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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


A Love Affair With Non-Fiction At SILVERDOCS

  by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor For lovers of non-fiction film, it doesn't get much better than the SILVERDOCS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, which begins its week-long love affair with documentaries next week. Boasting some of the finest achievements from the world of documentary film, the Festival is sponsored by the American Film Institute and The Discovery Channel. Its home base at the AFI Silver Theater, one of the finest arthouse venues in the country, brings even...

2008 SILVERDOCS Announces Award Winners

  Monday, June 23-----SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival announced its distinguished award winners, culminating the weeklong Festival activities that included screening 108 films representing 63 countries, free outdoor screenings and live performances, and a five-day concurrent International Documentary Conference attended by over 650 filmmakers, film and television executives and media professionals. Winning filmmakers received over $70,000 in combined cash and in-kind...


 Sunday, June 22--------The house was packed tonight at the world premiere screening of FOUR SEASONS LODGE, a crowd-pleasing look at a group of Jewish Holocaust survivors who cling to one another in their golden years at a shared bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains north of New York City. These remarkable people, a collection of real "characters" are in their final years and it is clear that once they pass, a vital link to the history of what they witnessed threatens to be lo...

Doc Thoughts: Silver Spring and Washington DC

 Sunday, June 22-----A film festival is invariably a series of moments. And if one is lucky, there is an interesting symmetry between those moments. And if one is very lucky indeed, then a special kind of serendipity brings those moments into some deeper understanding. When those moments are not officially related to one another, but still offer illuminating cross-referencing, it is all the more special. This was my experience over the past two days as I attended the final films of this year's...

The Sobering State of Documentaries

 Saturday, June 21------As SILVERDOCS enters its final weekend, one is both encouraged and discouraged by the assessments of many professionals who have appeared on panels as part of the parallel International Documentary Conference.While the sheer number of films here (over 120 screened, over 1500 submitted)) is evidence of a spike in documentary production around the world, the performance of recent films at the box office has made for quite a sober event here. "We are experiencing th...

Film In Focus: THIS WAY UP

 Saturday, June 21-------How does one make a film based in a divided East Jerusalem that is not overtly political? That was the challenge for French director Georgi Lazarevski in his documentary film THS WAY UP, which had its East Coast Premiere at SILVERDOCS yesterday.The film is set in the Our Lady of Sorrows nursing home in East Jerusalem, a venerable (if delapidated) institution for aging Catholic Palestinians. Residents once had a sweeping view of the city of Jerusalem but that has been ...

Remembering 1968 At SILVERDOCS

 Saturday, June 21-----In celebrations being held around the world, the events and repercussions of that pivotal year in world history, 1968, are being discussed, remembered and even eulogized. The events of that turbulent year in political and social history are best experienced and explained through the music of the times and the films of the era.At SILVERDOCS, the Festival is presenting a sidebar program entitled 1968 AND BEYOND that offers several seminal films from 1968 that give as accura...

European Documentaries In Competition

 Friday, June 20----The SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival has, in just six short years, become the premium festival for non-fiction film in the United States. With documentary films on the rise all over the globe, tackling every subject under the sun and even revealing some considerable box office muscle, this event has become ground zero for appreciating documentary works from the U.S. and overseas and track the trends for non-fiction media of the future.With the explosion...

Spike Lee Honored At SILVERDOCS

 Friday, June 20--------SILVERDOCS is, by and large, a non-glam event, with most attendees simply hard-working documentarians, most working without massive media spotlight. However, each year, the event brings some Hollywood-style stardust to the proceedings. In the past two years, the Festival has honored Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese, specifically for their documentary work. Last night, it was Spike Lee's turn, as the iconoclastic director was honored with the Guggenheim Symposium for h...

AFI Digital Content Lab Presentations At SILVERDOCS

 Thursday, June 19-----The AFI Digital Content Lab is a think tank and playground for filmmakers to explore opportunities in the new media. The Lab, which is housed on the campus of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, is presenting two seminar programs at SILVERDOCS.AFI DIGITAL CONTENT LAB CALENDAR SILVERDOCSJune 18-23, 2008, Silver Springs, MDDigital Content Lab Presentation - Suzanne Stefanac, Lisa Osborne Session One - Thursday, June 19: An Afternoon with the AFI Digital Content La...

American Films In Competition At SILVERDOCS

 Thursday, June 19------In just a few short years, SILVERDOCS has emerged as a major showcase of non-fiction film and video from around the world. As the Festival becomes more impressive, so to is the cache of winning an award in one of its several competition categories. With documentaries experiencing a little bit of a dip in box office success in the past year, an award from SILVERDOCS could be the imprimatur needed to make a film get noticed for both artistic and commercial potential.This y...

Music Is The Message

Wednesday, June 18-------Music is definitely the message in the special sidebar competition of music documentaries that are being showcased at this year's SILVERDOCS. Last evening, Gypsy rocker Bela Fleck and Malian musician Cheick Hamala Diabaté, gave a live performance following the premiere screening of THROW DOWN YOUR HEART by director Sascha Paladino. In the film, American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck travels to Africa to explore the little-known roots of the instrument and record an album....

SILVERDOCS 2008: An Overview

 Tuesday, June 17-------Following last evening’s gala Opening Night Film, ALL TOGETHER NOW, SILVERDOCS 2008  kicks into high gear with its first full day of screenings, seminars and special events. In all, this year’s Festival will present 108 films from 63 countries, including six World, eight North American, six US, and seven East Coast Premieres, as well as two retrospective programs. Film screenings take place at the AFI Silver Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Festival epicenter ...

Festive Opening For 2008 Silverdocs

Monday, June 16--------Documentaries, thanks be to the film gods, remain hot and in demand by both audiences and distributors. Every major film festival in the world now has a prominent documentary film section and there is even an explosion of doc-only events. One of the most important and influential is SILVERDOCS, the AFI/Discovery Communications Festival, which opens tonight with a week-long program of film presentations, conference seminars and special events. Housed at the AFI Silver The...

SILVERDOCS Ends On Environmental Note

Sunday, June 17----------After five days of what was admittedly some very difficult subject matter explored on screen (torture, imprisonment, war, racism, genocide and all forms of denial of freedom and equality), SILVERDOCS ended on a lighter note, while still staying committed to the issue-oriented nature of the event. The Closing Night Film, making its East Coast Premiere (while screening simultaneously in Seattle, Washington) is this year's nature sensation ARTIC TALE. Directed by Sarah ...

SILVERDOCS Announces 2007 Award Winners

Sunday, June 17---------After a stimulating and chockful of quality program of 100 films from 42 countries over 5 days (not to mention panels and master classes at the parallel International Documentary Conference), SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival announced its distinguished award winners at ceremonies at the AFI Silver Theater on Saturday evening. Winning filmmakers received over $55,000 in cash, goods and in-kind services. Award winners will have special repeat screenin...

The Fog Of War In The Middle East

 Sunday, June 17-------At the risk of being a moth-eaten cliche, the term "fog of war" is now routinely used to describe a state where political, strategic and moral choices in areas of conflict become shaded by the exigencies of human response to violence and an abandonment of an ethical compass that determines policy and behavior. This "fog of war" has certainly descended on the chaos that is now unfolding in the Middle East, both in the five-year conflicts in Afghanistan...

Religion, Politics And Film: An Explosive Combination

 Saturday, June 16----------With religion and core beliefs the source of both comfort and conflict in the modern world, SILVERDOCS wisely decided to dedicate a special section of the Festival to an exploration of the unique role of religion in social and political discourse. Dubbed BEYOND BELIEF: RELIGION, POLITICS AND FILM, the program has presented a provocative series of films and panel discussions. “The documentary form, which takes personal stories and launches them into the public are...

An Embrace Of Film and Music

Saturday, June 16-------One of the most popular sidebar sections at SILVERDOCS is the Best Music Documentary competition. This marriage between cinema and synchopation uses visual technique to give a deeper understanding of how music is evolving and the artists whose passion and commitment to expanding their art can either lead to personal tragedy or personal triumph. This year, six excellent films are competing, covering a wide range of musical styles and visual temperaments. Judging the films...

SILVERDOCS Sets An Example By Going Green

Saturday, June 16-----SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival is setting an example by being one of the first such festival events to actively try and reduce its carbon footprint and demonstrate how it can run its Festival efficiently with an eye towards energy conservation. This reporter, when told that the Festival wanted to encourage visitors to use public transporation to come from the Airport to the DC suburb of Silver Spring, was happy to do his part (although the Festiv...

Sundance Institute Documentary Lab

Friday, June 15-------With the accent on documentary production, financing and distribution here at SILVERDOCS, an announcement from the Sundance Institute regarding their own documentary lab initiative is particularly relevant. With many of the SILVERDOCS film having received their world premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in January, it is clear that Sundance has a large role to play in the development and disemination of non-fiction material.The Sundance Institute announced today the se...

International Documentary Conference Offers Vital Information

Friday, June 15------With more than 100 films to catch in a scant five days, it could be assumed that film screenings are the most important element of SILVERDOCS. However, for visiting and local filmmakers, media professionals and government/social organization reps, the parallel International Documentary Conference is where the meat of this event really lies. A series of information panels, master classes and discussions have been assembled that cover a multitude of topics.....from new sources...

Ten Films Compete For Sterling Award

 Friday, June 15------The Main Competition section of SILVERDOCS consists of 10 documentary features, all competing for the coveted Sterling Award. The films represent some of the most innovative, provocative and compelling non-fiction films of the year. Jurors determining the prizes include: 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 & Festiva...


Thursday, June 14---------Thursday is Demme Day at SILVERDOCS, with Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme being honored and screenings of both new and celebrated non-fiction works from the veteran director. Demme is one of the few Hollywood directors who is equally at home in fiction films and in the documentary arena. In a career that now spans four decades and includes nearly 50 feature films and television programs, nearly 25% of Demme's output has been in the non-fiction world, as either...

Pitching For Humane Society Grant of $10,000

Thursday, June 14-------Protecting the rights of animals used in films is a primary concern for the organization Animal Content In Entertainment (ACE), a program of the Humane Society of the United States. This year, ACE is teaming with SILVERDOCS to offer a grant of $10,000 for a documentary film designed for theatrical, television or new media distribution that highlights animal issues. This morning, six lucky finalists had an opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of film and animal r...


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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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