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AFI DOCS 2021 announces opening night, closing night and centerpiece films

DOCS21_Opening-Closing-Centerpiece-Social_v02_FNL_9-BLOG-IMAGE.pngAFI DOCS has announced the Opening Night, Closing Night and Centerpiece Films for its 19th annual edition. This year’s hybrid festival will open with the world premiere of NAOMI OSAKA, directed by Academy Award® nominee Garrett Bradley, and will close with Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt’s celebrated coming-of-age film CUSP. This year’s Centerpiece Screening will be ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN, directed by Academy Award® winner Morgan Neville. AFI DOCS runs June 22–27, 2021, and will include limited in-person screenings at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD, as well as a full slate of virtual offerings. Passes can be purchased now at Early Bird pricing will be available until June 1. Tickets to AFI DOCS for in-person screenings and at-home opportunities will be available June 8.

“As the audience for AFI DOCS has expanded beyond Washington, DC, to include an entire nation of movie lovers, we are particularly proud this year to celebrate films that unite us, exploring subjects from a tennis superstar to teenagers in Texas to a Renaissance man who brought people together through a shared love of food,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “At a time we need it most, it is the movies at AFI DOCS that will inspire hope for us all in the future.”

The Opening Night screening of NAOMI OSAKA will be held on June 22 and will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Garrett Bradley. The documentary series spans a pivotal two years for the young tennis superstar, from the 2019 US Open through a tour of each of the Grand Slam tournaments as she not only works on her game, but also explores her roots and finds her voice.

The Closing Night screening of CUSP will be held on June 27. The coming-of-age documentary, which won the Emerging Filmmaker Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, follows three teenage girls for one wild, life-changing summer in their small Texas town as they grapple with what becoming an adult means, especially for young women.

The Centerpiece screening of ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN will be held on June 25 to commemorate what would have been Bourdain’s 65th birthday. The film follows the late culinary icon from his meteoric rise to fame with the best-selling “Kitchen Confidential,” through his revolutionary approach to what a travel show could be: bringing food, politics and personal histories together as he chased new adventures and fulfillment in his own life.


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