Doc Shorts Stand Tall at Double Exposure Film Festival

(Washington, D.C.) –Themes ranging from the aftermath of war to citizen-led protests and police violence ran through the second slate of shorts at Double Exposure’s ninth edition. The films featured included, 23, The Smallest Power, Suddenly TV, The Night Doctrine and Incident.

Directed by Milan M.A. Gonzales, 23 follows war correspondents’ journey into Ukraine to report on the Russian invasion. The 10-minute film used a composition of photos and narration based on the poem 23, which was also written by Gonzales.

The Smallest Power, recorded in secret in the midst of the women-led uprising in Iran, follows an Iranian medical student who risked it all to protect a fellow doctor from the country’s secret police. The six-minute film, directed by Andy Sarjanani, was animated in order to grant anonymity to the subject who could be arrested if her identity was revealed.

In the short Suddenly TV, director Roopa Gogineni followed the sit-in protests that occupied Sudan’s military headquarters in Sudan in 2019. After 30 years of a dictatorial regime led by Omar al-Bashir, protesters called for a citizen-led government. Gogineni describes the film as “meta” in the sense that she documented a group of young men — equipped with their own “film equipment” fashioned of cardboard boxes and plastic water bottles — as they interviewed fellow protestors.

“The audience was live,” Gogineni said. “It was this performance, people and crowds were crowded together speaking their truth there, and everyone was witnessing it.” Their intimate contextual and nuanced understanding of the situation in Sudan allowed them to get a different level of interviews, Gogineni said.

The Night Doctrine, directed by Mauricio Rodriguez-Pons and Almudena Toral of ProPublica, tells the story of an Afghan journalist as she investigates the murder of her family 30 years ago. As she digs deeper, a CIA-backed program that launched hundreds of military night raids in Afghanistan comes to the surface in this 16-minute animated short.

Told through a montage of images and surveillance, Incident uses Chicago Police Department and public CCTV footage to recreate a tragic and criminal instance of police violence in 2018. After a man is killed by police on the street, director Bill Morrison highlights the consequences, vain justifications, and attempts to divert blame and accountability.

DOUBLE EXPOSURE is America’s first and only film festival dedicated to the burgeoning intersection between investigative reporting and visual storytelling. It pairs the finest, new investigative films with an immersive professional symposium that brings together watchdog journalists and narrative/documentary filmmakers for one purpose; to elevate stories anchored in the search for truth.