AFI DOCS Announces Opening and Closing Night Films

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AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute's annual documentary celebration in Washington, D.C., has announced the Opening Night, Closing Night and Centerpiece Films for its 19th annual edition including the Centerpiece screening of Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

This year's hybrid festival 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.

AFI DOCS 2021 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.

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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. 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.  

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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. 


NAOMI OSAKA: DIR Garrett Bradley. PRODS Lauren Cioffi, Katy Murakami and Sally Rosen. USA.  

What does it feel like to be one of the best tennis players in the world? An intimate look inside the life of one of the most gifted and complex athletes of her generation offers insight into the tough decisions and ecstatic triumphs that shape Naomi Osaka as both an elite global superstar and a young woman navigating a pressure-filled world. World Premiere. 


CUSP: DIRS Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt. PROD Zachary Luke Kislevitz. USA.  

This coming-of-age documentary 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. 


ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN: DIR Morgan Neville. PRODS Caitrin Rogers and Morgan Neville. USA.  

ROADRUNNER explores the life of the late storyteller, explorer and chef, Anthony Bourdain. 

More information about AFI DOCS screenings and other special events will be announced in the coming weeks.

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AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute's annual documentary festival historically held in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year's best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation's government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 19th year, the festival will be held June 22-27, 2021. Visit and connect on  and 

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About the American Film Institute (AFI)
Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation's nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI's pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today's masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at and follow us on social media at and  

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