The inaugural edition of CFI’s documentary film festival received high praise from filmmakers and audiences alike last year—with comparisons to the warmth and intimacy of the early days of the Mill Valley Film Festival. As gratifying as those compliments are, we are not looking to repeat the past. Our goal is to look to the future.

Our second edition manifests that idea, not just in presentations that explore the wild, incite action, and celebrate possibility. This year, we are trying something new, incorporating CFI Education’s Environmental Youth Forum, which, for the past ten years, has served thousands of young adults by bringing them to our year-round home, the Smith Rafael Film Center. There, they experience vibrant, educational, entertaining films on subjects related to planet Earth and all the living things with whom we share it. DocLands is committed to the exciting, growing, and evolving art of documentary filmmaking. It’s well matched with EYF, which is committed to the exciting, growing, and evolving process of activating youth.

Because documentaries have a vital role in all the most pressing issues of our time, particularly in this short-attention-span era, DocLands 2018 gives critical matters the treatment they deserve. Opening Night (climate change film Anote’s Ark) features a guest appearance by the former president (Anote Tong) of an island nation disappearing into the sea. We close with the world premiere of 16 Bars, which brings inmates hope through music. And our first DocLands Honors Award goes to Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction, The Gamer Changers), reiterating our commitment to a sustainable world. Throughout the 42 films of DocLands 2018, you will see that no matter the subject, these films resonate universally, emphasizing our common humanity.

Thanks you to all those who have made this festival possible; our amazing DocLands staff, led by our director of programming, Joni Cooper; our committed volunteer board of directors, our generous donors and sponsors; and, of course, our brilliant filmmakers—who bring all of us the opportunity to make discoveries through cinema that compel us to make change in the world.

Mark Fishkin
Executive Director / Founder, California Film Institute