Double Exposure: Investigative Film Festival combines the best of journalism and filmmaking

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Double Exposure: Investigative Film Fest (Part 1)
Double Exposure: Investigative Film Fest returns for its ninth year. (Courtesy Double Exposure)

Do you appreciate the hard work of investigative journalism? Do you love compelling documentaries?

The ninth annual Double Exposure: Investigative Film Festival returns to D.C. this Thursday through Sunday.

“The festival was founded in 2015 — we started out with the D.C. premiere of ‘Spotlight,'” Co-Founder Diana Jean Schemo told WTOP. “Double Exposure is all about the intersection of investigative journalism and cinematic storytelling. It’s showing how investigative journalism has become an engine of culture. … It also brings together practitioners who attend the symposium, talk craft and learn about each other’s fields.”

This year, the primary venue is the top floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Downtown D.C.

“The library, as you know, has been lavishly refurbished,” Schemo said. “They have a beautiful meeting space, a wraparound roof deck and a theater on the top floor, so we’re doing most of our screenings there.”

The impressive lineup kicks off Thursday, Nov. 2 with the opening night film “Locked Out.”

“It’s set in Detroit and it looks at the legacy of redlining, especially through the eyes of African American women who are trying to get a piece of the American dream and buy their own home,” Schemo said. “Very often they are ending up with these rent-to-own schemes and land contracts that essentially set them up for failure, loading costs on them but then taking the houses away before they’re able to take ownership.”

It continues Friday, Nov. 3 with the world premiere of the centerpiece film “The Price of Truth.”

“It is looking at the state of journalism in Russia, especially focused on Dmitry Muratov,” Schemo said. “Shortly after he got the Nobel Prize, Russia invaded Ukraine. Six of his journalists had already been murdered, so he sets about spiriting the rest away to safety. His newspaper was cofounded with Mikhail Gorbachev. It’s all about aggressive, independent, investigative reporting and a free press. There’s no place for that in Russia.”

After that, get ready for the troubling spotlight film “Another Body” on Saturday, Nov. 4.

“This is about a young woman who discovers that her face has been grafted onto somebody else’s body and it ends up on the deep, dark web as porn,” Schemo said. “She sets about using the tools of A.I. and fakery to suss out who is the predator … and she discovers a number of other students who were also [victims]. … It has a very interesting twist that I’m not going to give away right now that makes it really very compelling.”

It all culminates Sunday, Nov. 5 with the closing night documentary “The Lost Souls of Syria.”

“It’s about a Syrian government photographer who’s summoned to take pictures of people who are tortured and killed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime after the Arab Spring,” Schemo said. “He can’t really handle it, it’s just too much, he has to do something, so he [smuggles out] photos of tens of thousands of people who have been killed, mutilated and tortured to death and starts taking them to European capitals trying to find justice.”

See the full festival lineup here.

Listen to our full conversation here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Double Exposure: Investigative Film Fest (Part 2)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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