0 9 3The American Film Institute (AFI) offers what looks like its biggest film festival yet this year. Indeed, AFI Fest’s hybrid showcase, held at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood (and via virtual presentation) is like four days of cinematic immersion. In-person screenings as well as virtual ones, focus on educating and entertaining, with compelling narratives and stories reflecting the complex nature of humanity. Inclusivity is also prioritized this year with 51% women-directed films, 39% BIPOC filmmakers presenting their work, and an ample selection of world cinema. The hybrid format allows vaccinated guests to attend in person and a host of online content options for those not comfortable with theaters yet. Here are some highlights to look forward to at this year’s fest.

World Premieres:

The red carpets will be swarming at Lin-Manuel-Miranda’s tick, tick…BOOM!, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard, Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruise and Benjamin Cleary’s feature directorial debut Swan Song premiere events.  Sing 2 directed by Garth Jennings, Parallel Mothers directed by Pedro Almodóvar and The Power of the Dog directed by Jane Campion will also be seen by audiences for the first time.


“Making the Untold Told:  A Look into AT&T Presents:  Untold Stories” examines the film competition spotlighting emerging voices. The winner will get a $1 million prize, distribution on HBO Max and a guaranteed festival premiere. The presentation offers guidance on entering and pitching. Learn more here.

Student Shorts:

Short fiction films via graduates of the AFI Conservatory will be screened, concluding with the premiere of David Fincher’s latest Netflix series, Voiran ode to cinema presented in visual essay format.


Citizen Ashe– Directors Rex Miller and Sam Pollard’s documentary about tennis great and humanitarian Arthur Ashe reflects on his legacy as a sports legend and activist. Film will be followed by a virtual Q&A with filmmakers Miller and Pollard.

To What Remains– The story of Project Recover, a team of scientists, oceanographers and researchers who scour the depths of the ocean to search for and recover the remains Americans missing in action since WWII.

Procession– Survivors of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priests and clergy convene for a “drama therapy” session, creating fictional scenes based on their memories in hopes of gaining catharsis and healing.


Also check out the Meet the Press Film Fest featuring documentary shorts with political themes.

Tickets and full schedule to available on FEST.AFI.com.

All in-person screenings at TCL Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Blvd. Festival-goers at in-person events and screenings must be fully vaccinated. AFI Members receive exclusive discounts and benefits to the festival. To become an AFI member, visit AFI.com/join/.


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