Mark your digital calendars for June’s week-long AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival the ninth installment of the world’s leading documentary festival
What do Lebron James, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Oliver Stone all have in common? They’ve all been at AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival over the past few years. They don’t call us “Docuwood” for nothing! Once again, the world’s leading documentary festival will be held right here in our own backyard in Silver Spring, Md. Expected to draw over 27,000 attendees, the program includes 108 films from 52 countries, with highlights like an outdoor screening of the original 1968 “Monterey Pop,” Chicago gang members turned street peacekeepers in “The Interrupters,” the real-world horse whisperer “Buck” who inspired the movie, and a close up of the man who creates Elmo the Muppet every week, with Elmo himself in attendance. Other documentary subjects expected in person include Senator Al Franken, honored filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, and DC’s own Tatum brothers, 90-year old competitive swimmers. Stayed tuned for more details or visit http://silverdocs.com.
HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS:
Monday, June 20, 2011
OPENING NIGHT: THE SWELL SEASON. Starring in the 2007 sleeper hit, ONCE, and winning
an Academy Award for best original song (“Falling Slowly”) was just the beginning of a profound artistic journey for folk-rock musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. While riding the wave of their newfound popularity, and with an onscreen romance blossoming into an off screen reality, Hansard and Irglová head out on a two-year world tour with their band, The Swell Season. Filmmakers Nick August-Perna, Carlo Mirabella-Davis and Chris Dapkins in attendance. Special guests to be announced closer to the Festival.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
SPECIAL SCREENING: Elmo is an
instantly recognizable icon that brings joy to people all over the globe on Sesame Street, but who is the man behind the lovable red puppet? BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY traces Baltimore native Kevin Clash’s early beginnings from backyard puppet shows to working with his idol, Jim Henson, and creating one of the most famous puppet characters in the world. Filmmaker Constance Marks, subject Kevin Clash and Elmo in attendance.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
GUGGENHEIM SYMPOSIUM: The Charles Guggenheim Symposium honors the legacy of the late four-time Academy Award winning filmmaker, Charles Guggenheim. This year the Symposium celebrates Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker – partners in life and behind the camera – for their collective body of documentary work spanning over fifty years, including DON’T LOOK BACK, THE WAR ROOM, AL FRANKEN: GOD SPOKE and KINGS OF PASTRY. Senator Al Franken will introduce the program.
OUTDOOR SCREENING: MONTEREY POP takes place on a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love. The first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward, capturing a decade’s spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. A high-energy, iconic event in music history, the festival featured a wildly diverse mix of talent that included Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, the Who, the Byrds, Hugh Masekela and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar. With his characteristic vérité style, D A Pennebaker captured it all, immortalizing moments that have become legend: Pete Townsend destroying his guitar, Jimi Hendrix burning his, and a career-making performance for Janis Joplin.
Friday, June 24, 2011
WORLD PREMIERE: NEVER MAKE IT HOME. A masterful music doc about Split Lip Rayfield, a phenomenal Kansas alt-bluegrass band, but also an honest portrait of the late, great Kirk Rundstrom. Ravaged by cancer and given two months to live, Kirk hits the road for an unforgettable farewell tour. Director G.J. Echternkamp in attendance.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
CLOSING NIGHT: REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR. When the electric car first appeared on the scene in the 1990s, it seemed to hold great promise for the future. That is, until its mass production was abruptly and rather dubiously shut down. Yet today, the electric car is making a triumphant comeback. Director Chris Paine focuses on four dynamic entrepreneurs dedicated to creating a fast, furious and clean electric car that doesn’t require a single drop of foreign oil. Filmmaker and subjects in attendance.
WORLD PREMIERE: AGE OF CHAMPIONS. A team of trash-talking basketball grandmothers. A feisty 100-year-old tennis player. An indomitable pole-vaulter and his new rival. Washington, DC’s octogenarian Tatum brothers, still swimming like much younger men. These are the elite athletes in AGE OF CHAMPIONS; a film not only about medals won, but also about lives well lived. Director Chris Rufo and subjects in attendance.
FILMS WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE!
BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS WITH A TRIBE CALLED QUEST / USA, 2010, 98 minutes (Director: Michael Rapaport)—Acclaimed actor Michael Rapaport goes behind the camera to document the inner workings and behind-the-scenes drama of one of the most innovative and influential hip-hop bands of all time, A Tribe Called Quest. Rapaport offers unprecedented insight into this seminal band in his remarkably honest and emotional portrait.
CATCHING HELL / USA, 2011, 103 minutes (Director: Alex Gibney)—Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE) examines the infamous Steve Bartman incident in CATCHING HELL. When baseball fan Bartman deflected a foul ball that outfielder Moises Alou intended to catch during game six of the 2003 National League Championship Series between the Florida Marlins and the Chicago Cubs, in a single instant Bartman became the most hated man in Chicago.
HOT COFFEE / USA, 2011, 88 minutes (Director: Susan Saladoff)—Using the infamous lawsuit against McDonalds for injuries caused by hot coffee as a jumping-off point, this film illuminates the tactics used by big business to fight against the average person’s ability to hold companies responsible for injurious and careless behavior, and to vilify those who dare to sue.
EL BULLI – COOKING IN PROGRESS / Germany/Spain, 2010, 108 minutes (Director: Gereon Wetzel)—Celebrated chef Ferran Adrìa shares the spotlight with his magnificent culinary creations in a film sure to appeal to foodies and non-foodies alike. For six months a year, Adrìa and his creative team close shop on his world-famous El Bulli Restaurant in Spain to prepare for a new season’s menu representing the best in molecular gastronomy.
PROJECT NIM / UK, 2011, 93 minutes (Director: James Marsh)—Blending together testimony and never-before-seen archival footage, James Marsh (MAN ON WIRE) tells the story of Nim, a chimpanzee raised and nurtured like a human child and taught sign language as part of a ground-breaking scientific study.
WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM / USA, 2011, 91 minutes (Director: Heather Courtney)—From rural America to Afghanistan and back again, the film chronicles three childhood friends who join the National Guard and find themselves risking life and limb to detonate roadside bombs. This four-year journey follows them from being teenagers stuck in their sleepy northern Michigan town to 23-year-old combat veterans trying to start their lives again.