Five films have been selected for the fourth annual AFI DOCS Impact Lab in partnership with RABEN_IMPACT. The selections for this distinguished fellowship and training program are four feature documentary films — CHARM CITY, DON’T BE NICE, THE PROVIDERS, and PERSONAL STATEMENT, which will have its world premiere and open AFI DOCS this year — and the short documentary film, BROTHER.
Led by impact strategists Heidi Nel and Charlie Crocker, the Impact Lab is designed for filmmakers with issue-driven films who aim to create broader social impact and political change through the power of story and film. The two and a half day Lab, which will take place June 11 through 13 in the lead-up to the festival, provides fellows with unique training opportunities with some of the most sought-after tacticians in the areas of advocacy, grassroots communications and grasstops engagement. Lab fellows are also connected with policymakers and Congressional aides working on legislation relevant to their films. The 16th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 13–17 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD.
THE 2018 IMPACT LAB FILMS
Synopsis: U.S. Army Captain Matt Zeller and Janis Shinwari barely knew each other when Janis, an Afghan translator for the Army, body-checked Matt to the ground, shot two approaching Taliban fighters and dragged him to safety, saving his life. What resulted was a new lease on life, and an incredible cross-cultural friendship.
Lab Fellows: Daniel Klein (Producer and Co-director) and Hunter Johnson (Director of Photography and Co-director)
Synopsis: On the streets of Baltimore, the murder rate is approaching an all-time high and distrust of the police reaches a fever pitch. With neighborhoods in peril, residents attempt to diffuse the violence through cooperative efforts helmed by community leaders, compassionate law-enforcement officers and a progressive young city councilman.
Lab Fellows: Marilyn Ness (Director) and Simon Mendes (Associate Producer)
DON’T BE NICE
Synopsis: Following a diverse team of slam poets as they mine their feelings and personal experiences about race, sexuality, gender and popular culture to craft poems for national competition, DON’T BE NICE demonstrates how collaboration and communication between artists can allow them to better understand who they are and what they want to say.
Lab Fellows: Nikhil Melnechuk (Producer) and Mason Granger (Impact Producer)
Synopsis: Karoline, Enoch and Christine are Brooklyn high school seniors who just want to go to college, but like so many public school students throughout the country, their schools don’t have enough college guidance support. Refusing to give up, they decide to work as college counselors in their schools, becoming the very resource they don’t have themselves.
Lab Fellows: Juliane Dressner (Director, Producer and Cinematographer) and Beth Levison (Producer)
Synopsis: THE PROVIDERS follows three “country doctors” — health care providers working for a small network of clinics in northern New Mexico — as they confront the challenges of keeping those in their poor and opioid-plagued communities safe. As the film movingly shows each doctor’s day-to-day responsibilities, a complex portrait emerges of small-town America.
Lab Fellows: Anna Moot-Levin (Director and Producer) and Laura Green (Director and Producer)