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In American movies, regular work barely exists. Hollywood protagonists normally either have vocations that consume them—cop, private eye, terminator—or ones that don’t seem to require any attention at all (architect, most often). Once a year, though, the American Film Institute (with co-sponsors the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO and the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute) presents some films about people who actually toil. The program includes three D.C.-area premieres, all on Saturday, Sept. 11: Shih-Ching Tsou and Sean Baker’s scruffy, compelling Take Out (pictured; at 3:15 p.m.), in which an illegal Chinese immigrant struggles to meet the looming deadline to pay the thugs who smuggled him into New York; Robert M. Young’s Human Error (at 5:30 p.m.), a surreal, semi-CGI comedy about an ominous factory; and Gabriel Miller’s Tell Us the Truth: The Documentary (at 8 p.m.), which chronicles a 15-city musical tour spotlighting concerns about media consolidation and global trade. The directors of all three films, plus some performers from the last, will introduce and discuss their work. The fest kicks off Friday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. with a 15th-anniversary showing of Michael Moore’s GM-bashing Roger & Me. The other reprises are Mondays in the Sun (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11), an ensemble piece about unemployed Spaniards; Blind Shaft (at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12), a stark tale of killer capitalism in contemporary China’s notorious mining industry; and Burn! (at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12), an account of slavery in the 19th-century Caribbean. The fest opens Friday, Sept. 10, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 12 (see Showtimes for a full schedule), at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)