American Film Institute Taking AFI Docs To Washington, D.C.

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AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale

Previously known as Silverdocs, the annual documentary film festival is expanding into the nation's capital in hopes of stirring up a national dialog around its programming.

The American Film Institute is renaming its documentary film festival that has been held in Silver Spring, Maryland since 2003, and it also is adding venues in Washington, D.C. for the fest’s 2013 edition.

Previously known as The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival, the festival has a new sponsor in Audi for its eleventh edition and a new moniker, AFI Docs presented by Audi.

Set to run from June 19-23, the festival will continue to offer programming at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, where it has been held for the past ten years, but it will also set up shop at various venues in the heart of the nation’s capital such as the Newseum and the Warner Bros. Theater in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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“We built a great program in Silver Spring, but now we are creating a new program that will expand into the heart of the city,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO. “These are films where the story-teller’s goal is to effect change, so what better place to hold the festival than in the nation’s capital, where we can bring together the nation’s leaders with the nation’s story-tellers.”

At the heart of the festival will be a program called AFI Catalyst Sessions: The Art of Moving Reality, where the AFI hopes to bring together filmmakers with members of the legislature, the administration and other policy-makers to discuss issues raised by individual films.

“Each of the conversations will have a catalyst film,” Gazzale said. “When you look at the advisory board, we said to these prominent non-fiction filmmakers that our goal is to move the conversation to a national dialog, and everyone signed on.”

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The advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Albert Maysles, Errol Morris, D. A. Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman.

Commented Sky Sitney, AFI Docs Festival director, “The festival is best known for the quality, depth and range of its programming, often with films that touch deeply on the emotional core of our national identity. We look forward to bringing these powerful and impactful stories to expanded audiences in Washington, D.C. and beyond."

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