"Alien vs. Predator" not your cup of chai?
Though the season's full of stuff like that, mindless escapism may be the last thing in some people's heads this summer. And, truth be told, more than a few quietly reflective films do manage to find their way onto the schedule amid all the warm-weather Sturm und Drang.
Hard-core fans of documentary, for instance, will be pleased to learn that the Silverdocs documentary film festival is back this year from June 15 to 20 at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring (Metro: Silver Spring). Now in its second year, the series is a joint venture of the AFI and the Discovery Channel and opens with a symposium on and world-premiere screening of "Seeds," profiling the Seeds of Peace summer camp in Maine, where young people from such traditionally "enemy" countries as India and Pakistan come together to learn alternatives to fighting. Other titles include Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning 1977 "Harlan County USA" and the likely-to-be-controversial "Control Room," about the al-Jazeera news organization.
Along with a Meryl Streep retrospective, the AFI Silver's summer plans include a Slow Food Festival on July 15, 17 and 18, a selection of short narrative and documentary works from around the world on the subject of food. As an added treat, local Silver Spring restaurants will feature dishes from the films on their menus. Keep an eye out for more information on that, or call 301-495-6700 or visit www.afi.com/silver.
-- Michael O'Sullivan