Tag Archives: AFI Silver Spring Theatre and Cultural Center


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.


“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.





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.


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.



“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


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)


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.

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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.

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