Let’s hear it for the girls. The tenth annual AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival is in town, and we’ve got your must-see lineup, thanks to festival director Sky Sitney. Here, her top ten reels made by, about, or for the ladies.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
What it is: Alison Klayman’s portrayal of the controversial artist.
Why you should care: With a rare look inside China, she reveals how Weiwei is punished for pushing the boundaries of censorship.
When to go: Thurs., 7:15 p.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.
Ann Richards’ Texas
What it is: A funny doc covering the life of a political straight shooter.
Why you should care: It’s a Silverdocs world premiere.
When to go: Thurs., 6 p.m.; Sat., 4:30 p.m.
Bad Brains: a Band in D.C.
What it is: Husband-and-wife creative team highlight the inner dynamics of the punk band.
Why you should care: Nothing is off limits, including the demons that kept them from success.
When to go: Thurs., 10:45 p.m.; Sat., 10 p.m.
What it is: An after-school chess initiative sets kids at a school in an underserved community on a new course.
Why you should care: Some of the film’s stars will issue a chess challenge after the screenings.
When to go: Fri., 11:15 a.m., Sat., 10:15 a.m.
What it is: Filmmaker Katja Gauriloff interviews factory workers about how they make canned foodstuffs.
Why you should care: The end point is a can of ravioli.
When to go: Fri., 12:15 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 p.m.
Diana Vreeland: the Eye Has to Travel
What it is: Made by Vreeland’s granddaughter by marriage, the film shines a light on a vibrant fashion editor who broke through barriers.
Why you should care: It’s got joie de vivre.
When to go: Fri., 5:15 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.
What it is: Detroit becomes the central character in Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s doc about vibrant responses to urban blight in a profoundly underpopulated city.
Why you should care: You want the reel slim shady.
When to go: Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 10:30 a.m.
The Final Member
What it is: One man’s obsession with collecting a penis from every species.
Why you should care: All he needs to reach completion is a human specimen.
When to go: Thurs., 9:45 p.m.; Fri., 8:15 p.m.
Marina Abramović: the Artist Is Present
What it is: A documentary about Abramovic’s 2010 MOMA show, in which she sat silently across a table from museum visitors.
Why you should care: Watching her question her process is poignant.
When to go: Fri., 10:15 p.m.; Sat., 10:30 a.m.
What it is: A group of Hutu and Tutsi women musicians open Rwanda’s first ice cream shop.
Why you should care: The trailblazers will be at the screening drumming. And there’ll be ice cream.
When to go: Tonight, 6:15 p.m.; Fri., 9 p.m.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival runs through June 24. For participating theaters and more information, go to silverdocs.com.
Photo: Courtesy of SilverDocs