AFI Announces 2020 AFI DOCS Film Festival Dates – American Film Institute


AFI Announces 2020 AFI DOCS Film Festival Dates

The 2020 edition of AFI DOCS is going virtual! AFI announced today that AFI DOCS will showcase current non-fiction fare in a re-imagined online film festival June 17–21.

“AFI is committed to the documentary art form in the best of times and in the most challenging of times,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Festivals. “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.”

AFI DOCS 2020 will open with the award-winning Apple and A24 film BOYS STATE, directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, on June 17, followed by a Q&A. The Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film follows a group of teenage boys at an annual civics program hosted by the American Legion in Austin, Texas, where attendees create a mock government and campaign for leadership and party platforms. Exploring politics through a coming-of-age lens, the result reveals American democracy and political division at its most hopeful and terrifying moments.

The festival is proud to also announce the return of AT&T as Presenting Sponsor for the seventh consecutive year – their continued support enables AFI DOCS to connect audiences, policymakers and storytellers across the nation.

The AFI DOCS 2020 program will be presented in the following sections: Special Presentations, Features, Cinema’s Legacy and Shorts, as well as a virtual AFI DOCS Forum. Apple TV+, A24, Audience Network, HBO, National Geographic, PBS and The Atlantic will all have films in the festival.

The festival will also include a Cinema’s Legacy program, featuring historically notable non-fiction films that have made an impact on the documentary art form. In one of the most challenging general election years in modern times, this year’s program will be dedicated to films documenting landmark moments in our nation’s political history.

AFI DOCS Shorts Program will feature more than 20 documentary shorts screening in four curated programs. Each shorts program will be available to screen from June 18 through June 21.

Passes to AFI DOCS will be available for purchase on June 1 and the full slate will be announced on June 10. More ticket information will be available soon!

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Comments (14)

Virginia Quesada

Thank you for creating a virtual festival!

Elaine Douglas-Harrison

I look forward, if it’s not too expensive!

Mary Speyer

Great news!

Jean Christensen

Thank you! Please send more details. 🙂

hermes lopez

any masterclass??

Douglas F Stone

Yes, I want a pass!


This virtual festival should be at no cost to all during this pandemic. Why doesn’t AT&T step up and cover the costs, the way Audi did for AFI Fest in years past?

AT&T, Apple TV, Nat Geo, A24 and HBO all have the means to make this happen. Asking the public to buy tickets to a virtual film festival, when many are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads is insensitive and elitist.

Dale D Dalenberg MD

A virtual festival will almost be better than the real thing. Sounds like a reason to go for even greater attendance, since nobody has to travel.

Chaz Miller


Andrea Anderson

Yay! It’s my favorite festival of the year. Glad we can still participate and see it virtually!

David Paulson

What is the price to watch the movies?

Theresa Daines

This sounds fabulous! I’m a documentary junkie so I’m glad I found out about this festival. Not sure what price range to expect, hope it’s nothing crazy!!!

Eric Brenner

Excellent. Thanks for doing this! While hardly ideal, this dodges the biggest weakness of the festival (since it dropped the SilverDOCs name): the split locations of the showings. You might even increase attendance #’s this year; something to build on for 2021.


Doesn’t matter what it costs. Bottom line we can still watch documentary films. I can only hope things can get back to normal by 2021.

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