'Letters to Jackie' to Open AFI Docs

Letters to Jackie Book Cover - P 2013

The festival, which runs from June 19-23, will also honor documentary filmmaker Errol Morris.

AFI Docs, the documentary film festival that runs from June 19-23 in Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Md., will open with the theatrical premiere of Bill Couturie’s Letters to Jackie, the festival announced Wednesday. The film focuses on the letters that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis received in the wake of the assassination of her husband, President Kennedy.

The festival’s Charles Guggenheim Symposium will honor filmmaker Errol Morris, whose films include A Brief History of Time and The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.

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The festival, previously known as Silverdocs, is produced by the American Film Institute and presented by Audi. With screenings at such venues as the National Mall, the Penn Quarter and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, it will present 53 films, representing 30 countries.

Its closing night film will be the U.S. premiere of AJ Schnack’s Caucus, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 Republican presidential candidates in the lead-up to the Iowa caucus.

Its centerpiece screening will be Jose Antonio VargasDocumented, a self-portrait of the immigration reform activist.

The festival also will feature a gala screening of Michael StevensHerblock: The Black & the White, about the Washington Post editorial cartoonist.  

Other films to screen include Patrick Creadon’s If You Build It, Sean and Andrea Nix Fine’s Life According to Sam, Barbara Kopple’s Running from Crazy and Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel.

The festival's new all-day forum, the “AFI Catalyst Sessions: The Art of Moving Reality, will focus on immigration, education, intellectual property and humor in politics.

"2013 is a year filled with dynamic changes: After ten years, the festival previously known as Silverdocs is now AFI Docs presented by Audi." said Sky Sitney, festival director. "AFI Docs reflects that we have expanded to a new environment in downtown Washington, D.C., which will be easily accessible to audiences eager to discover this year's most compelling documentaries. At the same time, we are continuing a full slate of programming at our longstanding venue, the AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Md. At AFI Docs, America's premier showcase for documentary film, we present the most provocative, challenging and compelling investigations of reality that filmmakers from America and around the world have conjured over the last year."