Will they come?
That was the animating question over the weekend as AFI Docs — formerly Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival — got underway in its brand-new stamping ground of downtown Washington.
Over Silverdocs’ 10-year history, the weeklong program of nonfiction films secured a cherished place in Silver Spring, where filmmakers, audiences and industry types created a mini-
community that made itself at home in the corridor between the Silver Spring Civic Building and the American Film Institute’s Silver Theater and Cultural Center.
The question this year was whether the newly minted AFI Docs Presented by Audi could survive an expansion into venues in Penn Quarter and on the Mall, while keeping loyal viewers happy and inviting new ones to take a chance on films they’d never heard of in places they’d never been.
Although attendance figures were still being tallied Sunday, the outlook — on a purely anecdotal basis — seems promising for the festival, which had screenings throughout the weekend that were low-key, crowded and well received.