NBC News’ Meet the Press and the American Film Institute will highlight topics such as criminal justice reform, climate change, immigration and racial and gender equality at the Meet the Press Film Festival in Washington on Oct. 7.
The event started in 2017 as a way to extend the Meet the Press brand by showcasing documentary shorts. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd will moderate panels tied to the event, along with NBC News and MSNBC personalities Andrea Mitchell, Hallie Jackson, Katy Tur, Jacob Soboroff, Morgan Radford and Kristen Welker.
The event, to be held at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington, will split up the documentary shorts into eight themed segments.
For example, a “Justice for All” track will include projects that spotlight criminal justice reform. The projects include St. Louis Superman, about Bruce Franks Jr., a rapper and state representative from St. Louis, Mo.; Church of Safe Injection, about a church volunteer in Lewiston, Maine, who illegally distributes fresh needles and an anti-overdose drug; The Trial, about the lawyers defending 9/11 suspect Ammar al-Baluchi in Guantanamo Bay; and Kevin’s House, about a narcotics officer whose daughter became addicted to opioids.
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Two segments will be devoted to the climate crisis, including one devoted to the problems with flooding and another to fire. Projects include Water’s Edge, about Louisiana’s efforts to restore its bayous and marshes; The River Is Me, about the effort to grant “legal personhood” to a river in New Zealand; Fire in Paradise, about the devastating fire in the small town of Paradise, Calif.; and Scenes from a Dry City, about the water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa.
An immigration segment will feature the projects Follow the Sun, about the Central American men awaiting asylum in the U.S.; and Torn Apart, the story of two mothers who were separated from the children at the U.S.-Mexican border. Another segment devoted to young activists includes Mack Wrestles, about a transgender wrestling athlete; Lowland Kids, the story of teenagers who are fighting to stay on a Louisiana island threatened by climate change; and Girls Section, the story of a “quiet revolution” among young girls in Pakistan.
Another segment will be called “Yearning to Breathe Free,” and will include Ghosts of Sugar Land, about a group of young Muslim American men whose friend, suspected of joining ISIS, has disappeared; Enforcement Hours, about a 24-hour hotline that serves as a rapid response network to fight federal immigration mandates; Hiding from China, focusing on the largest community of Uighurs in America; and Atrevidos, about the man who invited Fidel Castro to visit the Bronx in 1995.
A segment focusing on young women who are pushing boundaries will feature A Love Song for Latasha, which is described as a “more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins,” with memories from her cousin and best friend; and Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), the story of Afghan girls learning to read, write and skateboard in Kabul.
A segment called “The Lost” will focus on individuals trying to build new lives after disasters and catastrophes. It will include In the Absence, about the victims and survivors of a passenger ferry disaster in South Korea; and After Maria, focusing on Puerto Rican women trying to keep their families together in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane.