From June 22 until June 26, four full feature and five short documentaries will be shown at AFI Docs in Washington, DC. A must see for all foodies, Maurice Dekkers‘ “Ants on a Shrimp” invites you into a place that usually stays behind closed doors: Noma‘s three Michelin starred kitchen in Copenhagen, Denmark. Meanwhile, “A Family Affair” is the personal account of director Tom Fassaert, who dives into his own family history to understand his grandmother’s peculiar relationship to her children. Additionally, “The Art of Flying” revolves around. “murmurations”: the mysterious flights of the Common Starling and “Full of Dreams” is about a girl who connects with the other residents in her grouphome.
Director: Maurice Dekkers
Copenhagen’s Noma has been widely regarded as the world’s best restaurant. Its charismatic chef René Redzepi and his team of culinary artists faced one of their greatest challenges in 2014: to move their operation from Denmark to Tokyo for two months. While the clock ticks toward opening day, the chefs toil endlessly, pulling off incredible feats to deliver a mind-blowing menu worthy of their unparalleled reputation — and of Japanese culture and its world famous cuisine.
Director: Tom Fassaert
In this captivating and intimate documentary, Dutch filmmaker Tom Fassaert probes the dark corners of his family history in an attempt to understand his glamorous and enigmatic grandmother and the strange hold she has over her children even while living on the other side of the world. An invitation to visit her in South Africa starts him on a journey and a quest for answers that have so far remained elusive.
This visually stunning hybrid film follows a posse of preadolescent boys across an unforgiving no man’s land in rural Afghanistan. At a nearby hilltop outpost, U.S. and Afghan troops kill time between occasional shootouts with the Taliban while drones buzz overhead. Meanwhile, the boys cavort in caves and abandoned tanks, living by their wits and ransacking passing caravans.
Directors: Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill
Dutch-American filmmaking team Jongsma + O’Neill will show their virtual reality documentary “The Ark” at the AFI Docs. Shot in California and Kenya, “The Ark” is a ground-breaking VR experience that uses cutting-edge technology to place users eye-to-eye with the last remaining northern white rhinos on the planet. The film tells the parallel stories of two scientists on opposite sides of the world who have committed their lives to saving the rhino, despite long odds.
The Ark is being shown as part of the AFI Docs Filmmaker Forum’s segment about Virtual Reality on June 26. Only those who have passes to the Filmmaker Forum can attend.
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Director: Jan van IJken
“The Art of Flying” is about “murmurations”: the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. Every night the starlings gather at dusk to perform their stunning air show. Because of the relatively warm winter of 2014/2015, the starlings stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. This gave filmmaker Jan van IJken the opportunity to film one of the most spectacular and amazing natural phenomena on earth.
In this documentary short, European tourists on the Greek Island of Lesvos sit down for heart-to-hearts with Syrian refugees in this touching homage to the power of empathy and human connection. In December 2015, Marieke van der Velden and Philip Brink concluded their “The Island of All Together” project on the Greek island of Lesbos. The project offers an alternative perspective on the European refugee crisis, and also includes portraits, and an interactive website.
Director: Lieza Röben
In this intimate project, filmmaker Lieza Röben and her tight-knit Dutch family reflect on their very special final days with Paul, the beloved family patriarch.
Director: Edward Cook
In Bird Strike, we see how man and animal must share the air space and the resulting consequences. In this visual story different characters struggle with their curious relationship with unpredictable flying troublemakers. Will man manage to get his own way, or will nature have the final say in this battle for the skies?
Director: Marinka de Jongh
Anne Fee lives at the Thomashuis with her parents and brother, as well as eight other individuals with exceptionalities. This large family spends their days tending to chores, playing games, and dreaming of becoming a famous band. In “Full of Dreams,” this young girl bonds with the other residents of her group home and encourages them in artistic endeavors.
Truth really is stranger than fiction: see for yourself at the AFI DOCS Film Festival June 22nd through June 26th. Highlights this year include new films from Judd Apatow, Alex Gibney and Barbara Kopple, as well as renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog. Screenings are downtown at the Landmark E Street Cinema and at the Newseum, and in Silver Spring at the AFI Silver Theatre. Everyone has a story, and AFI DOCS brings these stories to life, right in D.C.