AFI Docs 2020 Overview

The 18th AFI Docs

June 17-21 (online)

Available online throughout the US, this Washington DC event showcases nearly 30 new feature and episodic documentaries.


The festival’s Special Presentations kick off with Sundance US doc grand jury winner, BOYS STATE, Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s eye-opening look at divisive modern-day American politics through the long-running titular high school leadership program. The event closes with Mary Wharton’s JIMMY CARTER ROCK & ROLL PRESIDENT, which explores the Georgian politician’s presidential campaign and administration through the lens of music. Making its virtual world premiere in this section is Elizabeth Barret and Wendy Ewald’s PORTRAITS AND DREAMS, which revisits Ewald’s titular photographic project on Appalachian children, 35 years later.


Episodic selections include the debuts of two upcoming PBS projects, Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia’s POV-bound AND SHE COULD BE NEXT, about the unprecedented number of women of color political candidates in 2018; and Michelle Ferrari’s American Experience project THE VOTE, which recounts the long struggle to win voting rights for women.


Among the fest’s Features are several virtual world premieres, including: Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s 9TO5: THE STORY OF A MOVEMENT, about the social movement for women office workers’ rights that inspired the film and song; director Miles Hargrove and co-director Christopher Birge’s MIRACLE FISHING, in which Hargrove transforms home movies into a gripping chronicle of his father’s abduction by Colombian rebels for ransom in 1994; Nick Quested and Sebastian Junger’s BLOOD ON THE WALL, which charts how Mexico and Central America have become plagued by drugs and violence, and the role the US has played; Daniel Lombroso’s WHITE NOISE, a disturbing inside look at the rise of the alt-right; and Marc Levin’s STOCKTON ON MY MIND, about the youngest and first African American mayor of Stockton CA.


Other features in the selection include Loira Limbal’s THROUGH THE NIGHT, a timely portrait of a 24-hour daycare center and the working mothers who depend on the childcare it provides; Yi Chen’s FIRST VOTE, a profile of several Chinese-Americans or Chinese immigrants who become involved politically in the 2018 midterm elections; and Josh Turnbow’s ONE LIFE, which provides insight into the persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya population.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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