Silverdocs rages on with hot panels and screenings

Jason Fraley, WTOP Film Critic
Heidi Gruber & Emily Sobel, WTOP Interns

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The 10th annual AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs festival continues to take over downtown Silver Spring this week. The film festival runs through June 24 in the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, featuring panels and documentaries from top international filmmakers and amateurs alike.

The event will draw more than 27,000 festival attendees, including some of the industry’s most prominent figures. Take documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, who has twice won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, for “Why We Fight” (2005) and “The House I Live In” (2012), which screened at Silverdocs on Tuesday and Thursday.

“The audiences here at Silverdocs are extremely strong, and they’re also very versed in documentary,” Jarecki said. “They’re very smart moviegoers.”

This year’s festival opened Monday night with a screening of director Ramona Diaz’s featured documentary “Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey.” The film chronicles Filipino singer Arnel Pineda’s journey from the streets to the stage. After toiling in a Journey cover band, his success on YouTube caught the eye of the actual band, and Journey recruited him as their newest frontman. The documentary’s recognizable soundtrack provided a strong opener for the festival, drawing a sold-out crowd and receiving positive critical response.

Washingtonian critic Ian Buckwalter says the film will “put a smile on your face and warm fuzzies in your heart.” If that’s the effect you’re looking for, don’t miss “Don’t Stop Believin'” at its final showing at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, June 24.

Other films generating buzz at this year’s Silverdocs tell stories that are not so lighthearted. “The Imposter,” by director Bart Layton and producer Dimitri Doganis, documents the unbelievable story of Frenchman Fr

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