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Many consider the American Film Institute's Silverdocs Film Festival to be the premier documentary film festival in the United States. It has consistently screened docs that have gone on to be major award contenders. The festival has become one of the essential stops for the year's greatest documentary films and for the US and, increasingly, the international documentary industry. The festival's screenings take place in the AFI's Silver Theater, one of the premier art house theaters in the Mid-Atlantic region and at the world headquarters for Discovery Communications, the parent company of the Discovery Channel. The festival has as its backdrop the nation's capital, Washington, DC, making the fest's commitment to issues of social consciousness all the more prescient. Concurrent with the festival, Silverdocs hosts the International Documentary Conference, the largest professional documentary conference in the US, a gathering for industry professionals and filmmakers. Silverdocs is a competitive festival, offering awards valued at over $80,000 annually.

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