AFI Docs Film Festival stands out with a diversified slate – Variety


The 17th Annual AFI Docs Film Festival will launch this year's eclectic program June 19-23 in Washington, D.C., and Silver Spring, Md., Featuring 72 films from 17 countries, with a strong emphasis on female filmmakers. Of the current plate set to unfold, 48% of the directors and 68% of the producers are women, marking a considerable increase of previous festivals. This year, AFI Docs is organizing its entries in different categories (Galas, Special Screenings, Portrait, Truth and Justice, Spectrum, Anthem, Cinema Legacy and Short Films), and will include six world premieres, American and two US premieres.

The festival begins with the world premiere of "True Justice: The Fight for Equality of Bryan Stevenson" and ends with "Raising Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins". Other special projections include the world premiere of "Chasing the Moon", Ruth – Justice Ginsburg in his own words, "" Sea of ​​Shadows "and" Toni Morrison: The Parts That I Am. "

This year's June 21 exhibition at the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will be "American Factory," directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. He examines the cultural shock resulting from the acquisition of a Dayton, Ohio, General Motors factory by a Chinese company that reopened the site as Fuyao Glass America, with a promise to provide consistent work to more than 2,000 local residents, bringing hundreds of workers Chinese to the state. Tensions quickly increased and increased among Americans because of low wages and security concerns.

Festival director Michael Lumpkin, who recently was in charge of the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles in the fall, is excited about this year's project crop.

"We've tried to focus on how important and integral the narrative is to both the audience and the filmmakers, and since these films are so personal in nature, these are stories that seem to have been told," says Lumpkin.

Taking on dual responsibilities across the AFI festival platform is a great job, but Lumpkin credits his "uniquely talented team" to help him restructure the festivals in order to "take advantage of the many creative opportunities that have emerged as a result of screening those important movies ".

Lumpkin is thrilled to praise this year's plate. "We are all very excited about the filmmakers who are bringing their films to the festival this year. 'The Elephant Queen' and 'Midnight Family' are titles that should be noted, as they both tell very personal and private stories that go beyond their expectations, "he says. He notes that he was surprised by the documentary "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice" by directors Robb Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. "This was an unexpectedly touching movie that a lot of people are really going to connect with."

This is also the third year that NBC's "Meet the Press" will partner with the AFI Docs Festival for a number of short films, which Lumpkin said has become a tremendous success.

"Our partnership with the & # 39; Meet the Press & # 39; NBC News has been unique as we program and showcase the films together with NBC News reporters who help select socially relevant options that unite the worlds of entertainment and politics. "He adds that in the traditional AFI Docs Festival and in the special "Meet the Press", "there will be some overlap with certain titles, but we are always looking to keep our selections current and up to date."


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