Film Buffs, Take Notice

Seventh Annual SILVERDOCS Festival starts tonight

More than 100 films, 58 countries and 25,000 expected attendees: The 2009 SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival is all about sheer numbers. The festival was born seven years ago -- when the theater first opened in its present incarnation -- when the American Film Institute and the Discovery Channel teamed up to showcase indie documentaries. Today, the festival is internationally recognized and debuts many of the best up-and-coming documentaries from around the world.


SILVERDOCS includes an International Documentary Conference that incorporates a diverse group of more than 1,000 filmmarkers and industry leaders. Over a three-day period, the conference includes seminars, workshops, screenings and pitch sessions.

Special appearances by the film subjects are also expected at this year's SILVERDOCS. Monday night's opener, "More Than a Game," had one of its subjects attending the premiere: NBA star LeBron James. Plus, Muhammad Ali is planning to attend the screening of the documentary "Facing Ali, " a film about 10 heavyweight boxers who faced and fought "The Greatest."

The Charles Guggenheim Symposium, the festival’s signature program, honors the artistic legency of four-time Academy winner Charles Guggenheim. The renowned founder of “direct cinema,” Albert Maysles, will discuss his body of work which includes "The Salesman" and last year’s "The Gate." $25

The Good Pitch is a way for filmmakers to express innovative documentary ideas in an open forum. The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation created the idea in 2008, in partnership with Sundance's Documentary Film Program, to create an inspiring atmosphere for filmmakers to pitch their ideas on social issues.  

SILVERDOCS runs June 15-22; all screenings are at the AFI Silver Theater (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD). Regular showings are $10 and special screenings are $15. View the full schedule here

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