The AFI DOCS 2020 festival will run online June 17 to 21, 2020, with a lineup that will feature 59 films from 11 countries and 12 virtual World Premieres, with 61% of the films directed by women, 25% by POC directors, and 14% by LGBTQ directors. All films are now listed and will be available to view on DOCS.AFI.com.
The films discuss race, gender, immigration, sexuality, and the experiences of minorities in the United States. You will find a complete list of titles on the festival’s website. However, below are the descriptions of a few films that we think you won’t want to miss.
Passes and individual tickets to AFI DOCS 2020 can be purchased at DOCS.AFI.com/
Consider watching the following films:
THE FIGHT (USA)
In this stirring legal thriller, a cast of courageous lawyers at the ACLU fights an uphill battle against the dizzying array of rollbacks on civil rights put forward in the first years of the Trump presidency. Filmmakers Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman and Eli Despres (WEINER) capture all of the key moments in such high stakes cases as the rights of trans people to serve in the military, family separation in immigration enforcement, the citizenship question on the census and the abortion rights of immigrant detainees. Celebrating 100 years of the ACLU, THE FIGHT shows how this group of committed lawyers has made a huge difference in protecting our rights and in the daily lives of countless Americans.
BLOOD ON THE WALL (USA)
Immigration under the current administration is indelibly marked by powerful media images of migrant caravans, thousands of Central American families walking hundreds of miles through Mexico desperate to attain asylum in the United States. Acclaimed filmmaker Sebastian Junger (Academy Award®-nominated RESTREPO and KORENGAL) reteams with Nick Quested (Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS) and National Geographic to chronicle the course of events that would transform Acapulco from tourist destination to murder capital in less than a decade.
THE LETTER: (Kenya)
Karisa lives in Mombasa, one of the largest cities in Kenya. He gets a call and discovers he has a delicate family problem: his grandmother has been accused of being a witch. Fearing for her life, he returns to his family’s village to figure out who wrote a letter that accuses her of witchcraft and why. Using Karisa’s family as the jumping off point, we then learn of other seniors accused of being witches and uncover the violence inflicted on them. What starts as an almost absurd family situation gets exposed to be a complicated human rights issue. Exploring unique modern cultural and religious clashes, Maia Lekow and Christopher King’s film is able to show you the beauty of Kenya while exposing a shocking real-life situation.
MIRACLE FISHING: (USA)
So, your dad has been kidnapped by a rebel group and you are forced to negotiate for his release… what do you do? Well, if you’re Miles Hargrove, you make a video diary. Twenty-five years later, with the gift of hindsight, he returned to these diaries to tell this incredible story. In 1994, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) kidnapped journalist Tom Hargrove from the family home in Cali, Colombia, leaving his wife and two sons to pay the ransom. With the help of their friends, including a hostage negotiator, FBI agent and their 18-year-old neighbor, the group navigated conditions for his expected release. Their story, impeccably captured by a then state-of-the-art Video8 camcorder, shows a family in crisis, yearning for normalcy and finding moments of hope and kindness amidst the horror.
SAUDI RUNAWAY: (Switzerland)
Muna, a young woman living under the oppressive state of Saudi Arabia, prepares for her imminent arranged marriage…and her risky escape to Europe. Using cell phones to secretly document her life, Muna exposes the strict patriarchy affecting her family and controlling her free will. Her only chance to flee is during her honeymoon. Muna is fearless, but will she succeed with her plan?
SAUDI RUNAWAY shares an intimate and thrilling story of human rights and the voice of those silenced by their government. Filmmaker Susanne Regina Meures collaborates with Muna, constructing the secret footage into a raw and insightful profile of a culture caught between tradition and modernity and a young woman willing to risk everything for a better life.
STOCKTON ON MY MIND: (USA)
Upon his election as mayor of Stockton, CA, in 2016, Michael Tubbs inherited one of the poorest, most violent and least literate cities in the country. Tubbs was also 26 years old, the youngest and first African American mayor of the city. This intimate portrait follows Tubbs during his term as he and others work on projects to address homelessness, universal basic income and education for at-risk youth.
A native of Stockton, Tubbs knows how street violence affects families – his father is serving a life sentence in prison. His determination to change his community started in childhood. Capturing this unique moment in history, STOCKTON ON MY MIND reveals the creative ideas and collaborative spirit Tubbs brings to government, as well as the multitude of strong reactions that his leadership elicits from citizens. A hopeful story of community, leadership and love, Tubbs is an undeniable leader to have on your radar.
As part of the Short Films series don’t miss:
DAFA METTI (DIFFICULT): DIR Tal Amiran. (UK)
Under Paris’ Eiffel Tower, undocumented Senegalese migrants sell souvenirs of the monument to support their families back home. Each day is a struggle through darkness in the City of Lights.
THE LOST ASTRONAUT: DIR Ben Proudfoot. (USA)
In 1963, Ed Dwight Jr. was poised to be NASA’s first African-American astronaut, until suddenly he wasn’t.
MOTHER: DIRS Jas Pitt and Kate Stonehill. (UK)
A young dancer from a violent favela in Rio de Janeiro finds redemption through his vogueing family, the art of Ballroom and his relationship with his vogueing mother, Makayla.
PATTY ARE YOU BRINGING WEED IN FROM JAMAICA?: DIR Matthew Salton. (USA)
In 1968, a young flight attendant bought 900 pounds of marijuana in Jamaica and tried to smuggle it out, leading to unexpected consequences.