‘Meet The Press’ Film Festival with AFI Returns to DC

by Alexis McCowan

21 Short Films to Inspire You to Think, or Act. 

Chuck Todd at the 2018 film festival. (Photo by Matt Rivera from NBCUniversal)

The third-annual ‘Meet the Press’ Film Festival kicks off October 7 at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington, DC. The event will be hosted by NBC news political director, Chuck Todd — the moderator of Meet the Press and host of MTP Daily on MSNBC.

The festival, in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will showcase 21 issue-based short documentary films from five countries, bringing together filmmakers, subjects, audiences and NBC News correspondents in the nation’s capital for thought-provoking discussions. This year’s films highlight topics including criminal justice reform, climate change, immigration, education, and racial and gender equality.

“The concept behind the creation of the Film Festival was to acknowledge that political news and information is being consumed in a number of ways, not just on TV, on the radio or on social media,” Todd says.

Todd discusses how the 2019 films attempt to bring to the surface modern problems where solutions are either being ignored or not even attempted. “At a minimum, if these docs don’t inspire you to act, they will inspire you to think which is just as important of a goal for me,” Todd adds.

This year’s lineup features eight thematic tracks and in-depth moderated conversations with filmmakers, industry experts and film subjects following each program. Perhaps the most engaging aspect of the festival are the in-depth discussions with the audience, moderated by NBC News correspondents.This year’s moderators will include Katy Tur, Chuck Todd, Kristen Welker, Hallie Jackson, Andrea Mitchell and Jacob Soboroff.

One particularly impactful documentary — Toxic Beauty (directed by Phyllis Ellis) — is set to make its US debut at the festival.

Photo courtesy of NBC News.

“I promise you will make you think twice the next time you open your medicine cabinet or simply use lotion for your hands,” Todd says. “The issue Toxic Beauty addresses is the type of issue that is screaming for more attention from Washington and yet, it doesn’t neatly fit into today’s outrage-driven news cycle.”

Toxic Beauty addresses the unregulated chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products through the stories of whistleblowers, scientists, cancer survivors and others who have lost their lives — from lead in lipstick, mercury in skin cream, formaldehyde in shampoo, to parabens, asbestos, talc and aluminum that can be traced in daily products.

Some of the other  anticipated short films include:

  • Church of Safe Injection: Directed by Marshall Crook, USA. On a frigid night in Lewiston, Maine, church volunteer Kandice Child drives around and illegally distributes fresh needles and the anti-overdose drug, Naloxone. Kandice knows she can’t stop drug use but by providing clean needles and support she hopes she can help an ostracized community and maybe save some lives along the way.
  • GIRLS SECTION: Directed by Kathryn Everett, USA. GIRLS SECTION tells the story of a quiet revolution growing among young girls in remote northern Pakistan as they challenge tradition for their right to go to school for the first time.
  • A Love Song for Latasha: Directed by Sophia Nahli Allison, USA. A Love Song for Latasha is a dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present. It re-imagines a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.

All tickets are $20 and available at https://mtpfilm.splashthat.com/

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