The American Film Institute has revealed the AFI DOCS 2016 Audience Award winners, concluding the five-day festival in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD. This year’s Audience Award for Best Feature went to MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE, directed by Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules (U.S.). This year’s Audience Award for Best Short went to SNAILS, directed by Grzegorz Szczepaniak (Poland).
Once again, AFI DOCS provided unique opportunities for audiences, filmmakers and policymakers to convene in our nation’s capital. Highlights included U.S. Representatives addressing the NEWTOWN audience just hours after Democrats concluded their sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives; a White House meeting with AFI DOCS filmmakers and policymakers; and a gathering and roundtable of international filmmakers from Pakistan conducted by the U.S. State Department.
This year’s AFI DOCS attendees included renowned filmmakers Judd Apatow, Ramin Bahrani, Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, Rachel Grady, Werner Herzog (this year’s AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree) and Barbara Kopple, along with acclaimed singer Sharon Jones and television icon Norman Lear. Global, national and local leaders in attendance included U.S. Representatives Jim Himes and Nita Lowey and German Ambassador Peter Wittig.
MORE ABOUT THE WINNING FILMS:
In MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE,co-directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack present a lovingly crafted and comprehensive portrait of the esteemed Dr. Maya Angelou. The story is told by Angelou herself, along with a cast of contemporaries from her careers as actress, writer, poet and activist. In chronicling Angelou’s life from her youth in the Depression-era South through her rise to international prominence, the film is a vital document about the importance of grace, dignity and the quest for peace. (Read the AFI DOCS interview with the filmmakers here.)
In SNAILS, best friends with a shared goal of becoming millionaires believe they’ve found the answer to their dreams in an unlikely profession: snail farming.