AFS Presents “Doc Days,” a 4-day Celebration of New Documentary Cinema, May 10-13

(Austin, TX – April 10, 2018) Alongside its full slate of May and June programs, Austin Film Society (AFS) announces its inaugural mini-festival, Doc Days, a long weekend of brand-new documentary films with visiting filmmakers from the US and abroad, taking place May 10 to 13. In addition to screening favorite new documentaries from the festival circuit, the weekend will include parties, discussions, and moderated Q&As by Austin’s documentary film community. Scheduled with no overlapping screenings, festival attendees can see every film back to back. The series was programmed by Austin Film Society program staff in conjunction with Programmer-at-Large, Todd Savage, who co-founded the program with AFS.

WHO: Austin Film Society
WHAT: AFS Presents “Doc Days,” a 4-day Celebration of New Documentary Cinema, May 10-13
WHERE: AFS Cinema | 6406 N Interstate 35 Suite 3100, Austin, TX 78752
CONTACT: Austin Film Society / Christine Lee, / Meghan Malone,

AFS Head of Film and Creative Media Holly Herrick states, “Austin has a thriving documentary filmmaking scene that grows each year. This festival not only celebrates and brings this talent together but is an opportunity for the visiting filmmakers to experience Austin’s filmmaking community.” Herrick continues, “The films selected are some of the best of nonfiction films that we’ve recently discovered on the festival circuit, and Austin audiences will have the opportunity to see them before they are theatrically released.”

The series kicks off on Thursday, May 10 with an opening reception prior to the screening of MINDING THE GAP, the Sundance award-winning debut feature from Bing Liu. Producer Diane Quon will be in attendance to introduce and Q&A the film, which, over the course of years, follows a group of skateboarders in the rustbelt and their transition to adulthood.

On Saturday, May 12, AFS welcomes filmmaker Rudy Valdez, whose film THE SENTENCE focuses on his personal family story about the extreme consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing. Valdez will be in attendance to introduce and Q&A his film, which received the Audience Award at Sundance in January.

Kate Novack, the director of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, will attend the festival on May 12 with her fabulously entertaining account of the life and times of André Leon Talley, Editor-at-Large of Vogue Magazine and fashion world maven. A southerner turned New Yorker, André made an inspiring journey from small town North Carolina to the runways of Paris and Milan, all the while honing his unique vision and style. The premiere screening will be followed by an after party.

Marfa-based filmmaker David Fenster returns to Austin for the premiere of his playfully experimental documentary, OPUNTIA, about the journeys of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, a sixteenth-century conquistador turned Shaman.  

Other selections include the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner OF FATHERS AND SONS, which features a Skype Q&A with Talal Derki; Everardo González’s Mexican drug violence documentary DEVIL’S FREEDOM, with Producer Roberto Garza in attendance; and RaMell Ross’s HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING, which premiered at Sundance.

Cocktails and drink specials inspired by Doc Days films will be served throughout the festival.

Passes are available to attend the entire program and individual tickets will be sold to each film. Member discounts apply to all screenings and passes. For more information, tickets and passes, visit

View full schedule.
Download high-res film stills and posters.

In conjunction with the Doc Days festival, AFS presents its first Documentary Intensive workshop. This three-day program pairs industry and creative mentors with Texas filmmakers for work-in-progress screenings, feedback sessions, individual meetings and work sessions. The invitational Doc Intensive is designed for Texas-based documentary directors or director/producer teams working on their first or second documentary feature.

Doc Days is just one series within the programming at the AFS CINEMA. The May and June line-up features a broad focus on below-the-radar filmmakers from around the world, alongside a number of American and European classics. “Bergman: The Darkness” is the first part of an ongoing 2018 series commemorating 100 years since Ingmar Bergman’s birth and celebrating the renowned auteur’s contributions to cinema. June ushers in the work of Brazilian iconoclast Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, classics of film noir, and Homo Arigato’s CONTRAST festival.


Opening Film: MINDING THE GAP, May 10
Directed by Bing Liu, Produced by Diane Quon. USA, 2018, DCP, 93 min.
Bing Liu and his friends, young men growing up in the rustbelt, have experienced poverty and violence in their families. Liu picks up a camera to ostensibly to make skate videos with his crew, but instead follows them as their lives transition into adulthood, making universal revelations about American life and masculinity today. Winner of a breakthrough director award at the Sundance Film Festival. Producer Diane Quon in attendance.

David Fenster, USA, 2017, DCP, 60 min.
Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca journeyed from Florida to Texas to Chihuahua in the sixteenth century, avoiding starvation through the discovery of the prickly pear fruit, and surviving disease due to his contact with various Native American groups who taught him the arts of shamanic healing. OPUNTIA director David Fenster uses a psychic medium to contact Cabeza de Vaca and tell his story which heralds the age of Spanish colonization of the Americas. Director David Fenster in attendance.

Everardo Gonzalez, Mexico, 2017, DCP, 74 min. In Spanish with English Subtitles.
Director Everardo González draws out the harrowing stories of victims and the perpetrators of drug violence in his home country of Mexico through the use of masks, which shield his subjects so they can speak openly and directly to the camera. Producer Roberto Garza in attendance.

Talal Derki, Germany, Syria, & Lebanon, 2017, DCP, 99 min. In Arabic with English Subtitles.
A stunning observation of childhood inside an Islamist Caliphate. Director Talal Derki (RETURN TO HOMS) embeds himself on the Iraqi-Syrian border to film the daily life a radical Islamist family. Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. The screening includes a Skype Q&A with Tala Derki.

Rudy Valdez, USA, 2018, DCP, 85 min.
Mexican-American filmmaker Rudy Valdez explores the hot-button political issue of mandatory minimum sentencing on the most intimate and personal plane possible: he picks up his camera when his beloved sister is served with a 15-year sentence. Valdez crafts an emotional saga about love, family, and the fight for justice. Director Rudy Valdez in attendance.

Kate Novack, USA, 2017, DCP, 94 min.
Before he became a staple on the global high fashion scene as the editor-at-large of Vogue Magazine, André Leon Talley was a working class African-American kid growing up in a segregated North Carolina town. Director Kate Novak takes a deep dive into André’s unique life story and his strongly held beliefs about art, style and identity. Director Kate Novak in attendance.

RaMell Ross, USA, 2018, DCP, 76 min.
An intimate, expressive story of two young African-American men in small-town Alabama in this first feature-length film from photographer RaMell Ross.

Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, the Austin Film Society’s mission is to empower our community to make, watch, and love creative media. AFS curates and screens hundreds of repertory, international, and art house films annually at the AFS Cinema; delivers financial support to Texas filmmakers through the AFS Grant; operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, and Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse media makers to train and collaborate. Through its award-winning after school classes, intern training, and the Ed Lowry Student Film program, AFS encourages media and film literacy and provides a place for youth of all backgrounds to learn the craft of filmmaking and gain access to tools for media production. By hosting premieres, special events, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. To learn more about the AFS Cinema or about Austin Film Society’s mission visit: and follow @AustinFilm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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