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Silver Spring. Think of it as Cannes -- sans sandy beaches, pricey cappuccinos and world-class shopping. Or as Sundance -- minus the mountains and Robert Redford.
Despite its exotic shortcomings, Discovery Communications folks think Silver Spring -- its future corporate base -- makes an ideal host for an annual documentary film festival scheduled to debut in 2001.
The Bethesda-based media company and the American Film Institute announced plans Nov. 4 to copresent documentaries from around the world in conjunction with the opening of AFI's Silver Theater in downtown Silver Spring.
The festival would take place in the backyard of respected nonfiction …