Four Features and One Short Selected for the AFI DOCS Impact Lab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — JUNE 5, 2018, WASHINGTON, DC — AFI DOCS — the American Film Institute's five-day documentary film festival in the nation's capital, supported by Presenting Sponsor AT&T — has announced the five films selected for the fourth annual AFI DOCS Impact Lab in partnership with RABEN_IMPACT. The selections for this distinguished fellowship and training program are four feature documentary films — CHARM CITY, DON’T BE NICE, THE PROVIDERS, and PERSONAL STATEMENT, which will have its world premiere and open AFI DOCS this year — and the short documentary film, BROTHER.

“This year’s Impact Lab films address some of the most pressing issues of our day and are primed to make a difference both inside the beltway and in communities across America,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director, AFI Festivals. “We are proud to continue our partnership with RABEN_IMPACT to further social impact through story and documentary film.”

“Films are our 21st century weapons of mass construction,” said Heidi Nel, Principal at The Raben Group and co-founder of the AFI DOCS Impact Lab. “Through innovative trainings with world-class change-makers, the Impact Lab ensures that powerful stories lead to both culture and policy change. We cannot wait to start working with this year’s filmmaker fellows.”

Led by impact strategists Heidi Nel and Charlie Crocker, the Impact Lab is designed for filmmakers with issue-driven films who aim to create broader social impact and political change through the power of story and film. The two and a half day Lab, which will take place June 11 through 13 in the lead-up to the festival, provides fellows with unique training opportunities with some of the most sought-after tacticians in the areas of advocacy, grassroots communications and grasstops engagement. Lab fellows are also connected with policymakers and Congressional aides working on legislation relevant to their films. The 16th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 13–17 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD.  


Synopsis: U.S. Army Captain Matt Zeller and Janis Shinwari barely knew each other when Janis, an Afghan translator for the Army, body-checked Matt to the ground, shot two approaching Taliban fighters and dragged him to safety, saving his life. What resulted was a new lease on life, and an incredible cross-cultural friendship.
Lab Fellows: Daniel Klein (Producer and Co-director) and Hunter Johnson (Director of Photography and Co-director)
Website: N/A

Synopsis: On the streets of Baltimore, the murder rate is approaching an all-time high and distrust of the police reaches a fever pitch. With neighborhoods in peril, residents attempt to diffuse the violence through cooperative efforts helmed by community leaders, compassionate law-enforcement officers and a progressive young city councilman.
Lab Fellows: Marilyn Ness (Director) and Simon Mendes (Associate Producer)

Synopsis: Following a diverse team of slam poets as they mine their feelings and personal experiences about race, sexuality, gender and popular culture to craft poems for national competition, DON'T BE NICE demonstrates how collaboration and communication between artists can allow them to better understand who they are and what they want to say.
Lab Fellows: Nikhil Melnechuk (Producer) and Mason Granger (Impact Producer)

Synopsis: Karoline, Enoch and Christine are Brooklyn high school seniors who just want to go to college, but like so many public school students throughout the country, their schools don't have enough college guidance support. Refusing to give up, they decide to work as college counselors in their schools, becoming the very resource they don't have themselves.
Lab Fellows: Juliane Dressner (Director, Producer and Cinematographer) and Beth Levison (Producer)

Synopsis: THE PROVIDERS follows three "country doctors" — health care providers working for a small network of clinics in northern New Mexico — as they confront the challenges of keeping those in their poor and opioid-plagued communities safe. As the film movingly shows each doctor's day-to-day responsibilities, a complex portrait emerges of small-town America.
Lab Fellows: Anna Moot-Levin (Director and Producer) and Laura Green (Director and Producer)

AFI DOCS is proud to have AT&T return as this year's Presenting Sponsor.  For more information about the Impact Lab, and for passes and tickets to AFI DOCS, please visit

AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute's annual documentary festival in Washington, DC. Presenting the year's best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation's government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 16th year, the festival will be held June 13–17, 2018, at distinguished Washington, DC, venues, the Landmark E Street Cinema and the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Visit and connect on,, and

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI's founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.

About AT&T
AT&T is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 AFI DOCS. We help people connect in ways that improve lives – every day. Through DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and AT&T U-verse, we deliver the kind of entertainment people love to talk about. And you can watch almost anytime, anywhere. For 10 years, we've supported AFI's commitment to honor the heritage of film and the artists who make them. And through a variety of programs, we're focused on giving amateur and underrepresented filmmakers the support they need to succeed.

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