AFI, Discovery announce plans for Silverdocs festival

MUMBAI: The American Film Institute (AFI) and US broadcaster Discovery have announced the opening and closing night films for AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival.

The Festival will open on 15 June, with the US premiere of Lionsgate‘s More Than A Game. It will close on 20 June with the world premiere of the HBO Documentary Film The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry.Silverdocs presents eight days of programming showcasing 100 films plus special screenings, music

performances and dozens of panel discussions featuring hundreds of filmmakers, subjects and media professionals.

Now in its seventh year, Silverdocs - along with its concurrent International Documentary Conference - is the pre-eminent documentary festival in the US.

A coming of age story about friendship and loyalty in the face of great adversity, Kristopher Belman‘s More Than A Game follows the incredible rise (and occasional fall) of five talented young basketball players from Akron, Ohio. Led by future NBA superstar LeBron James and coached by a charismatic yet initially inexperienced player‘s father, Dru Joyce III, the "Fab Five‘s" improbable seven-year journey leads them from a decrepit inner-city gym to the doorstep of a national high school championship.

As far as the HBO entry is concerned, many people remember Marion Barry as the philandering drug-using mayor of the US‘ capital, who was famously caught in a 1990 FBI sting operation. Yet others know him as a folk hero, a civil rights champion and defender of the poor. Barry‘s soaring achievements, catastrophic failures and phoenix-like rebirths have made him a symbol of mythic indestructibility. Who is Marion Barry, really? A hero? A scoundrel? Why is he such a polarizing force? And why do people still vote for him? The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry looks to reveal the complete story. Directors Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer are scheduled to attend along with Marion Barry and other special guests.

Silverdocs artistic director Sky Sitney says, "We are thrilled to open the 2009 Silverdocs Festival with Kristopher Belman‘s More Than A Game. With a heart-racing narrative and magnificent cast of subjects, the film addresses both contemporary social issues and personal struggles and triumphs, and is an inspiring message to all.

"The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry is not just a DC story about one man‘s rise and fall, but a universal story of promise, disillusionment, and the quest for redemption. While its message speaks globally, we are thrilled to launch the film in the city that serves not merely as an essential backdrop to the story, but as a character itself."

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