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 2019 AFI DOCS Forum will take place June 20, 22 and 23 at the AFI DOCS Festival Hub and on June 21 at the Festival Hub and Landmark E Street Cinema. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, each day of the Forum will include breakfast, with lunch served on June 20–22.

THURSDAY, JUNE 20
AFI DOCS Festival Hub

9:30 a.m.
IN FOCUS: WOMEN FILMMAKERS AT AFI DOCS 2019
AFI Festivals Programmer Sarah Harris moderates a lively conversation with women who have directed and/or produced documentaries in the 2019 AFI DOCS lineup. The panel celebrates their creative achievements and addresses the challenges faced by women in the documentary field.

Moderator: Sarah Harris

Participants:

11:00 a.m.
BUDGETING CAN BE FUN: A PERSONAL TOUR LED BY MICHAEL EHRENZWEIG OF ITVS
ITVS Supervising Producer Michael Ehrenzweig is passionate about budgeting. In this highly engaging presentation, Ehrenzweig swears off the notion that budgeting is boring, complicated or, at best, a necessary evil, offering his insights and tips on basic budgeting for indie filmmakers. Learn why he finds it a powerful tool and a creative process that can even be fun. Presented in partnership with Docs in Progress.

Participants:

12:30 p.m.
LUNCH

1:30 p.m.
DOCUMENTARY FILM AND REPRESENTATION
Documentary storytelling finds itself at a crucial inflection point around issues of representation. Long-held assumptions about who has the right to tell someone else's story; filmmakers' responsibilities to subjects; and the durability of traditional narrative strategies are being challenged. Through the medium of film, how do we talk about racism, poverty, violence and colonialism? How are filmmakers confronting their own privilege as they seek to take on injustice? How are individuals and groups being portrayed on screen? Leaning into this difficult conversation, a diverse group of filmmakers discuss the choices they make around issues of representation and the consequences for documentary and beyond.

Moderator: Dr. Sherri Williams

Panelists:


FRIDAY, JUNE 21

10:00 a.m.
Landmark E Street Cinema
IN THE LINE OF DUTY: A CONVERSATION WITH ERNIE AND JOE (ERNIE & JOE) AND REP. BRUCE FRANKS, JR. (ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN)
Given the urgency around mass incarceration and police-involved shootings, it's tragic that solutions to these crises seem evermore elusive. Two films in this year's AFI DOCS lineup — ERNIE & JOE and ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN — offer powerful counter-narratives to this bleak picture by profiling extraordinary leaders with bold and innovative approaches to these issues. Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro are part of the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit, which seeks to find a better way to help people in crises without force. Bruce Franks, Jr., a Ferguson protester and now a Missouri State Representative, has freed up funding for intervention programs that reduce incarceration. In this frank and incisive conversation, Ernie, Joe and Bruce discuss their bridge-building, game-changing approaches, and show us what hope and change can look like.

Moderators: Allison Sandza

Panelists:

Sponsored by

11:30 a.m.
Landmark E Street Cinema
PROTECTING JOURNALISTS AND SAFEGUARDING PRESS FREEDOMS: A NEW INITIATIVE

When journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in late 2018, the horror and brazenness of the Saudi government's actions caused an international uproar and sparked a call to protect the independence and safety of journalists around the world. The Washington Post — in partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists, International Women's Media Foundation, James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, One Free Press Coalition, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Reporters Without Borders — has recently announced the Press Freedom Partnership, an ongoing initiative to highlight organizations working vigilantly to promote press freedom and raise awareness of the rights of journalists worldwide. In recognition of this important work, AFI DOCS will screen The Washington Post's short documentary THE ASSASSINATION OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI, followed by a panel discussion with Post journalists and representatives of the Press Freedom Partnership.

PRESENTED WITH THE WASHINGTON POST PRESS FREEDOM PARTNERSHIP

Moderator: Paul Farhi

Panelists:

Sponsored by

1:00 p.m.
LUNCH

2:30 p.m.
AFI DOCS Festival Hub
ON THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER: SUPPORTING AND STRENGTHENING LOCAL FILMMAKING COMMUNITIES
Independent documentary filmmaking can be a long and lonely journey. Given that most documentary work occurs in small, relatively isolated production teams, local filmmaking communities are vital sources of support for filmmakers and constitute the lifeblood of the independent documentary ecosystem. But what successful characteristics unite these communities? What challenges do they face? And, most important, how can they be created where they don't yet exist or strengthened in places where they do? For this unique AFI DOCS experience, local filmmaking communities, filmmakers, public television stations and local arts nonprofit support organizations will meet throughout the day to devise strategies for successful local filmmaking communities. Join us for this culminating public panel discussion with participants to learn about best practices and explore solutions.

Sponsored by

4:00 p.m.
AFI DOCS Festival Hub
AFI DOCS INDUSTRY MICRO-MEETINGS Forum attendees will have the 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.


SATURDAY, JUNE 22
AFI DOCS Festival Hub

9:30 a.m.
GRANT-WRITING WORKSHOP: ELEVATING A REGIONAL STORY TO THE NATIONAL STAGE
A key to being competitive in the hunt for significant granting opportunities offered by national organizations is the ability to frame what could be perceived as a local or regional story and elevating it to the national stage. In this highly practicable session, moderated by International Documentary Association (IDA) Program Officer Dana Merwin, we unpack the grant-writing process with director Beth Aala and producer Beth Levison, whose documentary MADE IN BOISE has its world premiere at this year's AFI DOCS.

Moderator: Dana Merwin

Panelists:

11:00 a.m.
DOCUMENTARY PRODUCERS ALLIANCE: HOW RETHINKING CREDITS LED TO A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT OF DOCUMENTARY PRODUCERS
In 2016, when a group of documentary film producers met for an informal dinner to discuss the challenges of producing independent documentaries, little did they know that just two years later they would become the leading force behind new crediting guidelines that have become a vital source in the documentary field. In this interactive, audience-participation session, key members of the Documentary Producers Alliance break down the new crediting guidelines and discuss how their desire to introduce guidelines for documentary credits led to a year-long organizing campaign with lessons for all filmmakers interested in successful field-building. Presented in partnership with Sundance Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Moderator: Dolly Turner

Panelists:

12:30 p.m.
LUNCH

1:30 p.m.
RISKY BUSINESS: LEGAL REVIEW AND DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING
As the overlap between independent documentary filmmaking and journalism continues to grow, we take an in-depth look at the process of pre-publication review, a critical but underexplored area of high-stakes journalism, and standard practice for news and broadcast organizations. Editors, lawyers, reporters and fact-checkers attempt to verify the facts and vet the implications of what is being presented onscreen. Independent documentary filmmakers, however, may lack the organizational support and resources for this process. In this timely panel discussion, we explore pre-publication review and do a deep dive into the legal review process with filmmaker Jenifer McShane, director of ERNIE & JOE, and lawyer Dale Cohen, who works with independent filmmakers and has vetted programs for the PBS investigative series FRONTLINE.

Moderator: Dana Merwin

Panelists:

Sponsored by


SUNDAY, JUNE 23
AFI DOCS Festival Hub

9:30 a.m.
DOCUMENTARY ETHICS SCENARIOS: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Documentary filmmakers have always been confronted with ethical dilemmas, both on or off camera, that require them to make crucial decisions that may later be open to second guessing, by themselves and others. Hosted by American University School of Communication Professor and Center for Media & Social Impact founder Patricia Aufderheide, this interactive, audience-participation session puts the focus squarely on documentary ethics. Confronted by a series of ethical scenarios, a panel of filmmakers and the audience will engage in a vigorous exercise of "second-guessing."

Moderator: Patricia Aufderheide

Panelists:




LOCALISM WORKS: CONVENING OF LOCAL FILMMAKING COMMUNITIES
FRIDAY, JUNE 21

Localism Works: Convening of Local Filmmaking Communities is the latest phase in AFI DOCS's ongoing commitment to furthering a public dialogue between filmmakers and the communities that support them, including local public television stations and nonprofit artist support organizations. The Localism Works Convening will invite four local communities from different regions throughout the U.S. to participate in a daylong intensive workshop at AFI DOCS on Friday, June 21. Each group will be represented by independent filmmakers, nonprofits, public television stations, and other stakeholders. The driving principle behind the gathering is to support efforts that may lead to future collaborations on documentary projects, the development of infrastructure for filmmakers and the broadcasting of more local storytelling on public television.

The day's activities culminate in a public presentation panel that will offer all Forum attendees the opportunity to learn more about strategies and approaches that can strengthen local filmmaking communities, hear directly from participants about outcomes from the day's activities, and engage in this vital conversation that is transforming the documentary ecosystem one local community at a time.

Major funding for Localism Works is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support provided through a partnership between Sundance Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sponsored by