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Investigative Film Festival Opens in D.C.

Edward Snowden will participate in a panel discussion via Skype. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images File Photo)

The Founding Fathers thought so much of the power of the press they reserved a special spot for it in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Perhaps it’s appropriate then, that the inaugural Double Exposure: The Investigative Film Festival and Symposium would make its home in Washington, D.C. The festival, put on by the nonprofit investigative news organization 100Reporters, gets underway Wednesday and runs through Friday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in downtown D.C. It features a lineup of documentary and fiction films, as well as panels and symposiums, that kicks off with the D.C. premiere of “Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s retelling of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse.  

McCarthy, who played flawed reporter Scott Templeton in the HBO series “The Wire,” will be on hand Wednesday night after the premiere of “Spotlight” for a post-screening discussion with screenwriter Josh Singer and members of the Globe team that will be moderated by “Wire” creator and former Baltimore Sun investigative reporter David Simon.  

The film, starring Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup, Jamey Sheridan and John Slattery, was a hit at the just-wrapped Toronto Film Festival and is creating a lot of Oscar buzz.  

“A lot of people are saying it’s the ‘All the Presidents Men,’ for this generation,” 100Reporters Executive Editor Diana Jean Schemo told CQ Roll Call recently on SiriusXM’s POTUS Press Pool show. Schemo is the founding director of the festival and hopes it will spark conversation about how important in-depth journalism is, as well as discuss some of the nontraditional venues that are producing it now.  

Other films (all screening at the Portrait Gallery unless noted) in the three-day festival include:

  • “The True Cost,” a documentary by Andrew Morgan about the impact of the clothing industry on the environment and workers. Showing Thursday at 11 a.m.
  • “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman’s harrowing documentary about vigilantes taking on the drug cartels in Mexico and Arizona. Thursday at 6 p.m.
  • “Deep Web,” Alex Winter’s documentary about the case against Ross William Ulbricht, creator of the online black market Silk Road. Thursday at 8:45 p.m.
  • “1971,” Johanna Hamilton’s documentary of the March 8, 1971, break-in of the FBI field office in Media, Pa., which led to the exposure of FBI practices of surveillance of U.S. citizens. Friday at 9:30 a.m. at the Newseum.
  • “The Storm Makers,” Guillaume Suon’s documentary about modern-day slavery practices. Friday at 3:30 p.m.
  • “Drone,” director Tonje Hessen Schei’s documentary about drone warfare, from Pakistan to U.S. training grounds. Friday at 6 p.m.
  • “(T)ERROR,” a nonfiction look by directors Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe at a counterrrorism informant. Friday at 8:30 p.m.

The symposium schedule is packed with filmmakers, reporters, photographers and even one Edward Snowden, appearing via Skype on Oct. 2 at the Newseum after the screening of "1971" from 3-4:30 p.m., for a panel about whistleblowers.  

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Topics: movies