After two weeks of covering the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, I'm glad to move on to a documentary-focused event devoted more to non-fiction storytelling than promotion of causes. This is my first year at Silverdocs (full-name: AFI Discovery Channel Silverdocs), which has annually been a hub for doc enthusiasts in the D.C. area for nearly a decade. And though there is some overlap between fests (including my HRW faves Restrepo and War Don Don), right from the start Silverdocs has been a very different experience from the HRW. Here they show everything from the light and unsubstantial (opening night selection Freakonomics) to the deadly serious (HIV/AIDS doc The Other City). And in between there is room for plenty of autobiographic journeys, a rock doc, some histories and stuff that's hard to classify (such as my favorite from Tribeca, Into Eternity).
This being my first fest that's completely interested in documentary, I've discovered the fine line between the major benefit and the major problem with the niche focus. The best thing is there are so many docs to choose from. The worst thing is there are so many docs to choose from. I'm admittedly an extremely indecisive person, so planning out a schedule here was one of the hardest things I've had to do. And of course I haven't been able to stick to it.