City Paper is not for tourists
D.C. is a great city for filmgoers, especially when it comes to documentaries—between the National Geographic Live! series and the offerings at Filmfest DC and Reel Affirmations, there’s rarely a shortage of opportunities here to see fact-based film. And AFI’s Silverdocs isn’t just one of the best local doc fests—it’s one of the best film fests in the country. Since 2002, it’s showcased a wide array of docs without succumbing to the usual signifiers of documentary horribleness—shaky-cam amateurism and knee-jerk screeds. The best of the 2007 fest found engaging ways to get at complex topics—Please Vote for Me, for instance, looked at a rapidly changing China by way of a grade-school election, and Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 had lots to say about the industrial economy, craftsmanship, and the power of music simply by studying the construction of a single piano. Silverdocs excels at stimulating fare like this, and screening such films at a top-notch theater like the AFI Silver only makes the fest more of a must-see. This year it runs from June 16–23.