AFI Docs Film Festival Is Going Virtual — Here's What We Know

The American Film Institute is the latest organization to take their film festival online.

Their annual event, AFI Docs, will take be streamable from June 17 to 21 at docs.afi.com instead of in Washington, D.C., due to the coronavirus pandemic.

movie theater seats
A picture taken on January 19, 2011 in Paris, shows a screening room at the Cinemas St Andre des Arts movie theater. This year, the AFI Docs festival will take place online. LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty

Opening night will showcase Boys State, a project from Jesse Moss (Dirty Money and The Overnighters) and Amanda McBaine (The Bandit) which recently won Sundance's Grand Jury prize. IMDb's synopsis of the film reads that it follows "a thousand 17-year-old boys from Texas join together to build a representative government from the ground up." The virtual screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and subjects.

Passes will be available for purchase on June 1. The full lineup for the festival will be announced on June 10.

The virtual event will be broken up into several sections —special presentations (screenings which will be followed by conversations and Q&As), features, cinema's legacy (focused on historically significant documentaries about important moments in America's political history), along with short films (which will feature over 20 films) and a virtual AFI Docs Forum.

Apple TV+, A24, Audience Network, HBO, National Geographic, PBS and The Atlantic will have films in AFI Docs this year, according to the organization's website.

"AFI is committed to the documentary art form in the best of times and in the most challenging of times," Michael Lumpkin, the director of AFI Festivals, said in a statement on May 5. "Now more than ever, we are dedicated to supporting extraordinary films because the world needs stories that educate, inspire hope and remind us of humanity's strength. AFI Docs is here to help."

The Washington Post lauded AFI Docs as "the nation's leading documentary film festival."