Festival Films Address the Environment, War and Faith
Silver Spring, Maryland, May 17, 2007—SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival announced its full slate of films for the Festival, taking place June 12-17, 2007 in the Washington, DC area. SILVERDOCS 2007 will present 100 films representing 42 countries selected from 1,735 submissions with nine World, six North American, four US and 11 East Coast Premieres. These represent an increase from 2006 when 100 films were selected from 1,687 submissions. In 2006, the Festival screened sold out shows to more than 21,000 participants who viewed the best in documentary film and experienced free mid-day shorts, outdoor screenings, live music, panel discussions and special events.
Films screen in five permanent sections: Sterling Award Competition, World View, Music Documentaries, Shorts and Special Programs. For 2007 SILVERDOCS features a special series on religion and film called Beyond Belief. SILVERDOCS runs a concurrent International Documentary Conference exploring the Future of Real 2.0, and “Filmanthropy.” Philanthropist, media leader and NANKING creator and producer Ted Leonsis will give the Keynote address. Washington, DC audiences and over 650 filmmakers and industry professionals will screen highly anticipated films from some of the world’s leading documentarians.
“SILVERDOCS celebrates the passion and creativity of independent filmmakers and their ability to unite people across cultures and continents,” said Festival Director Patricia Finneran. “This year we explore the environment, the war and its impact, powerful personal perspectives on contemporary history and the future of real; we invite new audiences—and the next generation of media makers— to share in the discovery of these diverse stories, and engage in a global dialogue.”
Notable filmmakers presenting their work this year include the renowned Jonathan Demme (THE AGRONOMIST; STOP MAKING SENSE) SILVERDOCS’ Charles Guggenheim Symposium Honoree who will present the theatrical World Premiere of his film on the aftermath of Katrina, NEW HOME MOVIES FROM THE LOWER 9TH WARD; three time Emmy-Award winning director Jim Brown (PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG); Al Maysles (THE GATES); Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE); Annie Sundberg and Rick Stern (THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK); Marco Williams (BANISHED); Doug Prey (BIG RIG), Mike Mills (DOES YOUR SOUL HAVE A COLD?) and Liz Garbus (COMA) among many others.
“Five years ago, we set out with the American Film Institute to create the world’s premier documentary film festival. In a short period of time, SILVERDOCS has built a reputation as a forum for some of the most important and provocative films from around the world,” said Carrie Passmore, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility, Discovery Communications.
“We’re proud to say that this year’s festival offers the best programming in SILVERDOCS’ history.”
SILVERDOCS 2007 SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
• OPENING NIGHT: PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG directed by Jim Brown and executive produced by Norman Lear. The film interweaves the life and music of Pete Seeger, and the growingimpact of American folk music played out against the social upheavals of the latter half of the 20th century. Featuring Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, Peter Yarrow, and many more. Very special musical guests and a Gala reception to follow at Discovery Communications World Headquarters at One Discovery Place, just across the street from the AFI Silver Theatre.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
• Special Programs include panel discussions with filmmakers and subjects following the films COMA by Liz Garbus and THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern. COMA is a “year in the life” of four patients emerging from a coma; it raises questions about defining quality of life, and offers tremendous insight into the power of familial love. THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK exposes the violence and tragedy of genocide in Darfur through the eyes of a solitary American witness, Brian Steidle, in his role as military observer with the African Union. Additional panelists to be announced.
• Muslim comics attend SILVERDOCS supporting the World Premiere of STAND UP: MUSLIM- AMERICAN COMICS COME OF AGE by local filmmaker Glenn Baker and Omar Naim. The film explores discrimination against Muslim-Americans and how improved understanding and social change might just begin with a joke.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
• The Charles Guggenheim Symposium commemorates the legacy of four-time Academy Award-winner and Washington-area filmmaker Charles Guggenheim. This year the Symposium celebrates Jonathan Demme for his body of documentary work including NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD, THE AGRONOMIST, STOREFRONT HITCHCOCK, COUSIN BOBBY and SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA. Following the symposium SILVERDOCS will screen Demme’s STOP MAKING SENSE outdoors.
• SILVERDOCS features a panel discussion on Independent Documentary Perspectives on War to explore topics in Festival films including TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, by Alex Gibney; NO END IN SIGHT by Charles Ferguson, and CHICAGO TEN by Brett Morgen.
Friday, June 15, 2007
• Malalai Joya, the first woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament will participate in a discussion of the film about her campaign, ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS by Eva Mulvad. The film captures Joya’s democratic spirit and was filmed during the final weeks of her 2005 campaign carried out amidst death threats.
• BIG RIG by Doug Pray is a stunningly photographed film that follows a dozen long-haul truck drivers as they cross 21,000 miles of American highway. The nation’s beautiful scenery provides the backdrop for personal stories that emphasize how much America relies on their largely invisible labor. Buck 65 scored the film and will perform at the Moose Lodge in Silver Spring.
• A special evening of screening selections and a panel discussion on the international documentary series “Why Democracy?” at the National Archives. Films featured include PLEASE VOTE FOR ME from China, IRON LADIES OF LIBERIA from Liberia, DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT from Pakistan and TAXI TO THE DARKSIDE by Alex Gibney. In addition to filmmakers, special guests include Nick Fraser, Commissioning Editor, BBC Storyville, Don Edkins, Executive Producer, ‘Why Democracy” and the Archivist of the United States.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
• Closing Night: from the producers of MARCH OF THE PENGUINS and the studio that made AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH comes ARCTIC TALE directed by Sarah Robertson. The film follows the walrus, Seela and the polar bear, Nanu, on their journey from birth to parenthood in the Arctic wilderness. Narrated by Queen Latifah and featuring the music of Cat Stevens, Ben Harper, Aimee Mann and the Shins. Special guests to be announced.
• Local champion Double Dutch team the Kangaroo kids perform following the screening of DOUBLETIME by Stephanie Johnes. Competitive fusion double-dutch jump rope combines dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics to pulsing soundtracks. In the film, two winning teenage teams from the Carolinas prepare and compete for nationals at the Apollo Theater in Harlem—and fight intimidation by the world-class Japanese.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
• Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir perform at SILVERDOCS after the screening of WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY? directed by Rob VanAlkemade and produced by Morgan Spurlock. The film follows the Reverend and his Choir as they cross the country preaching against the coming “shopocalypse,” endless consumerism and over-consumption.
14 WOMEN / USA (Director: Mary Lambert)—In 2006, there were 14. But in its 218-year history, only 35 of the 1,875 members of the most powerful club in America—the US Senate—have been women. The film takes you inside their lives today. World Premiere.
4 ELEMENTS / Netherlands (Director: Jiska Rickels)—Fishermen, miners, firefighters and astronauts engage the elements in this visually stunning meditation on man's relationship with water, earth, fire, and air. This elegantly constructed film envelops the viewer in their experience. Washington, DC Premiere.
A WALK TO BEAUTIFUL / USA (Directors: Mary Olive Smith and Amy Bucher)—Five Ethiopian women suffer from devastating childbirth injuries and make the journey to reclaim their dignity and rebuild their lives. East Coast Premiere.
BANISHED / USA (Director: Marco Williams)—Explores a harsh truth of modern American history— the forced expulsion of blacks from entire counties in the American South. Families fled in fear of the Klan, losing their land and bruising their dignity. Now, towns are reluctant to make amends, and the descendents are demanding justice. Washington, DC Premiere.
BIG DREAMERS / Australia (Director: Camille Hardman)—The rainiest town in Australia builds the world's largest rubber boot to attract tourists and boost town pride. Tempers flare when everyone thinks they're artists, and a giant frog becomes a point of contention. Washington, DC Premiere.
BLACK WHITE + GRAY: A PORTRAIT OF SAM WAGSTAFF AND ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE / USA
(Director: James Crump)—Wagstaff, an Upper East Side art collector, became a leader of New York's downtown art scene in the 1970s. With his exquisite taste and evocative style, he launched the young Mapplethorpe to art stardom. Washington, DC Premiere.
CHICAGO 10 / USA (Director: Brett Morgen)—Morgen mixes original animation, archival footage and a rousing soundtrack to evoke the Chicago Seven Trial of the 1960's, when young Americans confronted their own oppressive and armed government. East Coast Premiere.
COMA / USA (Director: Liz Garbus) –This “year in the life” of four patients emerging from comas raises questions about defining quality of life, and offers tremendous insight into the power of familial love. Washington, DC Premiere.
DOES YOUR SOUL HAVE A COLD? / USA (Mike Mills)—The Japanese did not have a word for depression until the year 2000, despite having a suicide rate twice that of the US. Now they have antidepressants—and a marketing campaign to sell both the illness and the cure. East Coast Premiere.
DOUBLETIME / USA (Director: Stephanie Johnes)—Competitive fusion double-dutch jump rope combines dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics to a pulsing soundtrack. Two winning teenage teams from the Carolinas prepare and compete for nationals at the Apollo Theater in Harlem—and fight intimidation by the world-class Japanese. Washington, DC Premiere.
FOREVER / Netherlands (Director: Heddy Honigman)—A poignant meditation on the famous Père- Lachaise cemetery in Paris-eternal resting place of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Balzac and Chopin- where visitors reconcile human mortality with the immortal power of art. Washington, DC Premiere.
FRANK AND CINDY / USA (Director: G.J. Echternkamp)—Echternkamp explores unrealized dreams and the complexity of love in this hilarious portrait. Family life gets disturbing when dad was a one- hit-wonder ‘80s pop star and mom wishes he was so much more. Washington, DC Premiere.
GARBAGE WARRIOR / United Kingdom (Director: Oliver Hodge)—Rebel New Mexico eco-architect Michael Reynolds' dreams are built with beer cans, tires and bottles. In the race against global warming, Reynolds learns to work within the system to affect broader change and build his "earthships" all over the world. US Premiere.
HARD ROAD HOME / USA (Director: Macky Alston)—More than a social services agency, the Exodus Transitional Community in Harlem provides powerful, almost familial support for recent ex- convicts, led by a rehabilitated ex-con who does more than talk the talk. Washington, DC Premiere.
HELVETICA / United Kingdom (Director: Gary Hustwit)—Swiss design freaks rejoice! Helvetica, the omnipresent and quintessentially "Modern" font inspires passionate devotion and equally fanatical dislike. The fluctuations in its popularity over its 50-year lifespan herald the 20th-century's ambivalence about the relationship between commercial art and self-expression. Washington, DC Premiere.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON / USA (Director: David Sington)—The visually stunning story of the men who went to the moon, told in their own words. Heroes then—wise men, now: theirs is the story of an American dream realized for the whole world. Washington, DC Premiere.
JUNGLE RUDY, THE CHRONICLE OF A FAMILY / Netherlands (Director: Rob Smits)—Raised in luxury, Rudy turned his back on his fortune, escaped to the Venezuelan jungle, started a family and ultimately launched a tourist camp so successful that he himself had to eventually seek solace... again. North American Premiere.
LAKE OF FIRE / USA (Director: Tony Kaye)—Controversial filmmaker Tony Kaye has created a carefully balanced history of the battle over abortion rights in America and invites reasonable, compassionate debate of this incendiary issue. Washington, DC Premiere.
MAKING TROUBLE: THREE GENERATION OF FUNNY JEWISH WOMEN / USA (Director: Rachel Talbot)—Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein are saluted for their comedic accomplishments, inter-cut with latter-day Jewish funny ladies at New York's Katz Deli. World Premiere.
MISS GULAG / USA (Director: Maria Yatskova)—When the inmates at a Siberian women's prison hold a fashion show, the outrageously colorful outfits they design contrast with the bleakness of their incarceration. Their stories illuminate the limited prospects available to post-Soviet Russians in and out of jail. North American Premiere.
NANKING / USA (Directors: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman)—Western expatriates, businessmen and missionaries, living in the Chinese capitol of Nanking in 1937, risked their lives forming the Nanking Safety Zone to protect innocent Chinese from the invading Japanese army. Their dramatized stories, culled from letters and diaries, emphasize the horrors of war. Washington, DC Premiere.
NO END IN SIGHT / USA (Director: Charles Ferguson)—Ferguson connects the dots between the American failure to stabilize post-Saddam Hussein Iraq and the present insurgency. Interviews with transition team member Colonel Paul Hughes and Washington Post translator Omar Fekeiki illuminate the errors in judgment and planning. East Coast Premiere.
OFF THE GRID: LIFE ON THE MESA / USA (Directors: Jeremy and Randy Stulberg)—Twenty-five miles from town, a million miles from mainstream society, a loose-knit community of radicals live in the desert, struggling to survive. Washington, DC Premiere.
SOUVENIRS / ISRAEL (Directors: Shahar Cohen and Halil Efrat)—When Shahar Cohen hears his 82-year-old father bragging about the “souvenirs” he left behind during WWII, the young filmmaker determines to retrace his father’s history in the Jewish brigade, with the hopes of locating his potential half-siblings. Washington, DC Premiere.
STAND UP: MUSLIM AMERICAN COMICS COME OF AGE / USA (Directors: Glenn Baker and Omar Naim)—Can you incite change with laughter? The Muslim-American equality movement might just begin with a joke that changes your mind. Visit the New York Arab American Comedy Festival, including Ahmed Ahmed and other rising comedians. World Premiere.
STATE LEGISLATURE / USA (Director: Frederick Wiseman)—Master filmmaker Wiseman's latest couldn't be more timely, capturing the inner workings of the democratic process when many of us are anticipating campaign fatigue. Aha-this is what democracy looks like! US Premiere.
SUPER AMIGOS / Canada/Mexico (Director: Arturo Perez Torres)—In Mexico City, five real-life "social wrestlers" fight for social justice with custom masks, costumes and attitude. Featuring live action, animation, and surf soundtrack inspired by mariachi music and Batman. Washington, DC Premiere.
THE CONSULTATION / France (Director: Hélène De Crécy)—Glimpse the private confines of a French country doctor's consultation room, where diagnoses such as panic attacks, alcohol addiction and schizophrenia reveal the human side of health care. US Premiere.
THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK / USA (Directors: Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern)—A searing exposition of the violence and tragedy of the genocide in Darfur as seen through the eyes of a solitary American witness, Brian Steidle, in his role as military observer with the African Union. Washington, DC Premiere.
THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY / USA (Directors: John and Brad Hennegan)—In the high-stakes world of horseracing, the Kentucky Derby is the Holy Grail-but only 20 of the thousands of thoroughbreds born each year make it to Churchill Downs. The filmmakers follow six horses, including the beloved and tragic Barbaro, on the global quest for a spot in the starting gate. Washington, DC Premiere.
THE GATES / USA (Directors: Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Matthew Prinzing)—It took artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude over 20 years to persuade New York City officials to let them install their “golden river” of fabric gates in Central Park. Renowned filmmaker Al Maysles chronicled their decades-long effort and recorded the glorious 2005 installation, covering 23 miles of park footpaths. Washington, DC Premiere.
THE RED CARPET / Germany (Directors: Andrea and Eric Asch)—Axel Brauns is a successful author and budding filmmaker. He is also an autistic man who succeeds in outsmarting his autism daily without fully escaping it, or really wanting to. North American Premiere.
THE THIRD COAST INTERNATIONAL AUDIO FESTIVAL / USA (Presented by: Johanna Zorn)— Documentary film salutes documentary audio! In a darkened theater, listen to the best, the most compelling, the most entertaining documentary programs made for radio and the Internet.
VOYAGE IN G MAJOR / France (Director: Georgi Lazarevski)—90-year-old Aimé leaves his dedicated homebody wife behind to take his dream journey to Morocco, accompanied by his grandson. A bittersweet, poetic, humorous journey of a man who spent a lifetime holding back and can't possibly hold in the sheer joy of finally cutting loose with no compromises. Washington, DC Premiere.
WAKING APHRODITE / USA (Directors: Sarah Gonser and Lance Kruger)—Laughter and learning abound when Maggie Tappert, The High Priestess of Pleasure confronts the disparity between her career teaching women the wonders of sex and her personal life as a grandmother, with an aging husband and a deteriorating body. World Premiere.
WAR/DANCE / USA (Directors: Sean and Andrea Fine)—Young people in Northern Uganda's refugee camps have had their childhoods taken away by that country's bitter civil war-but the annual Kampala music competition gives them hope and a positive goal. Will the students from the destitute Patongo refugee camp schools hold their own on the national stage? Washington, DC Premiere.
WATER FLOWING TOGETHER / USA (Director: Gwendolen Cates)—After a 24-year career with the NYC Ballet, Jock Soto-a Native American and Puerto Rican dancer selected for the company by George Balanchine-decides to retire. Juxtapositions of dance with imagery of the American Southwest's natural splendor emphasize how Soto's artistry and his heritage are disconnected, yet inextricably intertwined. World Premiere.
WE ARE TOGETHER / United Kingdom/USA (Director: Paul Taylor)—Agape orphanage is known as the place where the children sing, not as a struggling home for children of AIDS casualties. With hope and a strong voice, they overcome great obstacles to support their home. Their efforts are finally rewarded with a fundraising performance by pop stars Alicia Keyes and Paul Simon. Washington, DC Premiere.
WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY? / USA (Director: Rob VanAlkemade)—The Shopocalypse is coming! Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir are on a pilgrimage to Disneyland, preaching the word against overspending. East Coast Premiere.
BEYOND BELIEF FEATURES
AUDIENCE OF ONE / USA (Director: Michael Jacobs)—San Francisco Pentecostal minister Richard Gazowsky saw his first movie at the age of 40. A year later, God instructed him to write and direct an epic Biblical sci-fi movie. But when the film crew goes on location in Italy, even a divine mission doesn't spare them from Murphy's Law-or the ravings of an egomaniacal director. Washington, DC Premiere.
BRIDGE OVER THE WADI / ISRAEL (Directors: Barak and Tomer Heymann)—The Bridge over the Wadi school is an experiment-what happens when Arab and Israeli children attend school together, learning each other's language, culture, and religious traditions? The open acceptance of the children throws the complexity of adult religious and political conflicts into stark relief. US Premiere.
BUDDHA'S LOST CHILDREN / Netherlands (Director: Mark Verkerk)—A former boxing champion turned monk takes in orphaned children in a poor remote region of Thailand near the Burmese border and transforms their lives. Washington, DC Premiere.
HARD AS NAILS / USA (Director: David Holbrooke)—An un-ordained evangelical Catholic youth minister travels around the Northeast winning converts and arousing controversy because of the extreme physicality and provocative nature of his preaching style. Washington, DC Premiere.
LIVING GODDESS / United Kingdom (Director: Ishbel Whitaker)—A lush tale of a girl-child, considered to be the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kumari. She lives a peaceful and sheltered life, worshipped even by her parents, while outside her palace, the people are fighting for democracy against a despotic king, the fruition of an ancient prophecy. World Premiere.
ORTHODOX STANCE / USA (Director: Jason Hutt)—An exhilarating study in contrasts. A young Ukrainian Jewish immigrant rises to prominence in New York City's urban boxing gyms, but his fervent commitment to Hasidic beliefs complicates his boxing ambitions. World Premiere.
THE MONASTERY / Denmark (Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjaer)—Mr. Vig donates his Danish castle to an orthodox Russian community led by Sister Amvrosija, who has different ideas about how a monastery should be run. Washington, D.C. Premiere.
BEYOND BELIEF SHORTS
A SON'S SACRIFICE / USA (Director: Yoni Brook)—Imran quit being a Manhattan ad man to run the family Halal slaughterhouse in Queens. His faith and patience are tested during Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice.
GOD PROVIDES / Canada/USA (Directors: Brian Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky)—In Katrina's aftermath, an exploration of faith and loss in Louisiana.
MY NAME IS AHMED AHMED / USA (Director: Matthew Testa)—Ahmed, a Muslim American comedian, jokes about his name and about being brown. If his routine changes ideas about Muslims, it's a rare perk in the world of stand-up.
ORISHAS ARE OUR SAINTS / USA (Director: John Kane)—A contemplative look at the modern practices of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria. The stunning black and white film shows rare images of the seaside rituals and devotions.
PARADISE DRIFT / Netherlands (Director: Martin Hansen)—Hikers trek to a ridge for a shared mystic event. Viewers are left to create their own interpretation of this mysterious and calm nighttime endeavor.
THE DAYS AND THE HOURS / USA (Director: John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson)—A thin paycheck separates many Americans from homelessness. Taking daytime refuge in church, they reflect on the lives they had before they lost their shelter.
STERLING AWARD FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
During the Festival 10 Films will compete for the Sterling Award, Shorts will compete for the Sterling Short Award, Music Documentaries will compete for the Music Documentary Award. New awards this year include the Cinematic Vision Award, the WITNESS Award and the SILVERDOCS/American Film Market award. Award winners will be announced at the SILVERDOCS Award presentation on Saturday June 16, 2007. All films are also eligible for Audience awards for Best Feature and Short, which will be announced on Sunday June 17, 2007. As previously released, the following films will be in competition:
BIG RIG / USA (Director: Doug Pray)—Shattering the anonymity of long-haul truck drivers, Pray constructs a portrait of working-class America and these diverse individuals whose largely invisible labor drives our economy. Their complex personal histories and perspectives play out against America’s iconic “ribbon of highway.” East Coast Premiere.
ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS / Denmark (Director: Eva Mulvad)—The first woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament, Malalai Joya’s democratic spirit has made her a heroine to many Afghans. Filmed during the final weeks of her 2005 campaign under threat of death, it reveals Joya’s courage and the human faces behind the news stories of burkas and blue-inked thumbs. East Coast Premiere.
HOTHOUSE / USA (Director: Shimon Dotan)—A gripping look at life behind the prison walls for some of the nearly 10,000 Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons and how prison creates a brotherhood that fuels the political divide. East Coast Premiere.
HOW TO COOK YOUR LIFE / Germany (Director: Doris Dorrie)—Just as life is a journey, not a destination, food is about the process of cooking, not just eating. This inspiring film follows Zen chef, Edward Brown and his good-natured exploration of cooking, life, and the world around us. North American Premiere.
LOSERS AND WINNERS / Germany (Directors: Michael Loeken and Ulrike Franke)—Cultures clash as a Chinese firm buys a giant German steel factory and moves it piece by piece to the other side of the global economy. East Coast Premiere.
MADE IN LA / USA/Spain (Director: Almudena Carracedo)—Latina garment workers expend blood, sweat and tears to successfully organize against not only the sweatshops, but the glossy mall stores where there labor is displayed. World Premiere.
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME / China (Director: Weijun Chen)—What does democracy look like in the world’s largest Communist country? Start small, very small. This charming film follows the intense politicking to become class monitor of a third grade class in Wahun Province China. North American Premiere.
THE PRICE OF SUGAR / USA (Director: Bill Haney)—When a charismatic Spanish Priest arrives in the Dominican Republic and protests the enslavement of dispossessed Haitians in the sugar plantations, he ignites a firestorm of tension. East Coast Premiere.
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE / Israel (Director: Alex Gibney)—An examination of torture and the War on Terror, beginning with the death of an innocent Afghani taxi driver. Alex Gibney tracks the development of the Bush administration’s interrogation techniques in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and Iraq. Washington, DC Premiere.
A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY / USA (Director: Esther Robinson)—An artful inquiry into the disappearance of the filmmaker’s uncle, Danny Williams, a promising young filmmaker and seminal but forgotten figure in Andy Warhol’s inner circle at The Factory. The film weaves rarely seen footage from the period with contemporary interviews with surviving Factory members. Washington, DC Premiere.
Sterling Award Feature Jury: Liesl Copland, head of acquisitions of Red Envelope Entertainment, the newly created original content division of Netflix; Matt Dentler, the Producer of the South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival; and Ross Kauffman, the 2005 Academy Award winning director of BORN INTO BROTHELS.
STERLING AWARD FOR BEST SHORT
Shorts programmed in SILVERDOCS have gone on to be nominated for an Academy Award each year of the Festival. THE BLOOD OF YINGZHOU DISTRICT, directed by Ruby Yang, which had its world premiere at SILVERDOCS 2006, received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
ALICE SEES THE LIGHT / USA (Director: Ariana Gerstein)—Many Americans live under lights so bright their eyes can no longer adjust to total darkness. An animated ode to the dark.
ANDERMAN / Netherlands (Director: Jaap van Heusden)—Per Anderman struggles to write, frustrated by caring for his mother. When he begins his Alzheimer's Café blog, he finds his writing renewed.
BULLET PROOF VEST / USA (Director: May Lin Au Yong)—In protest of Richmond, California's extreme youth gun violence, twins Mustapha and Jyeshria live in a playground “tent city” with their mother. They candidly tell why they don't play outside.
CALCUTTA CALLING / Germany (Director: Andre Hörmann)—A day in the life of Vikeeh, who spends his days selling fire extinguishers and offering customer service to callers all over the world from a call center in Calcutta.
FREEHELD / USA (Director: Cynthia Wade)—At the center of the equal rights debate, Lt. Laurel Hester is dying of lung cancer and fighting to pass her police pension to her life partner, Stacie Angree. The city explodes with controversy; Laurel only wants to provide for her lover before it’s too late.
HATTENHORST / Germany (Director: Ove Sander)—Hans Hattenhorst moved to the German island of Juist in the 1940s and has worked ever since as a projectionist in the small cinema--but has long lost his passion for movies.
I JUST WANTED TO BE SOMEBODY / USA (Director: Jay Rosenblatt)—Orange juice ad queen Anita Bryant crusaded against gay civil rights in the 70s, but was important both to the creation of the religious right and to the gay rights movement.
I WANT TO BE A PILOT / KENYA/MEXICO/SPAIN (Director: Diego Quemada-Díez)—a visual poem highlighting the desperation felt by AIDS orphans living in the slums of Kenya, and the hope they feel to leave.
IRAQI KURDISTAN / USA (Director: Ed Kashi)—An alternative perspective on a changing culture, one different from the images of destruction and discord that dominates so much media coverage of the region.
LOT 63, GRAVE C / USA (Director: Sam Green)—Altamont Free Concert, 1969. Meredith Hunter is killed at this infamous event; his death becomes an icon for the end of the Summer of Love. Now, he lies forgotten buried in an unmarked and unvisited grave.
MONSIEUR BORGES AND I / USA (Director: Jasmin Gordon)—A portrait of an eccentric French professor who dedicated his life to his friend and hero, the literary giant Jorge Luis Borges.
MOTODROM / Germany (Director: Joerg Wagner)—Vrrroom! On the edge of your seat, watch gravity-defying motorcycle stunts race by in sterling black and white.
MY 9/11 / Netherlands/USA (Director: Tjebbo Penning)—Finding it too difficult to accept, Penning's reluctant film attempts to show everything but the towers' collapse, but returns to the horrifically beautiful image.
MY EYES / Denmark (Director: Erlend E. Mo)—Music is integral in Katja's life, evoking experiences and emotion. Young Catherine is also grappling with enhanced senses in her blind world, and with her mother discovers the joy in sound and touch.
RENDEZ-VOUS / Poland (Director: Marcin Krawczyk)—In this refreshing perspective on dating rituals that many of us take for granted, a young couple with down’s syndrome discuss their desire to adapt to them over candlelight dinner.
SARI'S MOTHER / USA (Director: James Longley)—Set against the backdrop of the Iraq War, a desperate mother tries to find medical care for her 10-year-old son, Sari, who has contracted Aids during a blood transfusion.
SONIC YOUTH: "DO YOU BELIEVE IN RAPTURE?" / USA (Director: Braden King)—This Collaboration with Sonic Youth is an elegy for NYC's legendary CBGB club and all the transcendent shows we've all ever seen.
TALK TO ME / United Kingdom (Director: Mark Craig)—Sex, drugs, music, birth, death, nightlife and lazy days. A life told through 21 years of voicemail.
THE FIGHTING CHOLITAS / Bolivia/USA (Directed by Mariam Jobrani)—Bolivian indigenous peasants, la cholitas wear traditional layered skirts when slamming each other in the ring. The luchas' strength inside the ring and out is remarkable.
THE GUARANTEE / USA (Director: Jesse Epstein)—A male ballet student is confronted about his large nose; he weighs his options in hopes of more lead roles with a smaller schnoz. Told in witty hand-drawn animation.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TOOTH / United Kingdom (Director: Hazel Baillie)—An insight into the meticulous work of the Tooth Fairy, exploring the importance of myth and lies in escaping the tedium of everyday life.
WAR TORN: STORIES OF SEPARATION / United Kingdom (Director: David Modell)—Four women tell of their men at war. Their stories show the emotional resonance of another's story and the often devastating, unexpected outcomes of war.
Sterling Award Short Jury: Yance Ford, Series Producer P.O.V. American Documentary; Amir Labaki, filmmaker, founder and director of the It's All True International Documentary Film Festival; and Liz Ogilvie, head of programming for Docurama Films, an independent digital distribution company.
BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY AWARD
BUILDING A BROKEN MOUSETRAP (plus two shorts) / USA (Director: Jem Cohen)—From the acclaimed filmmaker of INSTRUMENT, about the band Fugazi, comes an electric concert film featuring the Dutch band the Ex preceded by two lyrical shorts: NYC WEIGHTS AND MEASURES and
BLESSED ARE THE DREAMS OF MEN. Washington, DC Premiere.
HIP HOP REVOLUTION / USA (Director: Weamm Williams)—Twenty-five year journey of hip hop in South Africa, from its birth on the Cape Flats to the political uprising in the 80s, giving youth a medium to express themselves and inspire pride when it was needed most. North American Premiere.
KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON / USA (Director: AJ Schnack)—A surprising portrait of the man behind the icon, Kurt Cobain, in his own words narrating this visually stunning film of his childhood, Nirvana’s sudden rise to fame, his controversial relationship with Courtney Love, and his struggles with pain and depression. Washington, DC Premiere.
NOMADAK Tx / Spain (Director: Raul De la Fuente)–The film follows two musicians as they traverse the world with a magical instrument, the Txalaparta. East Coast Premiere.
NOTE BY NOTE (THE MAKING OF STEINWAY L1037) / USA (Director: Benjamin Niles)—Steinway pianos are hand built in the Bronx. The builder imparts unique personality to each. This film elegantly shows the creation of Steinway L1037 and examines the process by which pianists select a Steinway Grand for performances. Washington, DC Premiere.
SCOTT WALKER 30 CENTURY MAN/ UK (Director: Stephen Kijak)—With his wry lyrics and reclusive nature, Walker’s creative influence reaches further than his name, inspiring the likes of Bowie, Brian Eno, the Smiths, and Radiohead with his unusual tenor vibrato and melancholy songscapes. Washington, DC Premiere.
Music Documentary Jury: Rosanna Arquette is an actress and filmmaker best known for her early film role in DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN. She directed SEARCHING FOR DEBRA WINGER, and more recently, ALL WE ARE SAYING, in which musicians speak about music, business, art and life; Joe Berlinger, Director of BROTHER’S KEEPER, PARADISE LOST, and METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER, among others.
The 2007 SILVERDOCS sponsors help make the Festival possible. This year’s sponsors include: Founding Sponsor: Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Primary Media Sponsors: Comcast, Capitol File, The Gazette, Maryland Public Television – MPT; Video Design & Production: Spirit Creative; Bronze Sponsors: VER, VIDITalk; Official Media Sponsors: 94.7 The Globe, WAMU 88.5FM, Washington City Paper; Official Sponsors: American Airlines, Courtyard by Marriott, Starbucks, WMATA, Weber Merritt Public Relations; Major Sponsors: Ball Aerospace, Baseline StudioSystems, Borders, Maryland Film Office and Pump Audio.
WHAT’S NEW FOR SILVERDOCS 2007
Guggenheim. The Festival’s signature program, the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, honors the legacy of the late four-time Academy Award winning filmmaker, Charles Guggenheim, by recognizing a filmmaker who shares the same artistic excellence and profound respect for humanity and democratic values. In 2007, the Symposium will honor Jonathan Demme. His documentary work includes NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD (2006); THE AGRONOMIST (2003); STOREFRONT HITCHCOCK(1998); COUSIN BOBBY (1992); SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA (1987); and STOP MAKING SENSE (1984). SILVERDOCS will screen a series of excerpts from Demme’s body of documentary work, as well as the theatrical World Premiere of his latest documentary HOME MOVIES FROM THE LOWER 9TH WARD, and outdoor screenings of STOP MAKING SENSE and NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD. International Documentary Conference. The 2007 Conference explores The Future of Real 2.0: Rights, Revenue and Readiness drills down into Web 2.0 and the expanding world of interactive on line communities, user-generated content and new distribution platforms. The Conference will also explore Filmanthropy, a new wave of links between documentary, non-profits and advocacy groups. The keynote address will be given by Ted Leonsis, NANKING producer, media leader (Vice Chairman, America Online) and a leading philanthropist who has turned his attention to documentary film as a means of raising awareness of important social issues. Other Conference highlights include in-depth workshops on Becoming a Green Production House, Spotlight on Discovery, A Blue Print on Fundraising for Documentaries, Producing for U.S. Public Television, and sessions on the programming, acquisition and commissioning priorities of critical industry players. Beyond Belief. This year’s featured thematic program is Beyond Belief, a series of documentaries exploring faith, fanaticism, spirituality and ethics in civil society.
New Awards. This year SILVERDOCS is also conferring three new awards that will be presented annually at the Festival. The Cinematic Vision Award presented by Discovery HD Theater will be given to a feature and a short film that exhibit excellence and innovation in visual storytelling($2,500 each). The WITNESS Award in honor of Joey Lozano will be awarded to a theatrical documentary about human rights violations or social justice issues ($5,000). The SILVERDOCS American Film Market Award will be presented to a film of exceptional promise in the media marketplace and will include passes to the American Film Market (October 31 to November 7, 2007), airfare, five nights hotel and pre-arranged meetings with potential partners ($5,000 value). SILVERDOCS and ACE/Animal Content in Entertainment will again present a $10,000 development grant, initiated in 2006. The new awards join those for films in competition: Sterling Award Feature($25,000 cash and in-kind, including $5,000 in film product from Kodak); Sterling Award Short ($5,000); and Music Documentary Award presented by Pump Audio ($2,500). The new awards bring the combined cash and in-kind prizes at SILVERDOCS to $55,000.
SILVERDOCS Goes Green. SILVERDOCS is the first documentary Festival in North America to go carbon neutral and is instituting Festival-wide initiatives to produce a green event. SILVERDOCS is also convening PROJECT GREENCODE to develop industry standards.
SILVERDOCS is an international film festival celebrating the creative vision of independent filmmakers and the power of documentary to expand our world-view and enhance our understanding of the world around us. SILVERDOCS presents six days of programming from over 42 countries, plus special screenings and the concurrent four-day International Documentary Conference. Now in its fifth year, SILVERDOCS has become the most talked about documentary festival in the United States. In 2007, SILVERDOCS announced that it is the first carbon-neutral documentary festival in North America. Leading filmmakers such as Nick Broomfield, Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, Alan King, Barbara Kopple, Al Maysles, Stanley Nelson, Martin Scorsese and Penelope Spheeris have shared their work and their perspectives with Festival and Conference participants. SILVERDOCS provides business and creative connections between filmmakers, broadcasters, distributors and funders from both established and emerging media markets at the International Documentary Conference which includes over 60 panels and workshops and is attended by over 650 filmmakers and guests from around the world. Former Vice President Al Gore delivered the keynote address at the 2006 Conference, and speakers from every major documentary media outlet regularly participate.
The Festival is presented through a unique alliance between AFI, a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media and Discovery Communications, the number one non-fiction media company in the world with operations in 170 countries and territories reaching nearly 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers.
The Festival—which will take place June 12 – 17, 2007—serves as a launch pad for independent documentaries and affords international filmmakers access to US audiences.
SILVERDOCS takes place at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, a year-round cinema complex presenting first-run art house film, calendared screening series and themed festivals. The 49,000 square- foot art deco complex houses three theaters—one historic, two new state-of-the-art stadium-style theaters—and a café; it is located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, just across the street from Discovery World Headquarters.
For more information, go to www.SILVERDOCS.com.