AFI Documentary Festival

AFI DOCS runs June 14–18, 2017, in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD

I have not studied the program in depth, and none of the films that I screened made the festival, but, if you are interested in documentary film, I recommend you buy advance tickets to at least one film. If you do not buy tickets in advance, you will likely be relegated to the stand-by line, which is not as futile as it sounds. Most films screen once in DC and once in Silver Spring.

Here are a few films that did jump out at me:



I note that two films below appear to be showing only once (instead of twice) and also seem to be programed for the smallest theater in Silver Spring (theater 3). Seems like one of the high level programmers thought these were very important films, but not anticipated to appeal to a larger audience.



If you are a serious documentary film buff or an inspiring filmmaker, you may want to check out the AFI Docs Forum. In the past, it has only been for filmmakers and Industry people. You may want to look at the schedule of events. It does not include films (or food) only lectures. It seems like a good deal, although last year all of the forum sessions were streamed live.

A Fast Food Company That Cares for the Environment

Here is an example of a fast food company that sources sustainably raised agricultural products, including Niman Ranch pork.  It has hired small media company to produce a video and an iphone application to tell the story of how industrialized agriculture is destroying the planet.  Watch the video they created (soundtrack by Fiona Apple):

and then what the behind the scenes video:

If you love great films, Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Do you love great documentary films?  Would you like to see them on your local public television station?  A recent Center for Social Media report showed strong public support for public-purpose programming and popular anger that many public television stations decide to repeatedly air programs like Antiques Roadshow during prime viewing hours, while relegating meaningful documentary films few slots, frequently in the middle of the night.  In addition, many public television station choose not to air many meaningful documentaries at all.

Please help make sure that your local public television affiliate knows what you value. POV and Independent Lens both fund and distribute some of the best new docs on public television stations throughout the United States.  They publicize these films and release schedules for when they are going to air.  However, if you have ever tried to watch a documentary on your local public television station, you have likely found that the show that you want to watch is not airing on the date or time that was advertised.    Local affiliates have discretion over which shows to air and when to schedule them.   Here in the Washington DC area, we are lucky to have three public television stations, WHUT, WETA, MPT.   Unfortunately, WHUT, WETA and MPT frequently air ITVS’ Independent Lens, and POV and other great documentaries not on the dates and times advertised for national distribution, but mostly if they choose to air them at all, they air them days or weeks later, in the wee hours of the night.

Nationally, Public Broadcasting Service (“PBS”) has decided to promote documentaries into a more desirable time frame.  This fall, PBS will program POV documentaries to air on Monday early evening time slot.  The purpose of this blog post is to encourage documentary lovers and all lovers of great films to encourage your local PBS affiliate to follow PBS’ lead and air Independent Lens and POV documentaries on Monday evenings, at the times and days that they air nationally.  To the uninitiated, this seems like a relatively minor issue.  However, for documentary filmmakers, the issue is quite important for building audiences and promoting their films.  Obviously, it is not desirable to have your film air at one in the morning, but having it air on a different date in every major city is also a tremendous impediment to viewers like you and me.   Please contact your local public television affiliate and encourage it air these great films during the same days and times are they are intend to be seen nationally.

Click here to send an email WETA:

WETA, 3939 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

Phone: 703-998-2600

Or contact Maryland Public Television here:

Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Boulevard
Owings Mills, MD 21117-1499

Phone: 410-356-5600
Fax: 410-581-4298

Or contact WHUT here:

Howard University Television
2222 Fourth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20059

For more context, see:

Two Great Films


Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s acclaimed play, Incendies is a moving tale of discovery. Two siblings travel halfway across the world to piece together the troubled history that their mother almost took with her to her grave. Jeanne and Simon are young adults living in Canada, oblivious to their mother’s turbulent past. The siblings are set in motion after their mother goes into a catatonic state. Jeanne seeks to carry out her mother’s wishes and her brother seeks to distance himself from what he sees as the final manifestation of his mother’s incomprehensibility.

Visiting Lebanon for the first time, Jeanne discovers the horrors her mother spent her whole life trying to protect her from. Flashbacks to her mother’s youth during Lebanon’s civil war are effectively used to make Jeanne’s journey vivid and revealing. She walks through the same dusty streets and country lanes as her mother had decades earlier. Many are almost unchanged. The scenery is stark and beautiful. A language barrier is the least of her difficulties. She is fluent in two languages, but cannot decipher her mother’s history without significant assistance and determination. The hostility Jeanne encounters from the women of her mother’s native village, is striking for it ferocity. After all those many years, hatreds have not subsided. After discovering part of the riddle, she convinces her brother to join her to locate their missing family members. Although the story they piece together is brutal, it is also filled with love and sacrifice that is not easily forgotten.


Set in the South in the early 1960s, the relationship of a young white society woman, Skeeter, and a friend’s maid, Abileen, provide an important window into the world of discrimination that was at the time, not only condoned, but by some, even encouraged. It was a way of life that was enforced by law. What starts as a relationship of necessity, becomes a friendship built upon mutual respect. Having been waited on all her life by her family’s maid, Skeeter needs Abileen to provide her the how-to for her newspaper’s household advice column. As an aspiring writer, Skeeter longs to tell a far more important story, from the perspective of the maids in her town. As Skeeter becomes more intimate with the struggles of the black women who raised generations of white children, she, together with the audience, begins to lose respect for many of her white, childhood friends as they attempt to perpetuate the repressive social structure. The maids, who at their time were seen more like posessions than people, are seen through the eyes of Skeeter to be resilient, loving, and beautiful characters. The richness of these characters and the white women surrounding them make this powerful story one that will bring you to laughter and tears. You can’t help but root for Skeeter and Abileen as they traverse the dangerous terrain that must be passed through to arrive at the truth.

Great Documentary on a local DC hero

“Redemption Stone-The Life and Times of Tom Lewis” will have its U.S. Television premiere Monday May 24th on the Documentary Channel at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Redemption Stone introduces Tom Lewis, a storyteller of quiet power, who recounts the social upheaval and rebirth that shape his unique American journey. A spiritual vision inspires Tom to open an after-school safe haven called The Fishing School and to turn hardship into hope for the children in his community.

Collaborative Map

I made this cool interactive, collaborative map on Google today. It includes all of the art galleries and some (of the many) “hot spots” on H St.

See below or click here for the full-featured map:

Studio H Gallery and Workshop, 408a H street NE
Dissident Display, 416 H Street NE
City Gallery, 804 H Street NE upstairs
Gallery O/ H, 1354 H Street NE
Conner Contemporary Art, 1358 Florida Av NE
G Fine Art, 1350 Florida Av NE
Industry, 1350 Florida Av NE (upstairs)
Evolve Urban Arts Project, 1375 Maryland Av NE

Special SilverDocs screenings/events

These films and post-screening discussions look interesting:

June 16 at 5:15 p.m.

Post-screening discussion with Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger (PARADISE LOST, BROTHER’S KEEPER, METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER)

June 16 at 7 p.m.

Post-screening discussion moderated by longtime USA Today sports writer David DuPree featuring filmmaker Pete McCormack and producer Derik Murray.

June 18 at 4:30 p.m.

Post-screening panel discussion featuring filmmaker Lucy Bailey, moderated by Peter Godwin, former BBC foreign correspondent and author of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa.

June 18 at 4:45 p.m.

Post-screening discussion moderated by Award-winning NPR national correspondent Daniel Zwerdling featuring filmmakers Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein and film subject BusinessWeek senior writer Michelle Conlin.

June 18 at 7 p.m.

Post-screening discussion featuring members of the filmmaking team, Leah Daughtry, CEO 2008 Democratic National Convention, Katherine Archuleta, DNC Lead City Planner, Chantal Unfug, Denver liaison to the DNC, Curtis Hubbard, Denver Post political editor, and Denver Post reporter Allison Sherry.

June 19 at 7-8 p.m.

Fred Wesley Quartet in performance at the Downtown Silver Spring Plaza Stage on Ellsworth Drive between Georgia and Fenton. The legendary Fred Wesley, featured in the film SOUL POWER, delivers a little of his own.

June 19 at 7:15 p.m.

Post-screening discussion moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer Robin Givhan and filmmaker R.J. Cutler.

June 19 at 9:45 p.m.

Post-screening discussion and performance featuring filmmaker Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and legendary funk/jazz trombonist Fred Wesley.

June 20 at 3:30 p.m.

Post-screening discussion featuring filmmaker Renzo Martens moderated by WAMU-88.5 FM host Kojo Nnamdi.

June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Post-screening discussion moderated by Emmy Award-winning NPR news analyst Juan Williams, featuring Civil Rights activist Lawrence Guyot, Dorothy Brizill, Executive Director DC Watch, and NBC4 News reporter Tom Sherwood.

ArtOMatic 2009: Art for (and from) Everyone

Last night Leo & Dimitar helped me hang some paintings and photos for Harry’s exhibit at Artomatic 2009
artomatic photo

The annual Artomatic festival runs May 29 to July 5 above the Navy Yard Metro station (Green Line – exit closest to National’s Stadium). There will be four bars inside, exhibits by hundreds of local artists, and two stages for live music & dance performances. Harry’s exhibit is on the second floor near the stage. It is on the north side of the building, with windows overlooking the Capitol.capitol view

See for more information

Recycled Art @ the Noyes Museum on GreenTV/Radio

My friends (Roger & Elaine)


and I Erik

were captued on tape visting the Noyes Gallery, where we had gone to see an exhibit on recycled art featuring a friend’s (Randall Clever’s) creations.

More at

Recycled art

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