Tag Archives: Newseum

Newtown – Confronting the Sandy Hook Massacre

Newtown  is a moving new documentary detailing the trauma and tribulations of families and community members dealing with emotions and life after the massacre of 20 children ages 6-7 years old and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut by 20 year-old Adam Lanza. Lanza had murdered his own mother before driving to Sandy Hook and opening fire with an XM-15 military style M4 carbine rifle. Lanza fired 154 rounds with multiple magazine changes from high capacity 30-round magazines to 15-round magazines. The rounds reverberated over the school’s PA system.

Newtown was directed by Kim A. Snyder. Snyder is a New York based filmmaker known for I Remember Me, One Bridge To The Next and Welcome To Shelbyville. 

The film opens in a slow-motion sequence of a parade with children in cheer-leading uniforms riding in convertibles in what could be any middle-lass suburb and provides a rather visceral idyllic sentiment of a happy childhood. In a rather seamless fashion, the film cuts to live footage from what appears to be a police vehicle’s on-board camera while a voice over from a 911 call is heard. Immediately, the mood of the film changes. Something has happened. Black and white aerial footage of the school and surrounding area, including a nearby evacuation location, a volunteer fire fighting house culminating in live news coverage of the massacre is shown as details are slowly revealed.

Snyder effectively incorporates the interview into her narrative throughout weaving testimonies into the film’s narrative interspersed with sweeping scenes of the natural beauty of the area. The Sandy Hook School Nurse, Sally Cox, described her feelings hearing the shots being fired wondering when they would stop. A Connecticut State Trooper refused to discuss the graphic details of what he saw at the crime scene focusing on the emotional impact instead. And this theme drives the film.

Snyder artfully uses text overlays with Newtown neighbors communicating with each other during the immediate aftermath. The first text reveals safety for one child and then the news of a child, Daniel Barden, who died. An emotional medium close up framed interview of Daniel’s father, Mark,  as he laments not knowing his son’s final moments takes the film’s emotionality to a deeper level. Additional interviews of the Barden’s close neighbor recounting the Friday “after school pizza parties” and the bonding between the two families keep the emotional roller coaster going. An adept point-of-view tracking shot of the community’s pastor as he solemnly makes his way to the church altar to prepare for the upcoming funeral masses opens up a massive void that no one  has wanted to talk about. The feeling there is no way to prevent this from happening again surfaces.

Snyder reaches back and adds more archival footage of Congressional hearings with testimony from Newtown’s Dr. William Begg, Emergency Room Services Director. Dr. Begg  testifies to the impact assault bullets have on little bodies and the survivability when the bodies have been riddled with anywhere from three to eleven assault rounds. Another clip shows President of the United States, Barack Obama, praising the Connecticut’s sweeping new gun law legislation as he urges Congress to follow suit.

“The number 12/14 has become a defining moment for many members of the community,” reveals a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher. Here Snyder inserts stunning cinematography starting with a ray of light shimmering through autumnal leaves. Quickly apples are revealed and soon a hand and footage of a family apple-picking event foreshadow the Barden’s decision to conceive another child.

As time passes questions are being asked on how can the community honor these children and what can be done to help as the community searches for answers. The grieving process has begun following the massive trauma and shock they have experienced.

As the film moves toward its conclusion, a community event including a challenging obstacle course draws the survivors together as they attempt to overcome the difficulties imposed. As participants struggle to make the finishing line cheers and support are given. Another powerful metaphor Snyder wields with grace and finesse. And again, she reaches back into her tool kit and uses text overlays as the community shares their grief online as they move forward after 12/14/12.

Admittedly, Newtown is an emotionally draining film. Snyder’s direction slowly draws out the emotional strings while infusing hope and a call to action of “we are all in this together.” http://newtownfilm.com/. Indeed.

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Zero Days: More or Less

Zero Days, the latest film by acclaimed documentarian, Alex Gibney, details claims that the US and Israeli governments conducted covert cyber warfare operations against the Iranian government and the Iranians’ nuclear enrichment program. ZeroDays (1 of 1)-2Zero Days, a fitting Opening Night Film for AFI DOCS, served as a catalyst for conversation in the Q & A  immediately followed its screening at the Newseum in Washington D.C.

AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale introduced the film and commented on the importance of Director Gibney’s work in line with “dreams for a better world. Dreams that demand debate!” In addition, Gazzele stated how honored he was to be partnering with this year’s presenting sponsor AT & T. AT & T spokesperson, Jennifer Coons, took stage and expressed what a privilege it was for AT & T to bring together politics, business and investment to learn from one another while connecting people.

Zero Days opened with a 2010 clip from an Iranian television station with the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vehemently denouncing Western and Zionist regimes interference in the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. Throughout the film, Gibney intersperses narrative voice overs and archival footage as the spokespersons for the US government repeatedly delivered “I can’t comment” when asked about the existence of a cyber warfare super virus, soon to be revealed as Stuxnet. Two malware,  computer programming specialists from internet security behemoths Symantec and Kaspersky, uncover Stuxnet and both reach a professional conclusion  after engaging in deep analytic data processing that the virus they are uncovering is more than just the work of an at-large hacker. The sophistication and the virus’ ability to replicate itself without a user doing anything and its ability to mutate undetected is known in malware jargon as ‘zero-day exploitation’ without any protection against it and was undoubtedly the work of a nation-state. The effect the virus had on the Iranian infrastructure as it attacked power plants, energy grids, gas pipelines and industrial sites resulted in deaths and severe repercussions for scientists and line operators alike. The Symantec and Kaspersky experts estimated 500,000 attacks were unleashed over the course of its deployment.

A former employee of the US Nuclear Regulatory Agency went on camera to say that he knew of one or two nation-states that were using cyber weapons for offensive purposes. However, when asked who the states were and were the states involved using Stuxnet, a dance of denial ensued with the former employee back peddling while reiterating he did not mention names of the existence of Stuxnet often uttering “I can’t comment on that.”

In Zero Days Gibney has  upped the ante from previous works with heightened production values utilizing CGI and textual overlays to convey the genesis of a new era and a medium of espionage at the highest governmental levels and has done his homework as he provides a historical backdrop of the Iranian nuclear program disclosing the US gave Iran its first nuclear reactor under the Shah of Iran’s rule. In addition, he shows the pride the Iranian people have in their nuclear program demonstrated by their national celebrations for Nuclear Enrichment Day, a national nuclear day that has galvanized the republic of Iran. Throughout the remainder of Zero Days Gibney delves deeply into Homeland Security and the arsenal of the US Cyber Command apparatus with probing interviews and expose investigative reporting concluding with speculation on where this new game of  global cyber warfare may lead.

Zero Days is one of this year’s most important films in light of recent accusations a foreign power hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer system as well as Democratic Presidential Nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign system. New York Times columnist David E. Sanger reports on this in the July 30th edition with his article “U.S. Wrestles With How to Fight Back Against Cyberattacks.”

Gibney’s other works, no less confrontational, include Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013).

Zero Days

Zero Days, the latest film by acclaimed documentarian, Alex Gibney, details claims that the US and Israeli governments conducted covert cyber warfare operations against the Iranian government and the Iranians’ nuclear enrichment program.

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(From left to right) Alex Gibney, writer and director of Zero Days, alongside actors Eric Chien and Liam O’Murchu, on the red carpet at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., before the Opening Night Film screening of Zero Days at the 2016 AFI DOCS June 22, 2016. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

A former employee of the US Nuclear Regulatory Agency went on camera to say that he knew of one or two nation-states that were using cyber weapons for offensive purposes. However, when asked who the states were and were the states involved using Stuxnet, a dance of denial ensued with the former employee back peddling while reiterating he did not mention names of the existence of Stuxnet often uttering “I can’t comment on that” when pressed to name names or the existence of Stuxnet.

Gibney has done his homework with Zero Days as he provides a historical backdrop of the Iranian nuclear program disclosing the US gave Iran its first nuclear reactor under the Shah of Iran’s rule. In addition, he shows the pride the Iranian people have in their nuclear program demonstrated by their national celebrations for Nuclear Enrichment Day, a national nuclear day that has galvanized the republic of Iran. Furthermore, Gibney shows a clip of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comparing contemporary Iran to Germany during the time of Adolph Hitler. 


This is a must-see film. Zero Days is screening as part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Showcase series tonight, Tuesday July 19 @ 5:00pm and tomorrow, Wednesday July 20 @ 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra in Santa Barbara, Calif.

See you at the movies!

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AFI DOCS 2016 Wrap Up

With ninety-four films from over 30 countries the 2016 AFI DOCS had something for just about every documentary film lover. The Opening Night film dazzled the at-capacity audience at the Newseum with Alex Gibney’s North American Premiere of Zero Days,a detailed account of claims the US and Israeli governments unleashed a sophisticated virus to thwart the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. The film also addressed the issue of retaliation and made for a lively conversation and Q & A following the screening. Highly recommended.

 

 

Kicking off the first full day, I had the good fortune of seeing seven short documentaries under the guise of Shorts: Outside In; Tracks, The Great Theatre, Rotatio, Neige, Fundir and Chocolate Mountain Metal, Shorts: Outside In. Warmly recommended.

Winding up a busy Day 2 at the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism in downtown Washington, DC, Newtown, an emotionally, powerful look at the local community two years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre from acclaimed director Kim Snyder, and Audrie & Daisy, a story of two high school girls who were sexually assaulted in indefensible states and their vilification on social media with tragic consequences, were shown. Both are must-see films. Highly recommended.

 

Day 3 brought  After Spring, a telling tale of the relocation of Syrian refugees and the challenges they face at the Zaatari relocation camp inside the Jordanian border. Directors Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez attended the screening and made themselves available to discuss the making of the film. Recommended.


Almost Sunrise, explores an alternative approach to the traditional diagnosis and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Director Michael Collins chronicles the journey of two Iraq War veterans as they share a 2700 mile hike from the Midwest to the state of California to create an awareness of their trauma. Along the way, the two are warmly greeted and supported by fellow veterans and communities alike. Warmly recommended.

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Unfortunately, due to an overwhelming demand for seats at the Guggenheim Symposium and Screening, I was not granted a place for the evening’s conversation with Werner Herzog and Ramin Bahrani including clips from Herzog’s storied career and a screening of his latest work, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. Nevertheless, I made my way over to Silver Spring, MD, AFI Silver Theater for Cinema, Mon Amour, a wonderful story of a Romanian family and their ‘never say quit’ spirit as they work determinedly to keep open the last of Romania’s grand movie palaces.

Day Four began with a visit to the AFI DOCS Lounge for the Filmmakers Forum and the making of short documentaries. Quick and to the point, storytellers and the movers and shakers of the industry engaged in an informative format as filmmakers and producers provided guidance and probed the issues in today’s filmmaking environment.

Full of vigor, the featured Command And Control,directed by Robert Kenner, recounted a 1980 nuclear accident with surreal details. Highly recommended.command-and-control-tribeca

Next, I dropped in on Vanessa Gould’s Obit, an insider’s guide to the world of who’s who in the annals of lives lived through the eyes of the legendary New York Times obituaries desk. Obit reveals a unique form of journalism and the idiosyncrasies of the writers and editors who create and compose these celebrations of extraordinary lives lived. Warmly recommended and my personal favorite!

Closing out the evening again at the Newseum with a Spotlight Screening of Check It.  Check It, a mesmerizing look at an inner city, Washington DC, gang composed of gay and transgendered teens who allied themselves together for protection and survival out on the streets of the nation’s capitol over a three year period, was directed by Toby Oppenheimer and Dana Flor. Over the course of the film, the Check It gang comes to the realization that while surviving is critical so is leading a productive and useful life. Warmly recommended.

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Day 5 kicked into gear with another visit to the AFI DOCS Lounge for Part Four of the Filmmakers Forum. I arrived early and met Discovery’s Gina Scarpulla. Unbeknownst to me, Ms. Scarpulla and her team at Discovery are pioneering virtual reality in film. Virtual headsets, known as lunchboxes were made available before and after the forum. See my full write up here: AFI DOCS Filmmaking Forum on Virtual Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next came the Chicken People, directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes. Chicken People delves into the worlds of the contestants and their contenders, pure bred chickens,  as they vie for best fowl at the Ohio National Poultry Show and the title of Super Grand Champion. Warmly recommended and A Don’t Miss!

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Doc & Darryl, a soon-to-be-aired ESPN 30 for 30 film, depicts the trials and tribulations of the 1986 Major League Baseball World Champions New York Mets and the meteoric rise and setbacks of the team’s two most talented players, Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. The film was co-directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio. See my write up: Doc & Darryl

Closing out the the 2016 AFI DOCS was Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. This is a masterpiece of television history. Breathtaking images of actors, writers and directors watching clips from  All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Maude and Good Times juxtaposed against their commentaries, highlight this cinematic gem. Another must see film! And I know Norman Lear wouldn’t have it any other way. Highly recommended.

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This was my first AFI DOCS. Set in our nation’s capitol, the festival ran smoothly. Two venues were in downtown Washington, DC, and were within walking distance of one another. Also, both venues were easily accessible by the Metro and had plenty of shops, coffee bars, sports bars and restaurants nearby. The third venue was in Silver Spring, Maryland, home of the AFI DOCS Silver Theater and Cultural Center. Again, plenty of shops and nearby eateries and fairly easy to get to by Metro. The Washington Post calls AFI DOCS “The nation’s leading documentary film festival.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Until next year, I’ll see you at the movies!

FILM REVIEW: Audrie and Daisy

Audrie & Daisy, a new documentary co-directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, takes an in-depth look at the effects of cyber bullying following the aftermath when two teenage girls are sexually assaulted. The girls went to parties, drank alcohol to excess and were then sexually assaulted by boys and young men they believed were their friends. The shame and scorn the girls were subjected to resulted in a suicide of a Saratoga, Georgia high school student, Audrie, who believed her reputation was beyond repair. The culprits in the assault eventually reached a plea agreement so the young men could graduate from high school. The agreement included an admission of guilt and a public apology as well as a 45 minute videotaped interview. In the case of Audrie, a Missouri resident in the small town of Maryville in Nodaway County, all charges were dropped in a highly publicized news reported court judgement.

Cohen and Shenk open the film with a slow pan of empty desks in a classroom as a voice over about the Audrey case begins. A cut is made to a high school football practice with the diagetic sounds of grunting, helmets and pads colliding and thudding with the sounds of whistles chirping. An audio deposition of Jon B., not the perpetrator’s real name,  is heard as an image shows the critical information of what is occurring in a black and white frame as the film’s narrative is slowly opening. In a taped 2015 interview, Audrey’s mother and father, Larry and Sheila Pott talk candidly about Audrey while pictures of Audrey range from the time she was a baby up into her high school years. Sheila reminisced how she and Audrey cooked together while they watched the food network together.  Audrey’s best friend from the time of middle school, Amanda Le, opened up about their experiences together through adolescence. Le remembers Audrey developed early physically and by high school was well developed. A group of boys from junior high began a Yahoo! group where they shared nude pictures of their classmates. Le stated Audrey received a lot of requests for pictures, however, as Audrey was quite self-conscious she didn’t provide any pictures. Audrey was popular and had many friends. One night at a party Audrey drank too much. In a deposition, her “friend” stated her carried Audrey upstairs and laid her on a bed. Two other young men entered the room and closed the door. With Audrey, unmoving on the bed, the three boys stripped her naked. They took turns sexually assaulting her with their fingers. They painted half her face black and placed indelible lewd comments on her body. Photographs were taken and videos were recorded while Audrey laid defenseless.

Through the use of textual overlays from conversations Audrey initiated with her “friend,” Cohen and Shenk create a sense of real-time. Audrey does not recollect what happened and pleads with her friend and others to tell her what happened. Her “friend” tells her it will blow over in a week. Yet, when Audrey gets to school, she  comes to a realization that everyone in school is aware of what happened and the images of her assaulted naked body have made their way online. Shamed and humiliated, Audrey feels her reputation is beyond repair and commits suicide.

Daisy Coleman, a perky blonde-haired, blue-eyed freshman, and new to the small town of Maryville, Missouri also is subjected to shame, humiliation and ridicule following her sexual assault. Daisy and her 8th grade friend who according to an official police investigator looked about eight are invited to a “party.” While at the party held in the basement of one of the three older high school males present, both girls are raped while incapacitated. The following morning Daisy is found on her home’s lawn with her hair frozen to the grass. What unfolds in Daisy’s story is the difficulty is prosecuting an assault without hard evidence. None of the males were over 17. A video was recorded and shared and subsequently deleted without means of retrieval. Consequently, all charges were dropped.

Nevertheless, the maelstrom created by Daisy coming forth had severe repercussions for Daisy on social media. Slowly diminishing in spirit, Daisy began sinking further and further into the rabbit hole when a young woman who had endured and survived a similar sexual assault reached out to Daisy via social media. Delaney Henderson heard about Daisy and used the Facebook chat feature to tell Daisy she understood the feelings and what Daisy was going through. The two young women have started and joined a survivors’ group facilitated by a professional counselor. In a Q & A following the screening, it was revealed Daisy Coleman received an athletic scholarship to Mountain Valley College. Daisy stated with strength and conviction, “I’m done with being mad. I finally wanted to move on. I’m not forgetting the past. I’m forgiving the past.”

Hear Daisy and what the filmmakers have to say the making of Audrie & Daisy:

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High in production values complete with traditional interviews, archival news footage, original evidence-gathering investigation-room interviews, panning location shots, photographs as well as masked caricatures of the depositions, Audrie & Daisy, is a must-see documentary.

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Pictured from left to right are Delaney Henderson and Daisy Coleman. (Photo from American Film Institute Magazine/Blog)

AUDRIE & DAISY

Spotlight Screening
AUDRIE & DAISY tells the story of two teenage girls who went to parties, drank alcohol, passed out, and were sexually assaulted by guys they thought were their friends.  In the aftermath, both girls discovered that the crimes were documented on cell phones.  Video and pictures were passed around.  Their lives were changed forever.

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A riveting examination of the frightening consequences of social media gone out of control, AUDRIE & DAISY focuses on the traumatic aftermath for two teenage girls who were sexually assaulted in 2012. As evidence of the crimes went viral, the victims were scorned by their communities and cyber-bullied by their peers — to tragic ends. This heartbreaking film makes a powerful plea to end the cultures of shame and silence surrounding rape in the digital age. — Chuck Willett

 

Director’s Statement

As directors and parents of teenagers, we are struck by the frequency of sexual assaults in high schools across the country and have been even more shocked by the pictures and videos, posted online – almost as trophies – by teens that have committed these crimes.  This has become the new public square of shame for our adolescents.   Unfortunately, the story of drunken high school parties and sexual assault is not new.  But today, the events of the night are recorded on smartphones and disseminated to an entire community and, sometimes, the nation.  Such was the case for Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, two teenage girls, living thousands of miles apart but experiencing the same shame from their communities.  While the subject matter is dark, we are inspired by these stories to make a film that captures these truths but can also help audiences digest the complexities of the world teenagers live in today.

As we began our research, the Steubenville, Ohio High School rape case was underway.  At the time, there was wide criticism directed at national news outlets for their lack of focus on the victim and perceived sympathy for the perpetrators.  As more cases have come to light since then, this damaging attitude – stemming from what many refer to as pervasive “rape culture” in American society – has remained largely in tact.  However, journalists need stories and stories require characters.  As is the norm in underage rape cases, in Steubenville, the survivor chose (understandably) to maintain her anonymity as a “Jane Doe.” We decided then that a genuinely emotional, meaningful film about teenage sexual assault required the affirmative on- camera participation of the survivor.  Our main subjects, Daisy Coleman and Audrie Pott, involuntarily lost their anonymity when rumors, insults and photos about their assaults circulated around school and on social media.  Identified by name and subjected to online character assassination, Daisy decided with great courage to speak out publicly.  Audrie’s parents chose to go public with their daughter’s story after the unspeakable tragedy of Audrie’s suicide, as well. Thus, using their deeply personal – and, now public – stories as a starting point, we launched into production of our film.

AUDRIE & DAISY, directed by Bonni Cohen and Joe Shenk is screening Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, at the Newseum at 8:15 P.M. Click here for tickets.

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The AFI DOCS Interview: #NEWTOWN Director Kim A. Snyder

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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.

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AFI spoke to director Snyder ahead of the film’s AFI DOCS premiere.

What led you to documentary filmmaking?

I was working on the production side of narrative filmmaking when a turn in my personal life compelled me to direct my first documentary. I have been doing it ever since.

What inspired you to tell this story?

I was drawn to the profound effects of collective trauma and the need for many people in Newtown to be heard on their own terms in an effort to make meaning out of the unthinkable. I wanted to pierce through a growing desensitization to these escalating incidents of mass gun violence through creating an emotional experience that humanizes the issue in a universal way.

How did your subjects?

It was like peeling an onion. In that first year, I did not feel comfortable penetrating the privacy of those most affected. My first connections were with the Interfaith community, which informed an intimacy and framing that was at once philosophic, existential and spiritual to some extent; it lent a holistic approach to a community wrestling with the darkest of journeys. Friar Bob, the priest who buried eight of the 20 children, was among those severely affected in terms of trauma. As I organically developed relationships with others through careful trust building, I began to develop a story of a town through a number of prisms, including that of parents of loss, educators, first responders, neighbors, youth — faces that render a portrait of any town and one that would redefine what it means to be a victim, while exploring the profound effects of survivor guilt and the resilience required to repair the social fabric of the entire community in the wake of the tragedy.

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

I faced a profound sense of responsibility in not wanting the process of the film to add to the ongoing trauma of those who participated, and in keeping my own psychological and emotion reactions to the material in check.

What do you want audiences to walk away with?

I want them to take away a profoundly emotional but rewarding journey to experience in their own community. I want them to experience perspective, anger and uplift from a community that offers profound truth and life perspective. Most importantly, I want them to leave with the conviction to participate in effecting change.

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

It is perhaps the most essential place for us to screen. Presenting an intimate exploration of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history in the seat of government and policymaking will be extremely powerful. We hope to maximize this potential.

NEWTOWN plays AFI DOCS on Thursday, June 23 at 5:45. Buy tickets here.

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[Source: American Film Magazine (blog)]

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

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

 

 

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