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Silverdocs Documentary FF


Online Dailies Coverage of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival taking place June 21-27, 2010 at the AFI Silver Theater


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Do Documentaries Really Matter?

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After the intense (and enjoyable) experience of sitting through at least 15 documentary feature films over 4 days at the just concluded AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, the question organically arose: do documentaries really matter? As someone who trained in documentary filmmaking techniques (and who made a few, best to be forgotten non-fiction nothings) and an admirer of the stamina, grit and determination of the documentary filmmaker, my answer appeared more hopeful than det...

2010 Silverdocs Audience Awards

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  The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival Audience Award Winners were announced on Sunday evening as the seven-day doc fest came to an end after screening more than 100 films from over 50 countries. More than 25,000 attendees and 1000 film and media professionals participated in the week-long doc love fest.  The Audience Award for a feature goes to MEN WHO SWIM directed by Dylan Williams.  The film follows a British man living in Sweden on the brink of turn...

2010 Silverdocs Award Winners

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The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival announced its award winners at a typically low-key awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon, culminating the weeklong festival activities that included the screening of 102 films representing 54 countries, a free outdoor screening, live performances, and a five-day concurrent International Documentary Conference.  This year's Sterling Award for Best US Feature was won by WO AI NI MOMMY (I LOVE YOU, MOMMY) directed by Stephanie...

Strong Showing by European Documentaries

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  This year's AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival boasted a strong showing of new European documentaries. The non-fiction tradition continues to expand with the arrival of new documentary voices from the "first world". The Sterling World Competition section boasted strong films from Europe. THE ARRIVALS by French co-directors Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard examined the tensions in French society as more and more immigrants arrive to realize the "French d...

Secrets And Lies: The Pat Tillman Story

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  It is one of the defining news stories of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars….when all-star football player Pat Tillman walked away from a multi-million dollar contact with the Arizona Cardinals in May 2002 to join the Army, he became an instant symbol of patriotic fervor following the events of 9-11. However, when his promising future ended in unexpected and unnecessary tragedy, the Tillman family refused to accept the “official” story being offered by the military and polit...

Nordic Angst On The Big Screen

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  STEAM OF LIFE (Finland)    I am not sure if it was completely intentional or just one of those alchemic side effects of working with what was available, but one of the unintentional strands of this year’s AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival can only be described as “Nordic angst”, a unique kind of melancholy only found in the sun-starved nations of Scandinavia and northern Europe. A group of films from the region, of diverse subjects and filmic s...

SILVERDOCS Film In Focus: MAKING THE BOYS

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  Sometimes, it takes time passing for true worth to be revealed. Such is clearly the case with the controversial 1960s play THE BOYS IN THE BAND, which was the first drama to feature openly gay men in their natural habitat of downtown Manhattan. The play, by fledgling writer Mart Crowley, was a cultural watershed in 1968 when it opened in a tiny theater in New York’s West Village. It became not only a hit (running five years) but the first openly gay theatrical show (with openly gay w...

Building A Bridge To Peace

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What one of the great benefits (and joys) of an event like the AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival is the presentation of films that go behind the news headlines and offer a portrait of the complexity and urgency of political and social events. The simple idea behind many of the films here is that the more we know, the more we understand, the more we can do. In the case of finding solutions to some of the world's most complicated issues, none is more pressing than the need t...

Honoring A Documentary Master

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  At a film festival devoted to non-fiction works from around the world, the presence of a true documentary master is cause for celebration. Such was the atmosphere on Wednesday evening at the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival, which honored documentary pioneer Frederick Wiseman with its annual Guggenheim Symposium (the Festival's equivalent of a career achievement award). Wiseman, who has been making controversial and thought-provoking films since the 1960s, is...

Silverdocs Conference Takes Off

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  While it is undeniably fun (and instructive) to view the completed films at this year's SILVERDOCS, much of the meat of the 7 day program is in its annual professional conference. Held parallel to the film screenings at the AFI Silver Theater and other venues, the concurrent International Documentary Conference is a must for professionals in the non-fiction field. The Conference brings together leading filmmakers, educators, broadcasters, business leaders, distributors, private a...

Silverdocs Film In Focus: WAITING FOR SUPERMAN

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  After you have produced one of the influential documentaries of your generation (and also won an Oscar for it), what do you do for an encore? Well, for Davis Guggenheim, the director of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, the rousing documentary that focused on the debate surrounding global warming and climate change (and that resurrected the moribund political career of former vice president Al Gore), the focus returns to a fundamental American challenge: the eroding educational system. Scr...

Pitching New Documentaries At SILVERDOCS

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  The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland is now in full swing, with industry movers and shakers in town to exchange information and view the latest documentary offerings from around the world. While the completed films get the lion's share of attention from visiting distributors, programmers and an enthusiastic public, many producers are here to try and secure funding that has become increasingly difficult in a stunted indie film market...

FREAKONOMICS Opens AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival

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  The focus returns to documentaries from the US and around the world as the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival kicked off on Monday evening, June 21. The Festival and International Documentary Conference are the largest events of their kind in the United States, bringing together non-fiction producers, distributors, television executives, film festival programmers and a bevvy of other industry professionals who are passionate about documentaries. Add to that the moti...

2009 SILVERDOCS Award Winners

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor Coming to a climax after a week full of screening premieres, information sessions, special events and networking parties, the 2009 SILVERDOCS Documentary Film Festival, co-presented by the American Film Institute and The Discovery Channel, announced its award winners this past weekend, spreading the wealth amongst a diverse group of documentary titles. This year, the Festival screened over 120 films representing 58 countries and incl...

World Premieres Grace Silverdocs

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor Nothing is more prized at a film festival than a World Premiere, the first go out of the gate of a film that can trace its origin to that very film event. It is what builds reputations for festivals and captures the attention of media professionals and press with special attentiveness. The Silverdocs International Film Festival, which ends on Sunday, has a good number of World Premieres to tantalize. Chief among them is tonight's...

Honoring Documentary Royalty At Silverdocs

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 by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies EditorIn a theater full of documentary filmmakers and film lovers, the appearance of an eminence grise the likes of Albert Maysles is the equivalent of having a member of documentary royalty in your midst. Maysles, along with his late brother David, was responsible for some of the most iconic documentaries of the past fifty years and has served as a mentor to hundreds of filmmakers.Albert Maysles is widely recognized as a pioneer of “direct cinema” a...

The Wacky And The Weird At SILVERDOCS

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor The SILVERDOCS International Film Festival, which is entering its final weekend, is by most accounts a very sober affair. After all, many of the films are about challenging subjects of human rights abuse, political exploitation, ecological ruin and the inhumanity of men and their regimes. But the programmers of the event have made sure to season this sober brew with some films whose premises are a bit "out there". However, i...

Obama On Film And On The Web

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor President Barack Obama is, if nothing else, very telegenic.....the camera simply loves him and cannot get enough. This fact plus his historic ascendancy in a mere two years from junior Senator to the top political leader of the world is an astounding one that will certainly be the stuff of legend in years to come. But for the moment, we are living that legend and the media fascination on and surrounding Obama is electric. Afte...

Media Maven Looks Into The Future

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor "The future is strange", declared Silverdocs International Documentary Conference Keynote Speaker Tom Bernard, the co-founder and co-President of Sony Pictures Classics (SPC). Drawing on a 30 year career where he has marketed and distributed some of the most celebrated American independent and world cinema films, Bernard is one of the true film mavens with a commanding intellect and a deep understanding of the cinema busines...

Muhammad Ali In The Spotlight

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor Perhaps it is only a coincidence or a kind of cinematic convergence that sometimes happens at a film festival, but the boxing legend Muhammad Ali is the subject (or at least the subtext) of several of the most anticipated films showing here at the Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion and one of the most colorful sports figures of the past 50 years is the focus of FACING ALI, which recei...

Documentaries At The Crossroads

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor As SILVERDOCS, the nation's most prominent documentary film festival, begins to hit its stride, it is worth mentioning that the documentary film has not had the charmed life at the box office as we saw earlier in the decade. While not every film can hope to reach the stratosphere of FAHRENHEIT 911 (which had a record-shattering $120 million international box office gross in 2004), the recent crop of documentaries coming to theaters ...

Film In Focus: DEFAMATION

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor With the Washington DC area still reeling from last week's shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the heart of the nation's capital, a hot-button documentary explores the nature of anti-semitism in both the United States and overseas. Israeli director Yoav Shamir, whose incendiary films on the Israeli/Palestine conflict won major awards at Sundance, Berlin and other festivals, brings a somewhat light-heartened tone to DEFAMATION...

MORE THAN A GAME Opens SILVERDOCS

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor The sports documentary MORE THAN A GAME, a tale of inspiration set in the hardknock basketball courts of Akron, Ohio, opens the 2009 edition of the SILVERDOCS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, prior to its theatrical release in October 2009 by Lionsgate. Directed By:Kristopher BelmanProduced By:Harvey Mason, Jr., Kristopher Belman, Matthew Perniciaro, Kevin Mann Starring: LeBron James, Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III, Willie McGee, Rome...

The Good Pitch At SILVERDOCS

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor The SILVERDOCS Documentary Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film events devoted to the non-fiction form, has joined forces with UK's Channel Four BRITDOC Foundation (www.britdoc.org/goodpitch) and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (www.sundanceinstitute.org/docsource) to present the North American tour of THE GOOD PITCH, a co-production market initiative that will be part of the Festival's industry events this...

Premieres Bookend SILVERDOCS

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  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor Two premieres have been announced to bookend the SILVERDOCS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, which begins on Monday. The Festival opens with the U.S. Premiere of MORE THAN A GAME,  a remarkable coming of age story about friendship and loyalty in the face of great adversity. Directed by Kristopher Belman, the documentary film follows the incredible rise (and occasional fall) of five talented young basketball players from Akron, Ohio....

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About Silverdocs Documentary FF

Sandy Mandelberger
(International Media Resources)

Online Dailies Coverage of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, taking place at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland from June 21 to 27, 2010.


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