Since last week's Doc Talk, which posted near the beginning of the Silverdocs documentary festival, I've seen a lot more titles to report on from my first, lengthy visit to Silver Springs, Maryland. Unfortunately I can't review everything, or even give as much attention to each as I would like, but I will try to highlight most of what I watched, especially the stuff I liked. Additionally, following the festival wrap-up, I take a look at two non-Silverdocs films, one that's opening this week in theaters and one that arrives on DVD.
Festival Report: 2010 AFI Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival
As I noted in my previous column, I had to take a break from heavy subject matter, particularly human rights-issue films. So, I avoided the Peacebuilding on Screen program, which partnered the fest with the U.S. Institute of Peace. I may have missed another film as amazing as War Don Don, which was a part of the program, but I just couldn't deal with depressing stories. I did at least attempt La Isla - Archives of a Tragedy, about discovered secret police documents related to disappeared citizens, and recognized some quality filmmaking. My head was just not in it.
I also couldn't bear the downer of a tale presented in Familia, the second film I walked out of due to my preference for "fun" docs. From there, I stumbled into something with relative subject matter -- a struggling Latin American family -- yet Circo is set in a Mexican circus and has a much lighter tone. It's not great, but I love films taking place under the big top, so despite its being perfect reality show fodder, I did enjoy the child performers and behind-the-scenes look at a multi-generational family-operated traveling operation.