Due to the impact of COVID19, this year's AFI Docs festival is going online. Regardless of where or how it takes place, the 2020 edition looks to continue the fest's reputation as a premier place to discover important, innovative new documentaries from the US and around the world. There are features, shorts, and episodic works, in addition to panels and forums. One look at the members of the AFI Docs Advisory Board tells you a little something about its quality level: Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Barbara Kopple, and Ken Burns are just a few.
This will be my first year covering the fest, and I could not be more excited. Here are a few of the films I'm hoping to see and review.
Dads - Actress Bryce Dallas Howard explores fatherhood by interviewing dads from show business and many other walks of life. Her own father, director Ron Howard, is of course among those included. As the father of two, the subject matter here appeals to me greatly.
Rebuilding Paradise - Speaking of Ron Howard, he's got a film in the festival this year, too. He follows a group of people from Paradise, California as they deal with the aftermath of a devastating wildfire that displaced 50,000 residents. This one sounds like it will be powerful.
Freedia Got a Gun - Making its virtual world premiere, this movie centers on New Orleans bounce legend Big Freedia as she attempts to raise awareness about gun violence in the wake of her brother's murder. Like many entries screening at AFI Docs this year, Freedia Got a Gun could not be more timely.
White Noise - Also making its virtual world premiere is Daniel Lombroso's investigation of the alt-right. In following three controversial alt-right figures – Mike Chernovich, Richard Spencer, and Lauren Southern – he peels back the curtain on a movement that terrifies many.
Women in Blue - The timing of this one is impeccable. It focuses on the first female police chief of Minneapolis as she tries to rid the force of bad cops and promote female officers. The film is a work in progress screening, but there may not be a more “right now” title in this year's event.
Plenty of other intriguing features and shorts are also screening. AFI Docs runs from June 17-21. Keep checking back for my reviews. For more information on the festival, or to purchase passes, visit the AFI Docs website.