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‘Meet the Press’ Film Festival Lineup Focuses on Midterm Issues

WASHINGTON — Three documentary shorts will have their world premieres at this year’s “Meet the Press” Film Festival, done in collaboration with the American Film Institute.

The event, to be held in Washington from Oct. 7-8, will feature 23 projects from outlets including HBO, Netflix, and the New York Times. The focus of the film festival is on issues at the forefront of this year’s midterm elections.

The three world premieres are: “Loyalty: Stories,” directed by David Washburn, about American Muslim veterans; Netflix’s “Out of Many, One,” directed by John Hoffman and Nanfu Wang, about a museum that uses art, artifacts and historical documents to help green-card holders prepare for the naturalization test for citizenship; and “Insecure,” directed by Cayman Grant, about an undocumented family creating their own American dream.

This will be the second year of the festival, which was started as a way of expanding the “Meet the Press” brand. Some of the films will be available, starting on Oct. 8, on NBC News Digital platforms and apps. The festival will be headquartered at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema.

The films will be showcased in issue areas, including:

Veterans and service, moderated by Chuck Todd: “We Are Not Done Yet,” directed by Sareen Hairabedian, about veterans grappling with PTSD who use art as therapy, working to produce a live performance of a collaborative poem, under the direction of Jeffrey Wright.

Midterm issues, moderated by Andrea Mitchell: “Camperforce,” directed by Brett Story, about an Amazon labor force of RVers; “The Blue Line,” directed by Samantha Knowles, about a small town that is divided when a blue line is painted on the street in support of police; and “The Girl Who Cannot Speak,” directed by Stefano Da Fre and Laura Pellegrini, which recounts five women’s true stories of sexual abuse and is edited by Krysia Carter-Geez.

Climate, moderated by Hallie Jackson: “Alaska DGAF,” directed by David Freid, focuses on Alaska’s response to a North Korean test of a long-range missile powerful enough to reach their state; “Home Beyond the Water,”  directed by Nicky Milne, focused on Isles de Jean Charles, La., as it tries to survive in the face of encroaching waters; and “Climate and the Cross,” directed by Chloe White, about Christian evangelicals who protest for action on climate change. 

Voting rights, moderated by Craig Melvin: “Let My People Vote,” directed by Gilda Brasch, is a day in the life of civil rights activist Desmond Meade; “Public Money,” directed by Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, about an innovative new community participation budgeting process in New York City; and “Voting Matters,” directed by Dawn Porter, about a woman fighting to ensure the right to vote.

Gun rights and gun control, moderated by Kasie Hunt: “G Is for Gun,” directed by Kate Way and Julie Akeret, follows teachers trained to carry firearms; “Guns Found Here,” directed by David Freid, about the ATF’s National Tracing Center, which handles 8,000 gun traces per day; and “No Sanctuary,” directed by Nathan Knox, about those who have been affected by indifference to gun violence.

Religion, moderated by Kristen Welker: “Do We Belong?” directed by Sofian Khan, about the wife of an Indian immigrant in Kansas who is shot and killed in a hate crime; “Graven Image,” directed by Sierra Pettengill, explores the history of Georgia’s Confederate Memorial Carving, the largest such monument in the United States; “The Hidden Vote,” directed by Aditya Sambamurthy and Ben Mekhi, about Arab Americans running for city council in Dearborn, Mich.; and “Loyalty: Stories.”

Immigration, moderated by Jacob Soboroff: “Deporting Myself,” directed by Julia Neumann, about  an undocumented New York housekeeper who has been living and working in the U.S illegally for almost 20 years; “Libre,” directed by Anna Barsan, about a company that provides bail money to people held in immigration custody; and “Out of Many, One.”

Poverty and rebuilding, moderated by Harry Smith: “Pa’Lante,” directed by Ramón Rodríguez, about local Puerto Ricans as they rebuild in the wake of Irma and Maria; “Children of Central City,” directed by Mark Lorando and Emma Scott, about the effects of state budget cuts on social workers treating children with post-traumatic stress; and “Insecure.”

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