AFI Announces KING RICHARD as Closing Night Film for FEST 2021 – American Film Institute

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AFI Announces KING RICHARD as Closing Night Film for FEST 2021

The Closing Night film for AFI FEST 2021 has been officially crowned! We’re thrilled to announce that the 35th edition of AFI’s annual film festival celebrating the best in world cinema will close with Warner Bros. Pictures’ KING RICHARD, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green with cinematography by Robert Elswit (AFI Class of 1977), written by Zach Baylin and starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith. Based on a true story that will inspire the world, the film follows Richard Williams, an undeterred father who, with the support of his family, is instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, Venus and Serena Williams. The Closing Night screening will take place on Sunday, November 14 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

“AFI’s mission includes inspiring audiences, and KING RICHARD sets the bar for this year,” said Sarah Harris, Director of Programming at AFI Festivals. “Movies often deliver when we need them most, and now is the perfect time for this film to remind young people that nothing is out of reach, and that with perseverance and determination they can influence future generations.”

This year’s hybrid festival will feature both in-person screenings and events, as well as virtual screenings, showcasing transformative stories from groundbreaking artists. As previously announced, the World Premiere of tick, tick…BOOM! directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda will open the festival on Nov. 10.

With health and safety being top priority, AFI FEST 2021 film festival will require all festival-goers who attend in-person events and/or screenings to be fully vaccinated. Tickets and passes to AFI FEST 2021 will be available soon on FEST.AFI.com. AFI Members receive exclusive discounts and benefits to the festival. To become an AFI member, visit AFI.com/join/.

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About KING RICHARD

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts—rain or shine—the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, KING RICHARD follows the journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately deliver two of the world’s greatest sports legends.

Aunjanue Ellis plays the girls’ mom, Oracene “Brandy” Williams. Saniyya Sidney stars as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton stars as Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn as coach Paul Cohen and Jon Bernthal as coach Rick Macci. The ensemble also includes Andy Bean, Kevin Dunn and Craig Tate.

Isha Price, Serena Willims, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris, Allan Mandelbaum, Jon Mone and Peter Dodd served as the executive producers. The film is a Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation, A Star Thrower Entertainment Production, A Westbrook Production and A Keepin’ It Reel Production.

Learn more about AFI FEST 2021 here.

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