AFI DOCS Forum Will Feature Discussions on the Rise of Short Filmmaking, the State of Documentary Filmmaking in the DC Region, Resources for Filmmakers and More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 23, 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 its 2018 Forum. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders and festival filmmakers, the four-day AFI DOCS Forum will take place June 14–17 at the AFI DOCS Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center in Washington, DC. The Forum presents a variety of networking and professional development events and discussions for filmmakers, industry professionals and those with a passion for nonfiction storytelling. This year includes presentations on the increasing impact of documentary shorts, the relationship between virtual reality and documentaries, trends in local and international storytelling and more. The AFI DOCS Forum is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Meet the Press.

"The AFI DOCS Forum offers engaging and thought-provoking opportunities in addition to our slate of films," said Michael Lumpkin, Director, AFI Festivals. "We are excited to bring together filmmakers, the industry, thought leaders and attendees to discuss important trends in documentary filmmaking, share essential information and key resources with the field, and connect the local, national and international documentary communities."

The Forum will feature presentations about the journey filmmakers take from funding to distribution to impact campaigns. A discussion will be held on documentaries' increasingly diplomatic function in convening filmmakers and audiences from around the world. Also, a panel will examine the rising trend of regional and rural focuses in storytelling, and the opportunities for local partnerships that come with it.

Programming at this year's Forum includes a discussion on "The Middle Ground," the segment of American society that has become almost forgotten, but increasingly crucial, as the country becomes more partisan. The session will explore how documentaries are being used to reach and engage with those in the political center.

As part of its ongoing effort to improve career sustainability for documentary filmmakers, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will offer an exclusive preview of a case study examining the Oscar®-nominated documentary short LAST DAY OF FREEDOM (2015). Joining the NEA will be the film's critically acclaimed directors Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, who will detail the support they received throughout all phases of their project, from development to distribution. NEA Media Arts Director Jax Deluca will give an overview of valuable resources, networks and alliances in the nonfiction storytelling field.

The Forum will host "Documentary Capital," a town hall meeting on documentary filmmaking in DC. Local filmmakers, film offices, media outlets and nonprofit filmmaking support organizations will survey the state of documentaries in DC, while sharing their experiences and connecting with filmmakers and festival attendees from the DC metro area and beyond.

The State Department's American Film Showcase, the Voice of America and Film Aid will convene for a panel discussion on "Doc Diplomacy." Representatives from these organizations will examine how documentaries with the power to shed light on global issues and spark change can reach the right audiences in the U.S. and around the world.

Each day of the Forum will also include a VR Showcase presented at the Festival Hub. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, the Showcase features a wide range of cutting-edge immersive experiences, from political and environmental documentaries to personal, interactive pieces that highlight the latest in creative storytelling practices. Details on this year's virtual reality programming are available here.

For more information about the AFI DOCS Forum, please visit

The 16th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 13–17 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD. AT&T's continued support as Presenting Sponsor enables AFI DOCS to connect audiences, policymakers and storytellers in the heart of our national government.

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.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.