AFI FEST 2021: America’s Identity – A new look at U.S. History – American Film Institute

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AFI FEST 2021: America’s Identity – A new look at U.S. History

Film can be a powerful lens through which we might examine our own histories. These nonfiction features and shorts screening at AFI FEST 2021 take an unflinching look at American history, incorporating fascinating archival footage, some never-before-seen, with present-day interviews, unpacking a complex and diverse array of topics, such as film history, racism and queer coded advertising. These films are sure to include something for everyone!

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: AMERICA’S SECRET NAZIS

During WWII, a group of young Jewish refugees are sent to a secret POW camp near Washington, DC, and they soon discover that the prisoners are Hitler’s top scientists. Screens as part of Meet The Press Shorts 5. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person  |  November 11, 2:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

CITIZEN ASHE

Following the virtual and theatrical screenings, watch a special conversation with director-producer Rex Miller and director Sam Pollard moderated by AFI FEST Programmer Julia Kipnis.

Born and raised in a segregated Virginia, Arthur Ashe rose to the top of the overwhelmingly white world of tennis in the 1960s to achieve many firsts as the most prevalent Black man in the sport. Reticent early in his career to address racial strife in America until the events of 1968, Ashe became an outspoken civil rights activist in the fight against racial discrimination, South African apartheid and later the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. This insightful documentary includes exclusive interviews with Ashe’s family, Black activists and tennis cohorts Billie Jean King and John McEnroe. With striking archival footage and previously unheard audiotapes, FEST alum Sam Pollard (SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME) and Rex Miller’s latest film celebrates the inspirational life of this groundbreaking tennis champion and humanitarian. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person |  November 13, 1:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 13, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

CODED

The coded advertisements of legendary early-20th century gay illustrator J.C. Leyendecker quietly, but directly, acknowledged a community that was forced to live in the closet. Screens as part of Meet The Press Shorts 1. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person |  November 11, 8:30 p.m.  | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

LYNCHING POSTCARDS: ‘TOKEN OF A GREAT DAY’

From 1880–1968 over 4,000 African Americans were lynched at the hands of white mobs. These lynchings were commemorated through souvenir postcards that would ultimately be subverted by Black activists to expose racist violence in the U.S. Screens as part of Meet The Press Shorts 4. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person  |  November 11, 1:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

PRIDE

An aspiring writer finalizes stories for “Pride,” a student-run newspaper. Over a hectic two days in the early 1990s, she puts the finishing touches on the upcoming issue. Screens as part of Shorts Program 4. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person |  November 13, 2:15 p.m.  | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 11, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

TO WHAT REMAINS

World Premiere

Over 200 aircrafts were shot down over the island of Palau in the South Pacific during World War II. In the early 1990s, Dr. Pat Scannon went to Palau to help a dive team locate a Japanese trawler sunk on a mission by future President George H.W. Bush during the war. With a successful discovery, the trip gave Scannon the vision to create Project Recover, an organization with a mission to bring home missing-in-action World War II veterans.

This powerful documentary follows Scannon and a team of professionals, volunteers and other veterans searching for those left behind in forgotten battles. Led by scientific data and personal accounts of war, the team’s perseverance has provided recognition and closure for families over three decades. AFI FEST is honored to host the world premiere of this remarkable documentary to celebrate all U.S. veterans on November 11. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person | November 11, 5:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

Virtual screening available beginning November 12, 12:00 p.m. PST | Buy Virtual Ticket(s)

THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN

From Peter Middleton and James Spinney (NOTES ON BLINDNESS), comes a uniquely crafted portrait of iconic physical comedian Charlie Chaplin, creator of silent cinema’s loveable “tramp.” Featuring rare and never-before-heard recordings and introducing characters from Chaplin’s life who had been previously written out of the narrative, THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN brings to life a complex, multi-dimensional image of the world-renowned comedian. This dynamic broad-strokes account of his ascent touches on the major moments of his lengthy career, notably shining a light on the complexities and the darker aspects of his personality. It also offers an appreciation of Chaplin’s films themselves, providing an introduction to the uninitiated. The film’s skillful entwining of reenactments with archival materials presents new possibilities for nonfiction filmmaking. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person | November 14, 12:15 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA

Jeffery Robinson, a former ACLU Deputy Legal Director and lawyer of over 40 years, gives a comprehensive chronicle of anti-Black racism in America during a live talk on Juneteenth. The topics of unconscious bias, police violence and America’s foundation of white supremacy are seamlessly interwoven with archival footage from the last 50 years up until present-day and scenes of Robinson exploring his childhood growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. A cogent and engaging speaker, Robinson interviews activists, historical experts and families of police murder victims in his efforts to relay the full spectrum of America’s inequity. WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA, directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, is an essential deep dive into a divided nation’s history and the ongoing racial reckoning of our times. Learn more about the film.

Screening in-person |  November 11, 6:00 p.m. | Buy In-Person Ticket(s)

With health and safety being top priority, AFI FEST 2021 will require all festival-goers who attend in-person events and/or screenings to be fully vaccinated.  Learn more about AFI’s annual film festival celebrating the best in global cinema at FEST.AFI.com.

Individual tickets and passes to AFI FEST 2021 are currently available on FEST.AFI.com. AFI Members receive exclusive discounts and benefits to the festival. To become an AFI member, visit AFI.com/join/.

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