NEW THIS YEAR — ALL-VIRTUAL FILM FESTIVAL SHOWCASING SHORT DOCS WILL APPEAR AS PART OF AFI FEST, OCT. 15-22
TICKETS FOR FOURTH ANNUAL FESTIVAL ON SALE OCT. 7
Oct. 1, 2020 – This year, the Meet the Press Film Festival will appear as part of the American Film Institute’s all-virtual AFI FEST presented by Audi, Oct. 15 to Oct. 22.
Now in its fourth year, the film festival showcases the best in issue-based documentary shorts, bringing together filmmakers, subjects, audiences and NBC News correspondents in an all-virtual setting for unique, thought-provoking discussions.
Tickets for the virtual festival go on sale Wednesday, Oct. 7 at FEST.AFI.com.
Following the festival, select films will be available for streaming on NBC News’ OTT apps through Election Day, and will be highlighted throughout the month of October on Meet the Press and MTP Daily on MSNBC.
Meet the Press announced its ground-breaking collaboration with AFI in August 2017 as part of the program’s 70th anniversary. Over the last three years, the festival has showcased more than 70 short films from more than six countries and featured world premieres from Netflix, HBO, among others.
Last year’s featured short documentary Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl) won the 2020 Oscar® for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 92nd-annual Academy Awards. Plus, past festival films have also earned more than a dozen Oscar® and Emmy® nominations.
In addition, the 2019 Meet the Press Film Festival featured a special screening of the U.S. premiere of the documentary film Toxic Beauty. Directed by Phyllis Ellis, the film explores the unregulated chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products through the stories of whistleblowers, scientists and cancer survivors.
The lineup for the 2020 Meet the Press Film Festival at AFI will feature 19 films across seven issues, followed by in-depth conversations moderated by NBC News correspondents including Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Hallie Jackson, Kasie Hunt, Jo Ling Kent, Cynthia McFadden and Morgan Radford.
PROGRAM 1: When the News Becomes the News
- When The News Hits Home: A Year Inside The Capital Gazette
2019, USA, 21 min
Directed by Moises Saman
The 2018 shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper left five people dead, exposing not only the danger many journalists face but reminding the public of the essential role local journalism plays in communities large and small.
- Sustained Outrage
2019, USA, 26 min
Directed by Gabriela Cavanagh
For more than 100 years, the family-owned Charleston Gazette-Mail has been a relentless watchdog over West Virginia’s most powerful. But just eight months after winning the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, the Gazette-Mail grappled with a painful reality: bankruptcy ahead of a sale. The film gives an intimate look inside the paper, following its lead journalist and executive editor as the future of the paper is decided.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Hallie Jackson.
PROGRAM 2: Native Stories
- Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible
2020, USA, 29 min
Directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi
As the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic affects tribal communities, a group of Blackfeet women tackle the threat head-on by practicing and training in self-defense.
- Games Of Survival: A Culture Preserved In Ice
2019, USA, 16 min
Directed by Nicholas Natale
The events at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics — like the Four Man Carry and the Knuckle Hop — won’t be familiar to most Americans in the Lower 48, but they are both rooted in traditional Eskimo culture and pure Americana.
- Oil & Water
2020, Canada, 14 min
Directed by Anjali Nayar
Facing imminent takeover of their ancestral lands, the women in the Turkana region of Kenya stand up against oil giant Tullow. Despite resistance from the men in their community, they continue to fight for their way of life.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Correspondent Jo Ling Kent.
PROGRAM 3: Black in America
- The Lost Astronaut
2019, USA, 12 min
Directed by Ben Proudfoot
In 1963, Ed Dwight Jr. was poised to be NASA’s first African-American astronaut, until suddenly he wasn’t. The film looks back at pivotal moments in Ed’s career and touches on themes of fame and systemic racism.
- Tangled Roots
2020, USA, 19 min
Directed by Samantha Knowles
Tangled Roots follows Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott as she fights to pass a bill that would dismantle a system of discrimination against Black people who are penalized for something seemingly innocuous — their hair.
- Gloves Off
2020, USA, 15 min
Directed by Ugonna Okpalaoka and Nadine Natour
Gloves Off follows the story of Tiara Brown, a young police officer who forges new ways to serve her community by day, then laces up and fights to make a name for herself in the boxing ring by night.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Correspondent Morgan Radford.
PROGRAM 4: MeToo and Beyond
- Church And The Fourth Estate
2020, USA, 32 min
Directed by Brian Knappenberger
A reporter uncovers a file that reveals a shocking series of child-abuse allegations in Idaho’s Boy Scouts, which rattle the community and implicate the Mormon church. The story reveals long-running crimes that threaten to bankrupt the Boy Scouts.
- Breach Of Trust
2019, USA, 24 min
Directed by Mishal Mahmud
Breach of Trust explores the University of Southern California’s institutional cover-up involving the sexual misconduct of former full-time gynecologist George Tyndall. The story is anchored by the survivors, who after being wronged by the university continue their fight for institutional change.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Senior Investigative Correspondent Cynthia McFadden.
PROGRAM 5: Justice For All
- My Brother’s Keeper
2020, UK, 21 min
Directed by Laurence Topham
My Brother’s Keeper is about the remarkable friendship between former Guantánamo detainee, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, and his one-time American prison guard, Steve Wood, who gradually became convinced of his innocence.
- The Torture Letters
2020, USA, 12 min
Directed by Laurence Ralph
One of Laurence Ralph’s first memories of the police is when a plainclothes officer harassed his family. Now a Princeton anthropology professor, Ralph traces his story to the entrenched practices of torture by the Chicago Police.
- Lions In The Corner
2019, USA, 9 min
Directed by Paul Hairston
In Virginia, ‘Scarface’ started a fight club, ‘Streetbeefs’, in his backyard to combat gun and knife violence in the area. Soon, it turned into something much more. ‘Scarface’, a former convict turned community leader, believes that by bringing conflicts to the ring and off the streets, he can save lives.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell.
PROGRAM 6: Culture Clash
- A Prayer For Joshua Jackson
2018, USA, 21 min
Directed by Ryan Heffernan, Grayson Schaffer and Khalil Hudson
Race car driver Joshua Jackson went through something that would break even the toughest of souls, but Jackson managed to come out even more determined.
- United States Of Joe’s
2019, USA, 21 min
Directed by Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen
In rural Utah, a valley of world-class bouldering is nestled among a conservative community of Mormons, cowboys and coal miners. When punk rock climbers show up, the two cultures inevitably clash. After years of antagonism, a group of climbers work with locals to build a more harmonious future.
- Tall Tales With True Queens
2020, USA, 10 min
Directed by Kristina Budelis and Leandro Badalotti
Drag Queen Story Hour features drag queens reading stories to kids in libraries and schools. Amidst a building controversy, we learn that kids and drag queens have more in common than you might think.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Political Director and Meet the Press Moderator Chuck Todd.
PROGRAM 7: All Politics Are Local
- Status Pending
2020, USA, 26 min
Directed by Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz
Five first-generation immigration lawyers, who call themselves “The Tribe,” strive to help immigrants obtain safety and status in the United States.
- Vote Neil
2020, USA, 18 min
Directed by Honora Talbott
Marine Neil Rafferty is a first-time politician running for State House, Mike Rudulph is his fiancé and campaign manager searching for purpose. The film explores an intimate portrait about politics, the Southern LGBTQ experience, and one incredible love story.
- Do Not Split
2020, USA | Norway, 20 min
Directed by Anders Hammer
The story of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, narrated through a series of demonstrations by local protesters that escalate into conflict when heavily armed policemen arrive on the scene. The film features extensive footage of the protests and takes viewers inside the tense atmosphere seen through the eyes of the protesters on the ground.
Panel discussion moderated by NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Kasie Hunt.
# # #
For more information, contact:
MEET THE PRESS WITH CHUCK TODD
Meet the Press with Chuck Todd is where newsmakers come to make news — setting the political agenda and spotlighting the impact Washington decision-making has on Americans across the country. It is the #1 most-watched Sunday public affairs show for the 2019-2020 season, reaching more than three million viewers every Sunday and millions more through social, digital and on-demand platforms. Meet the Press brings its authority and influencer interviews to MSNBC with MTP Daily weekdays at 1 p.m. ET and to The Chuck ToddCast. It’s the longest-running show in television history, recently expanding its brand to include a political short-documentary film festival in collaboration with the American Film Institute. Chuck Todd is the political director of NBC News and the moderator of Meet the Press; John Reiss is the executive producer.
About the American Film Institute (AFI)
Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/American Film and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.
About AFI FEST
Now in its 34th year, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe. With an innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival historically presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices to enthusiastic audiences in Los Angeles. This year’s edition takes place online October 15-22, 2020, and is a diverse program of cinematic excellence that drives progress in filmmaking and film viewing. The festival includes Special Presentations consisting of appointment viewings of high-profile films with live virtual Q&As featuring the films’ cast and crew and a robust lineup of fiction and nonfiction features and shorts presented in established AFI FEST sections. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at FEST.AFI.com. Connect with AFI FEST at Facebook.com/AFIFEST, Twitter.com/AFIFEST, Instagram/AmericanFilmInstitute and YouTube.com/AFI.
# # #