If the dominant theme of Silverdocs 2011 was the law — with fascinating legal films such as “Hot Coffee” and “Incendiary” — this year, the prevailing mood of AFI’s documentary film festival is decidedly more artsy. The full schedule for the 10th anniversary of Silverdocs, which runs June 18-24, has been announced, and movie-goers can look forward to meeting a quirky artist behind “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” (“Beauty Is Embarrassing”), spending time with China’s infamous dissident sculptor (“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”) and seeing the work of a performance artist responsible for perching a nude subject on a bicycle in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (“Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”).
Beyond visual arts, many of the 114 movies focus on music. The opening night film will be “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” which follows the amazing story of the current lead singer of Journey. The formerly homeless Filipino man, who is Steve Perry’s voice twin, was discovered by band members on YouTube.
Other tuneful docs include a tribute to local punk band “Bad Brains: A Band in DC,” an outdoor screening of “Under African Skies,” which looks at Paul Simon’s controversial trip to South Africa in the 1980s, and “Beware of Mr. Baker,” about the explosive and egomaniacal drummer of Cream, Ginger Baker.
We’ll have more information about promising films as the festival approaches, but in the meantime, visit the Silverdocs Web site for the full slate of movies.