AFI Documentary Festival

AFI DOCS runs June 14–18, 2017, in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD http://www.afi.com/afidocs/features.aspx

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:

AFIDOCS___Features_2

http://www.afi.com/afidocs/features.aspx#dolores

AFIDOCS___Features_3

http://www.afi.com/afidocs/features.aspx#la-libertad-del-diablo

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.

AFIDOCS___Features_1

http://www.afi.com/afidocs/features.aspx#el-mar-la-mar

AFIDOCS___Features

http://www.afi.com/afidocs/features.aspx#insignificant-man-an

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.

http://www.afi.com/afidocs/forum.aspx

Free Topographical Maps

National Geographic has built an easy to use web interface that allows anyone to quickly find any 7.5 minute topo map in the continental U.S.A. for downloading and printing. Each topo map has been pre-processed to print on a standard home, letter size printer. These are the same topo maps that were printed by USGS for decades on giant sized presses but are now available in multi-page PDFs that can be printed just about anywhere.
Click the link to the website below that contains the instructions:

http://www.natgeomaps.com/trail-maps/pdf-quads#internalmap

Anacostia River Trail

This extension of the trail is not yet officially open, but there were many people riding it.  We started just north of Benning Road and turned around at the Blandensburg Waterfron Park.  The trail passes the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and some very lovely sections of river and wetlands.  It looks like it could be completed in the next 4-8 weeks. In the meantime, ride the section that goes from RFK to the Nationals Stadium: https://wlerik.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/anacostia-river-trail-loop/

Anacostia_River_Trail_Map_-_Baltimore_Ave__US_1_and_Charles_Armentrout_Dr__to_Anacostia_River_north_of_New_York_Ave__NE_US_50___TrailLink

Access trail 100 yards north of Benning Road from Anacostia Ave (see green marking on photo below).

Google_Maps AR trail

AFI Documentary Film Festival 2016

As always, there were many great films and short at the festival. My two favorites were Following Seas and Gleason.

Following Seas

1960, Bob Griffith sailed into Honolulu Harbor and met Nancy. Together on the 53 foot cutter Awhanee they spent their lives trying to balance the love of sailing and adventure with the responsibility of raising a family.

Gleason

Steve Gleason was not your typical NFL football player. After leaving the NFL, he was diagnosed with ALS. At the same time, his wife revealed that she was pregnant. The confluence of these two events and the realization that he might die before his child is even born spurred him to create a video blog, which he initially used to pass along fatherly advice to his yet unborn child. The blog then morphed into this astounding film, which captures not only a father son relationship, but also the unrivaled tenacity of a man confronting a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. 

Radio Ambulate

Radio Ambulate logo

I recently discovered a great podcast in Spanish called Radio Ambulate. Its episodes are very interesting. It’s creators also do some podcasts in English. There was a recent episode about Guatemala called “Rununcia Ya” (Resign Now). In 22 minutes, it tells the story about how the Guatemalan people forced its President to resign. The Renuncia Ya movement started off as a Facebook post and grew into a series of mass popular protests.

Renuncia Ya episode (Radio Ambulate website)

Renuncia Ya episode (iTunes)

A follow up piece in English with Francisco Goldman is also worth listening to.  He wrote a recent New Yorker Magazine story about the events and the back-story entitled ”

From President to Prison: Otto Pérez Molina and a Day for Hope in Guatemala

Francisco Goldman Episode (Radio Ambulante website)

Francisco Goldman Episode on iTunes

When I lived in Guatemala (in the late-1980s), speaking out publicly against the government would get you killed.  It is heartening that, although corruption, violence, and political killings are still rampant in Guatemala, its people are now able to engage in political dissent in a public way.  Perhaps not always safely, but it appears that there is now more space to voice concerns .

Peace Corps History and the Peace Corps Archive

Were you a Peace Corps Volunteer?  If so, please consider donating letters, diaries, and/or other items to the Peace Corps Archive at American University.

I made the video above about the Peace Corps Archive at a recent history event organized by Jesse Bailey who is the Historian of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington (RPCV/W).  He moderated a panel discussion about the history of RPCV/W.  The participants were all former board members of RPCV/W.  There were even many audience members who were very steeped in the history of the Peace Corps.  The event lasted more than 2 hours.  Here is a teaser:

Part one of the panel discussion can be found here: