AFI DOCS Forum Will Feature Sessions on Women Filmmakers, Representation in Documentary Film, Freedom of the Press and More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 30, 2019, 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 2019 Forum. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders and festival filmmakers, the four-day Forum will take place from June 20-23 at AFI DOCS Festival Hub with additional programming planned for the Landmark E Street Cinema on June 21.

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. The AFI DOCS Forum is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Meet the Press and The Washington Post.

"The AFI DOCS Forum is a unique aspect of the festival that complements and expands upon our slate of films," said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Festivals. "Each year, the Forum brings together filmmakers, journalists, industry leaders and documentary enthusiasts from across the country and the globe, and we are excited to take part in the thought-provoking discussions that result."

Programming at this year's Forum ranges from local filmmakers to global storytellers and encompasses a wide variety of topics, including developing and financing documentaries.

Thursday, June 20, Festival Hub:

  • Forum programming launches with "In Focus: Women Filmmakers at AFI DOCS 2019," a discussion featuring women who have directed and produced films in this year 's festival lineup, 9:30 a.m.
  • "Budgeting Can Be Fun," led by ITVS Supervising Producer Michael Ehrenzweig, who offers a fresh perspective on how indie filmmakers can approach budgeting as a creative and even enjoyable process, 11 a.m.
  • "Documentary Film and Representation," which leans into difficult, yet illuminating, conversations that will address how filmmakers are confronting contentious issues, who has a right to tell someone else 's story and how filmmakers portray their subjects onscreen, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, June 21, Landmark E Street Cinema:

  • "In the Line of Duty," a conversation with film subjects Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro (ERNIE & JOE) and Bruce Franks, Jr. (ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN) about their experiences facing pressing issues in their communities, 10 a.m.
  • "Protecting Journalists and Safeguarding Press Freedoms," a screening of The Washington Post 's short documentary THE ASSASSINATION OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI, followed by a panel discussion with Post editorial staff and representatives of The Post's Press Freedom Partnership, 11:30 a.m.

Friday, June 21, Festival Hub:

  • In the invitation-only, day-long workshop "Localism Works: Convening of Local Filmmaking Communities," representatives from four different regions from across the country discuss how their filmmaking communities can be strengthened through greater collaboration and cooperation between filmmakers, public television stations and nonprofits. Major funding for Localism Works is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support is provided through a partnership between the Sundance Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • The panel "On This Journey Together" explores how the bonds between local filmmakers, public television stations and nonprofit arts organizations can be reinforced, leading to a better infrastructure for filmmakers and more local storytelling on public television, 2:30 p.m.
  • Later, "AFI DOCS Industry Micro-Meetings" gives Forum attendees the opportunity to meet with funders, public media representatives and other industry leaders in one-on-one, 15-minute micro-meetings, 4 p.m.

Saturday, June 22, Festival Hub:

  • The Grant Writing Workshop unpacks the grant proposal process with director Beth Aala and producer Beth Levison, who received an International Documentary Association Enterprise grant, and whose documentary MADE IN BOISE has its world premiere at this year 's AFI DOCS, 9:30 a.m.
  • This will be followed by a talk from the Documentary Producers Alliance, "How Rethinking Credits Led to a Grassroots Movement of Documentary Producers," 11 a.m.
  • The last session of the day will be "Risky Business," with director Jenifer McShane (ERNIE & JOE) and lawyer Dale Cohen taking an in-depth look at pre-publication review of documentary films, a process through which editors, lawyers, reporters and fact-checkers review a film for its factual and legal implications, 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 23, Festival Hub:

  • The final discussion will be "Documentary Ethics Scenarios," an interactive session where a filmmaker panel and audience members will face a series of ethical scenarios in documentary filmmaking and ask themselves, "What Would You Do?", 9:30 a.m.

For more information about the AFI DOCS Forum, please visit

The 17th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 19–23 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, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 17th year, the festival will be held June 19-23, 2019, in landmark Washington, DC, venues, Landmark Theatres E Street Cinema and at 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 Inc. (NYSE:T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. It executes in the market under four operating units. WarnerMedia 's HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. divisions are world leaders in creating premium content, operate one of the world 's largest TV and film studios, and own a world-class library of entertainment. AT&T Communications provides more than 100 million U.S. consumers with entertainment and communications experiences across TV, mobile and broadband services. Plus, it serves nearly 3 million business customers with high-speed, highly secure connectivity and smart solutions. AT&T Latin America provides pay-TV services across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is the fastest growing wireless provider in Mexico, serving consumers and businesses. Xandr provides marketers with innovative and relevant advertising solutions for consumers around premium video content and digital advertising through its AppNexus platform.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information is available at © 2019 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

AT&T Communications is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). Learn more at

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 more than 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.

About The Washington Post and Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership
The Washington Post is an award-winning news leader whose mission is to connect, inform, and enlighten local, national and global readers with trustworthy reporting, in-depth analysis and engaging opinions. It combines world-class journalism with the latest technology and tools so readers can interact with The Post anytime, anywhere.

The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership is an ongoing initiative that aims to highlight organizations working vigilantly to promote press freedom and raise awareness of the rights of journalists worldwide. Learn more at

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd is where newsmakers come to make news — setting the political agenda and spotlighting the impact Washington decision-making has on Americans across the country. It is the #1 most-watched Sunday public affairs show for the 2017-2018 season, reaching more than three million viewers every Sunday and millions more through social, digital and on-demand platforms. Meet the Press brings its authority and influencer interviews to MSNBC with MTP Daily weekdays at 5 p.m. ET and to the 1947: The Meet the Press Podcast. It 's the longest-running show in television history, recently expanding its brand to include a political short-documentary film festival in collaboration with the American Film Institute. Chuck Todd is the political director of NBC News and the moderator of Meet the Press; John Reiss is the executive producer.

Elizabeth Ward, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598, [email protected]
Laura Swanbeck, American Film Institute, 323.856.7871, [email protected]