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AFI Docs Highlights Old School, New School

AFI Docs released its full slate Wednesday for its June 17-21 run, and among its 81 movies are documentaries from one of the field’s most influential directors, as well as some of its most contemporary trailblazers.  

Legendary documentarian Albert Maysles, who died in March at the age of 88, is one of several co-directors of “In Transit.” The movie, which premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival, is a chronicle of Amtrak’s Empire Builder train line, which stretches from Seattle to Chicago.  

Meanwhile, Alex Gibney, the man who took on Scientology with this year’s “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of His Belief” and has taken a deep look at everyone from Ken Lay (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”) to Hunter S. Thompson (“Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”) and Julian Assange (“We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks”) takes a look at the man behind Apple with his latest, “Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine.”  

Another documentarian pushing boundaries in the field, Joshua Oppenheimer, will have his “The Look of Silence,” a follow-up to his hard-hitting film about the Indonesian genocide, at the festival as well.  

The three directors show off an old school/new school dynamic to the festival, with 78 other films in between.  

One of the travelers in “In Transit” says, “Maybe I don’t wanna die before having a good look at the world.” That’s a good fit for a thing such as AFI Docs, where such sentiment largely defines the audiences for documentaries.  


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