I realize this is a bit off the beaten path for this site but given the fact that an awful lot of documentaries address subjects of acute interest to a lot of people on the site, I strongly suspect this would be of interest to some folks.
This week is my favorite annual DC event — AFI Docs (formerly known as Silver Docs). It started on the 22nd and and lasts through the 27th. It is unquestionably one of the best documentary film festivals in the country.
Here’s the link to the festival, including its entire program and schedule —
A few notes:
- You should still, be able to watch almost all of the films from the 24th on if one or more catch your interest. (for those which first became available yesterday, the 24th, you have until tomorrow the 26th at noon EST to start watching them. The ones which first became available today, you have until noon EST on the 27th to start, and so on.)
- They also have Q&As with the director and often featured individuals after each screening.
- I’m watching the ones I signed for on my TV via an HDMI cable.
- Significantly, for most of the films, as I noted above, you have 48 hours to start watching individual films from varying start times…. and then another 48 hours or so to complete watching those individual films after you have started watching them. The added flexibility is really quite nice -- if you start watching one movie at the very tail end of its start watch window, you essentially secure yourself another 2 full days to complete watching it.).
- The Anthony Bourdain doc scheduled for tonight is one of the few exceptions that has a more limited watch window — 4 hours from 8:00 PM EST tonight to start watching it and then 24 hours to finish watching the film after you have started watching it.)]
So far, I’ve seen the following —
- Naomi Osaka. (Part 1 of what will be 3 parts (on Netflix) later this summer — they pulled parts 2 and 3 late foir post-production, I;’m guessing to address recent developments)
- Fathom (about two female scientists studying whale communication)
- The First Step (Van Jones and criminal justice reform with Jared Kushner) — I generally knew the end result of this but getting additional backstory and seeing behind the scenes as the campiagn for reform progressed was great. This was really well done.
- LFG — US Women’s National Soccer Team and its lawsuit for fair pay
- Rise Again-- Tulsa and the Red Summer -- a powerful -- and infuriating piece about the race riots in the early 20th century, leading to the 1921 Tulsa massacre, the massive loss of generational wealth, and the fact that no one was held accountable. The Director — Dawn Porter — was the recipient of this year's Guggenhieim Symposium Honoree. (Her other films include the highly regarded documentary of Pete Souza, Obama’s photographer; one on John Lewis; and others
The Slow Hustle -- an intriguing piece on the controversial circumstances surrounding the shooting death of a Baltimore police detective -- and overall corruption in the Baltimore PD.
- 9/11 - One Day in America -- I've watched the first episode and a half of the first three episodes the festival will be showing. (I think there will be 7 shown on telelevisioon later in total.) . More comprehensive than anything I have seen before. 20 years this year. Quite intense / powerful / staggering, still..…
- The Neutral Ground -- by a Daily Show correspondent. Really good film about the battle to remove Confederate monuments. Primarily foxused on New Orleans, but also touches on others around the country, and on Charlottesville. And dives into the legacy of Reconstruction and the relationshiop to these monuments and white supremacy.
Pray Away -- A good one about the longstating effort by both now disbanded religious groups (Exodus) and exiting ones to use "conversaion therapy" to make gays straight. Interviews with a couple of survivors of the movement and former leaders who now reject it.
President — about the controversial presidential election in Zimbabwe following decades of corrupt rule under Mugabe…
Next up for me is Storm Lake, about the award-winning Storm Lake Times newspaper in Iowa.
There’s some really good stuff here — I hope you’ll get a chance to watch one or more. I will update later with brief reviews of others that I see if anyone is interested. Likewise, I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the scheduled films that you choose to see, or have seen — or any previous documentary that you have loved.