AFI DOCS FORUM

Filmmaker Conference

Over four days, the AFI DOCS Forum presents a variety of networking and professional development events for filmmakers, industry professionals and those with a passion for nonfiction storytelling.

The 2018 AFI DOCS Forum will take place June 14–17 at the Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center (DAC), 421 Seventh Street NW, Washington, DC 20004.

Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, each day of the Forum will include breakfast and lunch. Check back often for updates on the Forum schedule, participants and presenters.

AFI DOCS Filmmaker Forum
Thursday, June 14 through Sunday, June 17
June 14 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
June 15 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
June 16 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
June 17 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

AFI DOCS Festival Hub
421 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

Thursday, June 14

9:30 a.m.
FUNDING THE WORK, SUPPORTING THE FILMMAKER
Funders and nonprofit film organizations are increasingly realizing that backing one-off projects is not enough. This expert panel of funders and support organizations discusses how grant awards are being supplemented by a range of beneficial resources and programs in support of the whole filmmaker, and not just individual projects.

11:00 a.m.
AFI DOCS INDUSTRY MICRO-MEETINGS
Forum attendees will be afforded an opportunity to connect with funders, public media representatives and other industry leaders in one-on-one, 15-minute micro-meetings, where they can talk funding, discuss distribution or get feedback on a short work-in-progress trailer. Space is limited and available on a first-come basis. Check back on June 4 for sign up information.

12:30 p.m.
LUNCH

1:30 p.m.
BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME: AMERICA'S THRIVING RURAL & REGIONAL FILMMAKING LANDSCAPE
The zeitgeist is shifting. No longer confined to the metropolis, documentary filmmaking is experiencing an unprecedented revival in rural and regional communities across America. Rooted in less populated locales, filmmakers are re-centering media — allowing more stories to reflect homegrown perspectives. In this panel, we explore the vibrant world of rural and regional filmmaking, and the exciting collaborations between the filmmakers, rural stations and nonprofit media support organizations who are bringing these stories to light. Following the panel, Forum attendees interested in developing partnerships with local or regional stations will have the opportunity to connect directly with public media representatives in 15-minute micro-meetings, where they can discuss potential collaborations and gain insights on the public media system.

Sponsored by

3:30 p.m.
VR SHOWCASE


Friday, June 15

9:30 a.m.
DOCUMENTARY CAPITAL: A TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE STATE OF DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING IN DC AND BEYOND
Join us for this special town hall meeting as we survey the vibrant documentary scene in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Local filmmakers, representatives from area film offices, media outlets and nonprofit filmmaking support organizations will kick off the event. This is a unique opportunity for filmmakers, from the DC area and beyond, to participate in a forward-looking conversation by sharing stories, asking questions and connecting with other filmmakers and industry leaders.

11:00 a.m.
THE ESSENTIAL TRUTH: HOW SHORTS ARE REMAKING THE DOCUMENTARY ECOSYSTEM
Shorts have finally emerged from the shadow of features. Documentary's most nimble form, shorts respond to current events, surface slices of life and voice the underrepresented — making them particularly appealing to broadcasters, legacy media companies and digital platforms. How are shorts uniquely positioned for media partnerships? How can filmmakers adapt to these new opportunities? From legacy media to independent releases, a sophisticated ecosystem of short-documentary distribution has developed. In this panel, we will explore creative challenges and strategies for corralling audiences, building impact and finding money.

Sponsored by

12:30 p.m.
LUNCH
PUBLIC MEDIA SMALL GROUP LUNCH MEETINGS

2:00 p.m.
CALL TO ACTION: AN INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP FROM THE AFI DOCS IMPACT LAB
AFI DOCS Impact Lab co-founder Heidi Nel of The Raben Group shares insights at the AFI DOCS Forum, and leads a hands-on workshop featuring The Fledgling Fund's Impact Workbook, a valuable resource for making the most out of your impact campaigns.

3:30 p.m.
VR SHOWCASE


Saturday, June 16

10:00 a.m.
THE RIGHT FIT: FINDING THE BEST DISTRIBUTION PARTNERS FOR YOUR FILM
When it comes to distributing documentaries, one-size-fits-all does not apply. Complicated, unpredictable and ever-changing, the current marketplace demands that filmmakers consider multiple models for distributing their films. This panel of distributors and other industry experts surveys the current distribution landscape; examines what different distributors, broadcasters and platforms can offer; and provides a road map for making the most of the opportunities that exist for your film.

11:30 a.m.
CHARTING SUSTAINABLE PATHWAYS: A CONVERSATION WITH THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
As part of its ongoing commitment to improving career sustainability for documentary artists, the National Endowment for the Arts has authored a series of case studies that examine the resources leveraged by independent creators throughout the lifecycle of their projects. During this session, participants will get an exclusive preview of a case study for the Oscar®-nominated documentary short LAST DAY OF FREEDOM. Moderated by NEA Media Arts Specialist Sarah Burford, critically acclaimed directors Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman will do a deep dive to analyze funding and support throughout all phases of their project, from development to distribution. Preceding the presentation, NEA Media Arts Director Jax Deluca will give an overview of valuable resources, networks and alliances in the nonfiction storytelling field.

1:00 p.m.
LUNCH

2:00 p.m.
SEEKING MIDDLE GROUND: THE ROLE OF DOCUMENTARY IN BRIDGING THE GREAT DIVIDE
In today's highly partisan and politicized environment, documentaries can play a significant role in reigniting a public discourse that occupies the crucial, but often ignored, middle ground in American society. In this session, we explore how filmmakers are engaging with issues and perspectives at the political center, and examine what data can tell us about a middle ground.

Sponsored by

3:30 p.m.
VR SHOWCASE


Sunday, June 17

10:00 a.m.
EXPOSURE: DEVISING SUCCESSFUL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS FOR DOCUMENTARIES
With a growing supply of documentary content available 24/7 across multiple platforms, the struggle to get noticed can seem like an uphill battle to filmmakers. Many filmmakers are turning to publicists to help triangulate a successful strategy for targeting media in the major markets of New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. This panel of experienced publicists pulls back the curtain on working with filmmakers to leverage a film's strengths to cultivate media coverage and reach audiences.

11:30 a.m.
GROWING PAINS: VIRTUAL REALITY, DOCUMENTARY AND A SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
Eight years into the dazzling new age of virtual reality, we find ourselves at a crucial turning point. VR's "gee-whiz" moments are now being held to greater scrutiny by investors and industry trackers. Is VR evolving into a viable format, and, if so, in what genre(s)? Will it be primarily a gaming environment or training and medical application? Where does that leave documentary filmmakers? American University School of Communication Professor and Center for Media & Social Impact founder Patricia Aufderheide leads a provocative discussion with VR makers and industry personnel exploring VR's emerging identity crisis.

1:00 p.m.
LUNCH

2:00 p.m.
DOC DIPLOMACY
Documentary filmmaking has the potential to change the world — if the films can reach the people who want and need to see them. AFI DOCS brings together representatives from the State Department's American Film Showcase, which sends documentaries and filmmakers around the globe; The Voice of America, which broadcasts American stories to the world; and Film Aid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing refugees with access to life-saving information, for a panel discussion on how they, and others like them, can help.

3:30 p.m.
VR SHOWCASE

 

The AFI DOCS Forum programming is made possible by: