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AFI Docs Unveils 2018 Lineup: ‘Personal Statement’ to Open Festival

WASHINGTON — AFI Docs has unveiled the lineup for this year’s festival, which kicks off with the world premiere of “Personal Statement.”

The fest — held from June 13 to June 17 in Washington and Silver Spring, Md. — will include five world premieres and feature 92 films representing 22 countries.

“Personal Statement,” directed by Juliane Dressner and Edwin Martinez, is about three high school seniors in Brooklyn who take it upon themselves to become college counselors in their schools in their determination to earn a higher education.

“United Skates,” about the fight to save roller skating rinks — a staple of African American culture — will close the festival. The project is directed by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown.

The centerpiece screening will be Rory Kennedy’s “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow.” It tells the story about the workforce of NASA in its exploration of the solar system and of Earth.

“While this year’s festival takes us around and beyond the world, each film tells a story that, at its core, shares a moment of the human experience,” said Michael Lumpkin, director of AFI Docs.

AFI Docs’ special screenings include:

“The Cold Blue,” helmed by Erik Nelson, which uses footage shot by director William Wyler for his World War II documentary “Memphis Belle” to look at the B-17 pilots of that era, with some of the last survivors providing narration.

“Kinshasa Makambo,” directed by Dieudo Hamadi, about activists involved in overthrowing the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and their hopes of political change in their country.

“Soul!,” from Sam Pollard and Melissa Hairlip, looks at the late 1960s WNET series and its producer Ellis Hairlip. It was one of the first series to showcase the Black Arts Movement.

Trisha Ziff’s “Witkin & Witkin” is a U.S. premiere, and focuses on the artwork of septuagenarian twins Joel-Peter and Jerome Within.

Other world premieres include:

“Alone in the Game,” helmed by Natalie Metzger and Michael Rohrbaugh, about the new generation of queer and transgender athletes defying stereotypes in sports.

“Foster,” from Mark Jonathan Harris, focuses on the stories at the largest county childhood protection agency in the U.S., the foster system in Los Angeles.

Patrick Creadon’s “Hesburgh” is the story of Theodore Hesburgh, the influential president of the University of Notre Dame.

The full lineup is here.

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