Washington DC’s AFI Docs returns tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, opening with acclaimed Sundance title BEST OF ENEMIES by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, about the infamous Buckley/Gore debates of 1968, and draws to a close five days later on Sunday, June 21 with Jessica Edwards’ loving tribute to performer Mavis Staples, MAVIS!, which debuted at SXSW earlier this year. The event’s 13th edition is the first under the leadership of new Festival Director Michael Lumpkin, formerly of the International Documentary Association and a longtime fest veteran as the former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Frameline.
This year’s lineup includes approximately 50 recent documentary features, primarily culled from the lineups of Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, IDFA, and other notable festivals. Notable exceptions are four world premieres: Dawn Porter’s RISE: THE PROMISE OF MY BROTHER’S KEEPER (pictured), looking at the initiative to mentor African American boys and men to success; Natalie Avital’s THE THREE HIKERS, about three Americans who found themselves behind Iranian prison bars; Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci’s SALAM NEIGHBOR, which explores a massive refugee camp for Syrians in Jordan; and Brad Horn’s FIRST AND 17, on the pressures faced by America’s top-ranked high school football recruit.
AFI Docs’ annual celebration of nonfiction artistry, the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, this year honors Stanley Nelson, whose Sundance title THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (pictured) screens at the festival. The festival also organizes a two-day Filmmaker Conference for nonfiction filmmakers and industry exploring a range of topics from the risky business of investigative documentary to creating social change through nonfiction projects.