Meet the AFI FEST 2021 Indie Contenders Roundtable – American Film Institute


Meet the AFI FEST 2021 Indie Contenders Roundtable


This year’s Indie Contenders Roundtable for the AFI FEST film festival will feature Caitriona Balfe (BELFAST), Nicolas Cage (PIG), Colman Domingo (ZOLA), Ann Dowd (MASS), Dakota Johnson (THE LOST DAUGHTER) and Simon Rex (RED ROCKET). The popular annual event highlights acclaimed actors from some of this year’s most outstanding independent films and is an unfiltered conversation about the challenges and rewards of indie filmmaking.

The free event will take place on Nov. 13 at 1:00 p.m. on AFI FEST’s virtual platform. Festival-goers from around the country can reserve their virtual ticket to the event starting on Oct. 20 on The panel will be presented by The Hollywood Reporter and hosted by columnist Scott Feinberg.

Earlier this week, the full lineup for AFI FST 2021 – 115 titles from 50 countries – was announced and can be viewed here.

Passes and tickets for in-person and virtual screenings are now available at With health and safety being top priority, AFI FEST 2021 will require all festival-goers who attend in-person events and/or screenings to be fully vaccinated. AFI members receive exclusive discounts and benefits to the film festival. To become an AFI member, visit




Irish-born actress Caitriona Balfe is a BAFTA award winner, four-time Golden Globe nominee, 2017 Oscar Wilde Award recipient and two-time People’s Choice Award winner. She has cultivated a voracious fan-following from her powerful and compelling performance as Claire Fraser in Starz’s prolific drama series OUTLANDER, for which she also serves as a producer. Balfe stars opposite Jamie Dornan in writer/director Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film BELFAST for Focus Features. Balfe other credits include starring as the female lead opposite Matt Damon and Christian Bale in 20th Century Fox’s Oscar-nominated film FORD V FERRARI, voicing the role of ‘Tavra’ in Netflix’s THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE, ESCAPE PLAN, NOW YOU SEE ME, SUPER 8 and the limited digital series H+.

Academy Award®-winner Nicolas Cage is an actor, director and producer whose versatility has led to acclaim across all genres for over three decades. Cage’s recent work includes his award-winning, groundbreaking performance in the horror/thriller MANDY, the critically acclaimed COLOR OUT OF SPACE and the voice of Spider Noir in the Academy Award®-winning Best Animated Feature SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE. During his early career, Cage starred in a variety of classic films including VALLEY GIRL, RACING WITH THE MOON, BIRDY, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED, RAISING ARIZONA, MOONSTRUCK, VAMPIRE’S KISS, and RED ROCK WEST. Cage received an Academy Award® for his performance as a suicidal alcoholic in LEAVING LAS VEGAS before coming to the attention of worldwide audiences with box office blockbustes such as THE ROCK, CON AIR and NATIONAL TREASURE 1 and 2. He earned his second Academy Award® nomination for his performance as Charlie and Donald Kaufman in ADAPTATION.

Colman Domingo is a Tony®, Independent Spirit, Lawrence Olivier, Drama Desk, Drama League, NAACP Image and Black Reel Award nominated, HCA TV, Imagen, OBIE and Lucille Lortel Award-winning actor, playwright and director. Earlier this year, Domingo was seen in A24’s ZOLA with Taylour Paige and Riley Keough, followed by THE GOD COMMITTEE opposite Julia Stiles and Kelsey Grammar and Universal’s remake of CANDYMAN opposite Yahya Abdul Mateen II. Additional credits include FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, EUPHORIA, THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2020), IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, SELMA and LINCOLN, among others. Domingo is currently in production for Higher Ground’s RUSTIN in which he will be playing the titular character, influential civil rights and gay rights activist Bayard Rustin.

Ann Dowd, a veteran stage and screen actress, was the recipient of the 2017 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Aunt Lydia on Hulu’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE. Dowd also received a 2017 Emmy® nomination for her portrayal of Patty Levin on the HBO series THE LEFTOVERS, a role she portrayed for three seasons. For her work on the big screen, Dowd was the recipient of a Best Supporting Actress award from the National Board of Review for her performance in Craig Zobel’s psychological thriller COMPLIANCE. She was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Critics’ Choice Award for the role. Additional film roles include HEREDITARY, AMERICAN ANIMALS, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, ST. VINCENT, MARLEY & ME, GARDEN STATE, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS and PHILADELPHIA. Her notable TV roles include the award-winning Foxtel series LAMBS OF GOD, OLIVE KITTERIDGE, recurring roles on GOOD BEHAVIOR, MASTERS OF SEX, QUARRY, NOTHING SACRED, JUDGING AMY, THIRD WATCH, FREAKS AND GEEKS, and appearances on AT HOME WITH AMY SEDARIS, TRUE DETECTIVE, LOUIE, GIRLS, HOUSE, CHICAGO HOPE, THE X-FILES, and NYPD BLUE. Dowd can currently be seen in the feature film MASS, written and directed by Fran Kranz.

Dakota Johnson is a BAFTA nominated and award-winning actress and producer. After her performance in David Fincher’s critically acclaimed THE SOCIAL NETWORK written by Aaron Sorkin, Johnson went on to appear in the feature comedies THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT and 21 JUMP STREET. She then starred as Anastasia Steele in Universal’s billion-dollar franchise FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, FIFTY SHADES DARKER and FIFTY SHADES FREED. Johnson will next be seen starring in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s THE LOST DAUGHTER alongside Olivia Coleman and Paul Mescal. Johnson recently wrapped productionon Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro’s film AM I OKAY, in which she stars and produces; and Carrie Cracknell’s Netflix drama PERSUASION, based on the novel by Jane Austen, starring opposite Henry Golding.

Simon Rex stars in Sean Baker’s RED ROCKET for A24. The film follows Mikey Saber (Rex), a unique American hustler, who returns to a hometown that barely tolerates him. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to a rapturous response, followed by the Telluride Film Festival and the Deauville American Film Festival, where it was recognized with the Jury Prize and the Critics Prize. Rex was first introduced to television audiences as an MTV VJ. Soon after, Rex expanded his repertoire and proceeded to book series regular roles on major network shows such as FELICITY, JACK AND JILL and WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU. From television into film, his additional credits include SCARY MOVIE 3, 4 and 5; HOTEL CALIFORNIA; and KING OF THE AVENUE. Rex will also be seen in Fabio Frey’s MY DEAD DAD and Katie Aselton’s MACK & RITA opposite Diane Keaton and Taylour Paige.

Learn more at

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts