Doc Days 2021

AFS presents Doc Days, our annual festival of non-fiction cinema, featuring outstanding new documentary work from around the world with filmmakers in attendance. Doc Days is an opportunity for Austin’s vibrant documentary community, including filmmakers and audiences, to come together, see new work, and meet with visiting filmmakers.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Tickets for our opening night show of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND on October 14 are SOLD OUT. Any series passes purchased on or after October 11 will include a ticket to the Wednesday, October 20 encore screening of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, which will feature the pre-recorded Q&A with Todd Haynes and Richard Linklater.

Purchase an AFS Doc Days pass for tickets to all eight Doc Days screenings, taking place Thursday, October 14 – Sunday, October 17th, and receive 15% off the full ticket purchase price.

AFS Members receive additional discounts on passes and individual tickets. The Doc Days pass includes 1 ticket to each premiere Doc Days film screening.

Note that the pass cannot be used towards the purchase of tickets to encore screenings of the Doc Days programs.


Thursday, October 14, 7:00 PM

Featuring a live virtual Q&A with Todd Haynes after the screening, moderated by Richard Linklater.

Austin Film Society is proud to present a Doc Days Opening Night presentation of Todd Haynes THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: a look at the cultural, social, musical, artistic and cinematic forces that created one of the world’s most enduring bands, directed by one of our most singular American filmmakers.


Friday, October 15, 6:30 PM

Featuring a virtual Q&A with director Bernadette Weigenstein.

In 2008, Maestra Marin Alsop became the first woman in history to lead a major orchestra. Her inspiring journey from child violinist to sought-after conductor–passionate about opening the door behind her for other underrepresented voices in classical music– is chronicled in this beautiful film. CONDUCTOR captures Alstrop’s incredible musical powers through great orchestral performances, and offers great insight into the dedication, artistic drive, mentorship and altruism that guided her through extreme adversity and persistent sexism in her field.


Friday, October 15, 9:00 PM

Featuring an in-person introduction and Q&A with Filmmaker Carlos Corral.

DIRTY FEATHERS is a lyrical journey in black and white through the long days of several members of an unhoused community in El Paso, specifically those who have been banned from a city shelter that is often a last resort for the homeless. Filming inside and outside El Paso’s Opportunity Center shelter, the film captures the realities and the dreams alike of the unique individuals who’ve adapted to an unrelentingly difficult life on the streets. Corral takes a spiritual and humanistic approach to the verité tradition in this notable poetic feature, his first. An AFS-Grant supported project, DIRTY FEATHERS premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival.


Saturday, October 16, 2 PM

The women reporters of India’s Khabar Lahariya newspaper are a formidable group. Cooperatively running India’s only all-female news service, the women are all of Dalit (“Untouchable”) caste, or India’s lowest class. Many of them balance caring for young children in homes without electricity while traveling the country to shed light on some of India’s most pressing human rights issues. WRITING WITH FIRE tells the extraordinary story of the Khabar Lahariya paper, the women who run it, and the impact their powerful truth-telling has in the midst of the rise of radical right wing politics and persistent patriarchy and class injustice. Winner of Audience and Jury prizes at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.


Saturday, October 16, 4:15 PM

The Cuban National Ballet School in Havana is where Cuba’s most talented young dancers prepare for and dream of a life on the professional stage. Alexis Martinez, 15, is a student who lives to dance, and dances to live; his supportive family shares his passion and supports his ambitions to rise to company status. When political forces begin to shape the family’s future, Alexis faces the possibility of immigration during a critical moment in his training.
Featuring stunning dance sequences choreographed for the film by the characters, CUBAN DANCER embraces the narrative and expressive possibilities of dance on camera; and is an enduring portrait of the challenges of immigration for a family determined to follow their dreams.


Saturday, October 16, 7 PM

Featuring a virtual Q&A with Jonas Poher Rasmussen.

When we hear tales of migration or refugee flight, we often experience these narratives as starting and ending with the journey itself, the aftermath a sort of epilogue. The brilliant and beautiful new animated documentary FLEE, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, takes an entirely different approach, revealing how the experience of being a refugee can shape one’s identity. In a film told almost entirely through animation, director Jonas Poher Rasmussen interviews middle school friend Amin Nawabi, an Afghan refugee, who recounts–for the first time–the full story of his escape from Afghanistan and eventual resettling in Denmark as a young teenager. This displacement from his home, and the discoveries he made about himself and his family over the course of a years-long journey, changed the young man’s life forever. AFS is proud to present FLEE as the Centerpiece Film selection of the 2021 Doc Days.

Science on Screen: FATHOM

Sunday, October 17, 1 PM

A Science On Screen presentation, featuring an in-person appearance by director Drew Xanthopoulos and a special virtual Q&A with Dr. Michelle Fournet.

Humpback whales are among the most majestic and yet mysterious of earth’s creatures. Time is of the essence for us to study and understand who these incredible mammals are, and what they are capable of. From AFS-Grant supported filmmaker Drew Xanthopoulos comes the story of two scientists on opposite sides of the globe who take us on a fascinating journey into their studies of humpback whale songs and social communication.


Sunday, October 17, 4:15 PM

Featuring a voice-only Q&A after the screening.

An urgent, visceral experience of the Hong Kong conflict, INSIDE THE RED BRICK WALL was filmed by an anonymous group of demonstrators who documented the two-week occupation of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in November, 2019 and the terrifying stand-off between demonstrators and the police.


Sunday, October 17, 7:30 PM

THE RESCUE tells the riveting story of the against-all-odds rescue of the Wild Boars, the rural Thai boys soccer team who became trapped in a cave in 2018. Directed by Academy Award Winners Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (FREE SOLO), the film garnered raves at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals and is sure to be one of the most talked about documentaries of the season.

Thanks to our Doc Days partners