AFI Silver Docs

The 10th edition of AFI Silver Docs Festival will take place in Washington DC from June 18-24.  It will open with Ramona Diaz' crowd pleaser DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’: EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY.  If you like docs this seems like a great place to go.  Info here.

Here are the women directed films in competition for the doc feature awards.  (All descriptions are from the AFI site)

U.S. Feature Competition

BETTING THE FARM:  DIR Jason Mann and Cecily Pingree.  USA.  World Premiere.

When a group of Maine dairy farmers are dropped by the national milk company that has been their bread and butter for years, their livelihood is in danger.  Refusing to go down without a fight, the farmers take matters into their own hands, banding together to form their own organic milk company, MOO.

CALL ME KUCHU:  DIR Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.  USA.  East Coast Premiere.

In Uganda, homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or sometimes even death.  David Kato, one of the few openly gay men in Uganda, bravely battles the archaic laws of his country along with the other members of a tight-knit group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists who refuse to live in fear.

DOWNEAST:  DIR David Redmon and Ashley Sabin.  USA.

The economic crisis hits the residents of Gouldsboro, Maine, when a large sardine cannery that has been a source of livelihood for hundreds of workers – many of them elderly – closes its doors for good.  The close-knit town’s new legion of unemployed must now stake their hope on an outsider who attempts to transform the defunct factory into a new lobster processing facility.

ONLY THE YOUNG:  DIR Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims.  USA.  East Coast Premiere.

Stuck in a chaste love triangle, three teens in a depressed Southern California suburb explore different paths to maturity, independence and romance.  Tippet and Mims portray their awkwardness, irreverence, rebellion, angst and joy with cinematic tenderness, finding unexpected beauty and nascent wisdom in a foreclosed wasteland.

RADIO UNNAMEABLE:  DIR Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson.  USA.

In 1963, legendary radio personality Bob Fass sat down behind the microphone at WBAI in New York City, and radio was never the same.  Fass used his innovative late night show to entertain, inform and call listeners to action during some of America’s most volatile times.  RADIO UNNAMEABLE celebrates one of radio’s unsung heroes and his remarkable life in and out of the spotlight.

SUN KISSED:  DIR Maya Stark and Adi Lavy.  USA.  East Coast Premiere.

Dorey and Yolanda Nez are a Navajo couple with two children born with XP, an extremely rare genetic neurodegenerative disease which makes any exposure to direct sunlight fatal.  For 15 years, Dorey and Yolanda believed their family to be the only one affected in their reservation, but then they discover that they are not alone.

SWEET DREAMS:  DIR Rob and Lisa Fruchtman.  USA.  World Premiere.

Ingoma Nshya is the only all women’s drumming troupe in Rwanda.  Made up of Rwandan genocide survivors and the offspring of former perpetrators – both Hutu and Tutsi – the troupe offers the women a place of support, healing and reconciliation.  When the group decides to partner with a Brooklyn-based business and open up Rwanda’s first ice cream store, these remarkable women embark on a journey to help themselves become more self-sufficient.

Sterling World Feature Competition

OMA & BELLA:  DIR Alexa Karolinski.  Germany/USA.  U.S. Premiere.

Best friends Bella and Regina share an apartment in Berlin, a passion for homespun Eastern European cooking and an extraordinary life history.  Holocaust memories are soothed by the balm of lovingly-prepared dishes remembered from a fading era.  L’Chaim meets guten Appetit in a celebration of indomitable camaraderie and remarkable, nurturing lives.

PRIVATE UNIVERSE:  DIR Helena Trestikova.  Czech Republic.  U.S. Premiere.

The celebrated Czech documentary filmmaker Helena Trestikova shows us astonishingly and with gorgeous scrutiny the intimate evolution of a family filmed over 37 years, culminating in a rich portrait of the family as well as the country.

VIRGIN TALES:  DIR Mirjam Von Arx.  France/Germany/Switzerland.  North American Premiere.

Within the Evangelical Christian community, chastity until marriage is one of its core values.  VIRGIN TALES explores the recent phenomenon of Purity Balls, in which young girls pledge their pre-marital virginity in a ceremonial ritual to their fathers.  Follow its founders Randy and Lisa Wilson, along with their seven children, as they open their lives to demonstrate what they feel should be an example to the rest of the world.

THE WORLD BEFORE HER:  DIR Nisha Pahuja.  USA/Canada/Germany/UK.

In modern day India, a group of ambitious young women undergo a month-long beauty boot camp regimen to compete in the Miss India pageant, which, for some, is one of the few avenues of success and independence for Indian women.  In contrast is Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the Hindu fundamentalist movement and its charismatic camp leader, Prachi, who stands in direct opposition to her forward-thinking pageant contemporaries.