature—he recently completed an epic 2,700 mile walk from Wisconsin to California.  “Walking is being with yourself,” Voss says. As ancient spiritual traditions around the world demonstrate, the simple act of walking can elevate consciousness. Allow yourself a space for reflection and feel the aliveness of your environment and your own self with every step.

Almost Sunrise Breathing & Meditation Intro Session

Tuesday, June 14 in New York City

7:00-8:00 p.m.

An introduction to meditation and an ancient practice called “The Power Breath” designed to unlock a happier, more relaxed state of being with higher levels of awareness, focus and clarity. Led by Tom Voss, an Iraq veteran and holistic teacher, featured in Almost Sunrise, the workshop will explore the connection between breath, meditation and state of mind. Empower and refresh your spirit daily, by discovering these tools that can lead you to a calm, centered mind and access to an unlimited storehouse of energy.

Almost Sunrise at AFI Docs (Washington, DC, Premiere)

(Q & A’s after screenings, with director Michael Collins, producer Marty Syjuco and film subject Tom Voss attending)

Thursday, June 23 @ 4:00 p.m.

E Street Theater 1

Friday, June 24 @ 6:45 p.m.

AFI Silver Theater 3

TO BUY TICKETS:

http://afi.com/afidocs/tickets.aspx

SOCIAL MEDIA:

www.facebook.com/almostsunrise

www.twitter.com/almost_sunrise

www.sunrisedocumentary.com

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(Press release provided by Brian Geldin)

Brian Geldin Public Relations

AT&T LEADS WIDE SUPPORT OF #AFIDOCS 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 18, 2016, WASHINGTON, DC — The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced the AFI DOCS 2016 festival sponsors.  AT&T returns this year as Presenting Sponsor, which represents the top level of support.

 

Support for the festival comes from a wide range of major companies, cultural institutions, foundations, philanthropists and government agencies.  The 14th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 22–26, 2016, in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, Maryland.

 

“AT&T’s passion to mobilize the world allows AFI DOCS to bring together global audiences, impassioned storytellers and influential policy leaders in a manner worthy,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their dedication to the festival and its vital location in the heart of the nation’s capital, where documentaries can truly effect change.”

 

AT&T will host the Opening Night Gala at the Newseum.  Also, an AT&T “It Can Wait” message warning against the dangers of distracted driving will play before each festival film.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NBCUniversal and VIZIO return as Official Sponsors of the festival.  American Airlines returns as the official airline of AFI.  VIZIO will also be the festival’s Closing Night Sponsor and will generously outfit the AFI DOCS Festival Hub with the company’s latest home theater equipment and technology.

 

Screen Sponsors are Discovery Communications, HBO and Netflix.

 

Major Sponsors include the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, returning this year; BRICKTOWN; Catapult Film Fund; CrossCurrents Foundation; CYM Media & Entertainment; DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment; the Fledgling Fund; Google; and the Maryland Film Office.  Harbers Studios joins the festival this year as a Major Sponsor and will also sponsor the short film programs at AFI DOCS, including screenings and Filmmaker Forum sessions.

 

Contributing Sponsors are Amtrak, Downtown Silver Spring and the International Documentary Association.

 

Also joining as a Contributing Sponsor, IFC’s comedy series DOCUMENTARY NOW!, which pays loving homage to documentaries, will host a special event on June 23 at the Landmark Theatres Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, with a six-theater presentation of iconic episodes of the show.

 

Official Media Sponsors include Here TV, Screen International, Variety, The Wall Street Journal, WAMU 88.5 FM and WHUT-TV.  Affiliate Media Sponsors include Outfront Media and WTOP 103.5 FM.

 

The Newseum, AFI DOCS’ Official Gala Screening Sponsor located on historic Pennsylvania Avenue between the United States Capitol and the White House, will also host this year’s Closing Night Gala, Spotlight Screenings and the AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium and Screening with Werner Herzog.

 

In addition to supporting AFI DOCS film programming and festival events, sponsors provide services to filmmakers and festival attendees throughout the week.  Participation ranges from sponsoring specific film screenings and receptions to outfitting venues with technology infrastructure and creating event spaces.  Sponsors also participate in national and local promotion of the festival.

 

2016 AFI DOCS SPONSORS

Presenting Sponsor:  AT&T

Official Sponsors:  American Airlines (official airline of AFI), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NBCUniversal, VIZIO (official home theater sponsor of AFI)

Screen Sponsors:  Discovery Communications, HBO and Netflix

Major Sponsors:  The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands; BRICKTOWN; Catapult Film Fund; CrossCurrents Foundation; CYM Media & Entertainment; DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment; the Fledgling Fund; Google; Harbers Studios; the Maryland Film Office

Contributing Sponsors:  Amtrak, Anonymous, DOCUMENTARY NOW!, Downtown Silver Spring, International Documentary Association

Supporting Sponsor:  Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce

Cultural Sponsors:  Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Danish Film Institute, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of the Republic of Poland, General Representative of the Government of Flanders to the USA

Official Media Sponsors:  Here TV, Screen International, Variety, The Wall Street Journal, WAMU 88.5 FM, WHUT-TV

Affiliate Media Sponsors:  Outfront Media, WTOP 103.5 FM

Official Gala Screening Sponsor:  The Newseum

Official Hotels:  Hotel George, Hotel Monaco

Generous Individual Support Provided By:

Major Festival Underwriter:  Mary Jo Greenberg

Official Festival Underwriters:  Michael C. Donaldson, Grace Guggenheim, John and Rachel King, Sally and Tod MacKenzie

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed Internet and voice services.  We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV.  We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider*.  And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

 

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at http://about.att.com.  Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

 

© 2016 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.  AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.  All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

 

*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required.  Coverage not available in all areas.  Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

 

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 premier 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, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 14th year, the festival will be held June 22­–26, 2016 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.

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About the American Film Institute

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 the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; 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, instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

 

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CONTACT:

Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598 or gabrielle@prcollaborative.com

Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, 323.856.7885 or LAmeen@AFI.com

 

 

AFTER SPRING TO HAVE WASHINGTON, DC PREMIERE @AFIDOCS FILM FESTIVAL 2016

After Spring the outstanding new documentary feature film from Executive Producer Jon Stewart will have its DC premiere at the AFI Docs film festival on June 23 and 24After Spring is directed by Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez who are the recipients of a MacArthur Foundation Award.

With the Syrian conflict now in its sixth year, millions of people continue to be displaced. This is the story of what happens next. By following two refugee families in transition and aid workers fighting to keep the camp running, viewers will experience what it is like to live in Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees. With no end in sight for the conflict or this refugee crisis, everyone must decide if they can rebuild their lives in a place that was never meant to be permanent.

Underscoring the timeliness of the film, the Washington, DC debut coincides with World Refugee Day which is on June 20th. The Syrian conflict has displaced over 10 million people according to the United Nations.

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The film tells the moving, personal, and inspiring stories of Syrian refugees and aid workers at the largest refugee camp for Syrians, the Zaatari Refugee Camp which is home to 80,000 people and is now considered the fourth largest city in Jordan. Over half of the camp’s population is under 18 years old and over 5,000 babies have been born in the camp since it opened in July 2012.

 

Filmmakers’ Statement:

“Our goal was to put a human face to the Syrian refugee crisis.  Although many news crews have visited Zaatari we had the opportunity to spend months at the camp, uncovering stories never seen before.  We believe our film can offer the unique perspective of humanitarians in the field and the Syrians themselves whose voices are so rarely heard.”

Filmmakers’ Bios:

Steph Ching, Director/Producer, was Associate Producer and Additional Editor on the Emmy Nominated documentary, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Other passions include volunteer work, she participated in relief efforts during post-hurricane Katrina and made several trips to Sichuan, China to film testimonies with survivors of the 2008 earthquake.  Her grandmother was a refugee in China before finally making her way to the United States.

Ellen Martinez, Director/Producer, was Associate Producer on Tested, a feature documentary about educational inequality in the NYC public school system. She was Directors Assistant and has worked in the A.D. and Production Departments for various films in NYC. Ellen has spent over 8 years in the Middle East and lived in Damascus, Syria for four years.

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“I remember seeing the original footage Steph and Ellen had shot, and being so impressed with their work, and thinking we had to figure out a way to get them back into Zaatari to complete the project. They found a way to tell the story of the camp, to provide some context for the families’ stories in a beautiful, real and unobtrusive way that is particularly moving and urgent.” – Jon Stewart, Executive Producer

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Public Screenings of After Spring at AFI Docs

Thursday, June 23 at 1:30 PM
at Landmark’s E Street Cinema – Washington, DC

Friday, June 24 at 4:15 PM
at AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center – Silver Spring, MD

(Source: Press materials provided by  Adam Segal / The 2050 Publicity Group)

The AFI DOCS Interview: MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE Directors Bob Hercules & Rita Coburn Whack

The AFI DOCS Interview: MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE Directors Bob Hercules & Rita Coburn Whack

May 16, 2016

Co-directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack present a lovingly crafted and stunningly comprehensive portrait of the esteemed Dr. Maya Angelou with MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE. The incredible story is told by Angelou herself, along with a remarkable cast of contemporaries from her careers as actress, writer, poet and activist. In chronicling Angelou’s life from her youth in the Depression-era South through her rise to international prominence, the film is a vital document about the importance of grace, dignity and the quest for the peace.

See the full article with the interview here.

 

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(Source: American Film Magazine)

#AFI DOCS 2016 ANNOUNCES OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 25, 2016, WASHINGTON, DC – Today, AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute’s annual documentary celebration held June 22–26, 2016, in the nation’s capital, announced the festival’s Opening and Closing Night films. Opening AFI DOCS 2016 is the North American premiere of Magnolia Pictures’ ZERO DAYS, directed by Alex Gibney. Closing the festival is Music Box Films’ NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. Both Gala screenings will be held at the Newseum, which has joined the festival this year as the Official Gala Screening Partner. Located on historic Pennsylvania Avenue, the Newseum is a champion for free expression around the world and features seven levels of interactive exhibits including 15 galleries and 15 theaters.

AFI DOCS is proud to announce the return of AT&T as Presenting Sponsor.

“With AT&T’s continued support, we are thrilled to kick off and close AFI DOCS 2016 with two remarkable films that remind us why documentaries are essential viewing for all who love film. To have this trio of filmmakers — Alex Gibney, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady — bookend the festival is a true honor,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI DOCS.

The Opening Night Gala of the North American premiere of ZERO DAYS will be held on June 22 at the Newseum and will feature a Q&A with Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney after the screening. ZERO DAYS explores Stuxnet, a self-replicating computer worm discovered in 2010 that was commissioned by the U.S. and Israeli governments to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. Gibney’s work has been celebrated at AFI DOCS in the past: he was honored at the AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium in 2014 and he presented his film STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE in 2015.

The Closing Night Gala screening of NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU will be held on June 26 at the Newseum and will feature a post-screening discussion with film subject Norman Lear and Academy Award®-nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The film chronicles the life and work of Lear, a television icon known for his keen writing and producing talents. His legendary TV shows, which include ALL IN THE FAMILY, THE JEFFERSONS and MAUDE, boldly addressed the topics of race, class and feminism in the 1970s and ’80s. Ewing and Grady previously brought their Oscar®-nominated film JESUS CAMP to AFI DOCS in 2006.

Tickets to AFI DOCS, including Opening Night and Closing Night screenings, will be available early to AFI members exclusively from May 9–17, and to the public on May 18. Passes for AFI DOCS 2016 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 the Newseum
The Newseum is dedicated to free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Headquartered on historic Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the Newseum’s compelling, dynamic and engaging exhibits, programs and education initiatives help ensure that these fundamental freedoms remain strong and protected both today and for future generations. The Newseum Institute promotes the study, exploration and education of the challenges confronting freedom through its First Amendment Center and the Religious Freedom Center. 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 and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About AT&T
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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, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman. 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 and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 14th year, the festival will be held June 22–26, 2016 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.

CONTACT:
Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598 or gabrielle@prcollaborative.com
Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, 323.856.7885 or LAmeen@AFI.com

2016 @AFIDOCS Announces Full Slate of Films

From June 22–26, the 14th edition of AFI DOCS showcases 94 films representing 30 countries. Screenings will take place in Washington, DC, at the Newseum and the Landmark E Street Cinema, and in Silver Spring, MD, at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

See the full AFI DOCS 2016 slate of films here.

Newly announced films from notable documentarians include COMMAND AND CONTROL (DIR Robert Kenner), the world premiere of DOC & DARRYL (DIRS Judd Apatow, Michael Bonfiglio) and MISS SHARON JONES! (DIR Barbara Kopple) — and many more titles.

As previously announced, the Newseum will host the Opening Night Gala and North American premiere of ZERO DAYS (DIR Alex Gibney) and the Closing Night Gala screening of NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU (DIRS Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady). Also previously announced, AFI will recognize Werner Herzog at AFI DOCS as the Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree on June 24. The Symposium will include a conversation, moderated by Ramin Bahrani, followed by the East Coast premiere of Herzog’s latest film LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD.

AFI DOCS will offer additional programs for festival filmmakers as a way to connect with film industry and policy leaders. The festival will also include a Filmmaker Forum open to the documentary filmmaking community.

Tickets to AFI DOCS 2016, including Galas and Spotlight Screenings, will be available to AFI members exclusively from May 9–17, and to the public on May 18. Passes for AFI DOCS 2016 are now on sale.

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(Source: Press release from @AFIDOCS)