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Sophia directed by Jon Kasbe and Crystal Moselle - DC/DOX 2022
Sophia directed by Jon Kasbe and Crystal Moselle

Founded by industry veterans Jamie Shor and Sky Sitney, DC/DOX a new documentary film festival is coming to the nation’s capital, launching with a special one-night-only on June 15, 2022 at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington, DC. The inaugural festival will take place in June 2023.

“Washington, DC has always been an essential home for leading-edge documentary films. With the explosion of non-fiction storytelling in recent years, we wanted to create a new space to showcase this vital work,” said DC/DOX co-founder and festival director Sky Sitney.

“With this launch, we’re introducing the film lovers of DC to DC/DOX, inviting them to join us in celebrating these incredible stories on film, and serving as a critical marketplace for the launch of prestige documentary films in the nation’s capital,” said DC/DOX co-founder Jamie Shor.

The launch event features screenings of Aftershock; Endangered; Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song; The Martha Mitchell Effect; Riotsville, U.S.A.; Sirens; and Sophia, all of which will be making their DC premieres at DC/DOX. Filmmakers Rachel Grady (Endangered); Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy (The Martha Mitchell Effect); Rita Baghdadi (Sirens); and Jon Kasbe and Crystal Moselle (Sophia), as well as film subjects Shawnee Benton Gibson and Omari Maynard (Aftershock) will attend to take part in post-screening conversations.

DC/DOX 2022 Program

AFTERSHOCK | DIRS Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee | USA.

Following the preventable deaths of their loved ones due to childbirth complications, two families galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises of our time – the US maternal health crisis. Courtesy of Disney’s Onyx Collective.

ENDANGERED | DIRS Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady | USA, Brazil, Mexico.

ENDANGERED chronicles a year in the life of four journalists living and working in democratic countries where freedom of the press has historically been considered a “given.” Yet, as online misinformation proliferates and world leaders brazenly denigrate the press, distrust of traditional media is on the rise, and journalists are increasingly facing situations more typically encountered in war zones or autocratic states. Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.

HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG | DIRS Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine | USA.

HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG is a definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, “Hallelujah.” This feature-length documentary weaves together three creative strands: The songwriter and his times; the song’s dramatic journey from record label reject to chart-topping hit; and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom “Hallelujah” has become a personal touchstone. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, the film accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT | DIRS Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy | USA.

She was once as famous as Jackie O. And then she tried to take down a President. THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT is an archival documentary portrait of the unlikeliest of whistleblowers: Martha Mitchell, a Republican cabinet wife who was gaslighted by the Nixon Administration to keep her quiet. It offers a female gaze on Watergate through the voice of the woman herself. Courtesy of Netflix.

RIOTSVILLE, USA | DIR Sierra Pettengill | USA.

Welcome to RIOTSVILLE, USA, a turning point in American history where the protest movements of the late 1960s came into conflict with increasingly militarized police departments. Focusing on unearthed military training footage of Army-built model towns called “Riotsvilles,” where military and police were trained to respond to civil disorder in the aftermath of the Kerner Commission created by President Lyndon B. Johnson, director Sierra Pettengill’s kaleidoscopic all-archival documentary reconstructs the formation of a national consciousness obsessed with maintaining law and order by any means necessary. Drawing insight from a time similar to our own, RIOTSVILLE, USA pulls focus on American institutional control and offers a compelling case that if the history of race in America rhymes, it is by design. Courtesy of Magnolia Films.

SIRENS | DIR Rita Baghdadi. | USA, Lebanon.

On the outskirts of Beirut, Lilas and her thrash metal bandmates, Shery, Maya, Alma and Tatyana (Slave to Sirens), have big dreams but few opportunities. When the band’s appearance at a UK music festival isn’t the life-changer they had hoped for, Lilas comes home to Lebanon on the brink of collapse. At the same time, the complicated friendship between Lilas and her fellow guitarist Shery starts to fracture. The future of her band, her country and her dreams now all at stake, Lilas faces a crossroad. She must decide what kind of leader she will be, not only for her band, but also as a young woman struggling to define herself in Lebanon, a country in the Middle East as complex as each of the Sirens themselves. Courtesy of Oscilloscope Films.

SOPHIA | DIRS Jon Kasbe and Crystal Moselle. | USA.

SOPHIA chronicles David’s pursuit to create empathetic robots that can help solve some of humanity’s most pressing issues. For him, Sophia is more than a machine. She offers deep connection, and a glimpse at what the shared future between AI and humans might look like. As he works tirelessly in his lab, shaping Sophia’s lifelike face and building her intelligence, pressures from the outer world are growing. When his mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and investors begin to question his vision, David’s unwavering belief in Sophia is all that stands between him and failure. With time running out and resources dwindling, will David and Sophia find their place in the world? Courtesy of Showtime Documentary Films.

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