Friday, April 12, 2013

R.I.P. Silverdocs: 2003-2012

Silverdocs as we know it is dead, killed by what I am able to translate from a bunch of corporatespeak as insufficient funding. Henceforth, the festival shall be known as "AFI Docs presented by Audi". Since it's launch in 2003, Discovery had been the Silverdocs' biggest backer, but "shifts in Discovery’s corporate focus" have led to money from that source drying up. Of course, if Silverdocs was about documenting freak shows, they'd still be all over that. Maybe we can blame Oprah.

The organizers are somehow making the festival "more ambitious" by making it two days shorter and showing fewer documentaries. Rather than hosting the entire festival at the AFI Silver (still by far the best theater in the metro area) screenings and other events will now also be held in various venues in the District.

There will still be plenty of events at the Silver, but local businesses will take a bit of a hit from the shortened schedule. Plus, it was our festival before - now we have to share.


Countess Fifi Von Wigglesworth said...

BOOOOOooo. Sadness. As long as the Silver Theater stays open,
I *guess* that's okay. The timing seems off, especially with the Fillmore venue taking off.
Seems to me that the target audience is the same, they just need to market better.

Anonymous said...

I'm also bummed that it's not going to be a Silver Spring thing anymore. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

I'd guess the people at Silver aren't happy about this either, the changes are LA's call.

Pete said...

You can't blame lack of business at the fest itself, which has seemed been bigger and more crowded every year.

Anonymous said...

It's bad news despite the PR about getting the attention of legislators, etc. SilverDocs was a broad doc festival, not just showcasing advocacy or current-issue films. SilverDocs was an immersion event with the filmmaker conference and film screenings all in the same hub. Shortening the festival, reducing the number of films, holding the gala event(s) somewhere far from the Silver Theater dissipate and weaken the identity. And after all the years of hosting the event, to drop "Silver" from the festival title is disrespectful to the theater and the thousands of people who flocked to SilverDocs over the past decade. It's a shame about Discovery's reduction in support - it was a much more natural partner for SilverDocs than a car company.

Anonymous said...

It is also disrespectful to Montgomery County taxpayers who paid for the restoration of the Silver Theatre and who subsidize AFI's incredibly low yearly lease.

Anonymous said...

AFI Docs - Audi does trip off the tongue so much better than Silver Docs did. Just goes to show that even AFI can make a boneheaded decision. Not surpised if its coming out of LA. They made the announcement right after membership renewals were due too. Guess they would have considered us locals ungrateful if we withheld renewing our memberships in protest. On the other hand, maybe now the general public can actually get tickets to the few films still shown at the Silver. The greedy Discovery staff always snatched up an excessive number of tickets.
I wonder - does AFI LA know how bad the Metro is for getting around DC quickly? Nothing like missing a 15 min short film because your train was single tracking, AGAIN. Uber should be a sponsor they'll be the ones who benefit the most from AFI's stupid decision.
Would be nice if they would show past docs for free at Veteran's Plaza. Encourage a public interest in documentary films.

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