Saturday, May 19, 2018

Steve James Named 2018 Guggenheim Honoree by American Film Institute

2018 Guggenheim honoree Steve James (Photo: AFI)

From our friends at AFI DOCS...

AFI DOCS Will Celebrate Academy Award-Nominated Filmmaker on June 14

AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute's (AFI) five-day documentary film festival in the nation's capital, supported by Presenting Sponsor AT&T, has announced that it will pay tribute to Steve James as the 2018 Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree. James is the remarkable, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker best known for HOOP DREAMS (1994) and ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL (2016.)

Each year, the AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium honors a master of the nonfiction art form. Taking place at the Warner Bros. Theater at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, on June 14, the Symposium will include an in-depth conversation with James along with clips from his acclaimed works and episode one of his new Starz docu-series, AMERICA TO ME. The Symposium will be moderated by Michael Phillips, film critic of the Chicago Tribune.

"Steve James is an incredible artist who uses storytelling to shed light on diverse communities that are often in crisis," said Michael Lumpkin, Director, AFI Festivals. "As one of the most admired documentary filmmakers of his generation, we are honored to celebrate him, his history of outstanding documentaries and his latest work."

In AMERICA TO ME, James returns to the subjects that have marked his career - class, race and how the two affect social and economic mobility. James follows students at a public high school in suburban Chicago that is considered the gold standard of diversity, yet on the ground, he discovers a different story.

The acclaimed HOOP DREAMS began James' long and fruitful affiliation with Kartemquin Films. James' next documentary, STEVIE (2002), won major festival awards in the U.S. and internationally. THE INTERRUPTERS (2011) was a hit on the festival circuit, winning a dozen awards. LIFE ITSELF (2014) premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance and was named the best documentary of the year by more than a dozen critics' associations. ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL was a 2018 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, and was nominated for numerous other awards, winning Best Political Documentary at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.

James joins a renowned list of Guggenheim Symposium honorees: Charles Guggenheim (2003), Barbara Kopple (2004), Martin Scorsese (2006), Jonathan Demme (2007), Spike Lee (2008), Albert Maysles (2009), Frederick Wiseman (2010), Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker (2011), Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (2012), Errol Morris (2013), Alex Gibney (2014), Stanley Nelson (2015), Werner Herzog (2016) and Laura Poitras (2017.)

AFI DOCS is proud to have AT&T return as this year's Presenting Sponsor. Passes and tickets to AFI DOCS, including the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, are now on sale at

AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute's annual documentary festival in Washington, DC. Presenting the year's best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation's government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agn├Ęs Varda and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 16th year, the festival will be held June 13–17, 2018, at distinguished Washington, DC, venues, the Landmark E Street Cinema and the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Visit and connect on and

About the American Film Institute:
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 - to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI's founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.

About AT&T:
AT&T is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 AFI DOCS. We help people connect in ways that improve lives every day. Through DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and AT&T U-verse, we deliver the kind of entertainment people love to talk about. And you can watch almost anytime, anywhere. For 10 years, we've supported AFI's commitment to honor the heritage of film and the artists who make them. And through a variety of programs, we're focused on giving amateur and underrepresented filmmakers the support they need to succeed.