Austin Film Society Announces its Fifth Annual Doc Days Festival from May 1–5 at AFS Cinema, Spotlighting the Freshest Voices in Non-Fiction Filmmaking

The 2024 Lineup Includes Critically Acclaimed New Films by Chris Smith and Lana Wilson, alongside recent Sundance Winners

April 2, AUSTIN, TX—
The Austin Film Society announces the lineup for its fifth annual Doc Days film festival, including 10 new non-fiction films, many of which will feature appearances by the filmmakers. The festival will take place at AFS Cinema from May 1–5, and individual tickets will be on sale as well as full-festival passes. The 2024 Doc Days festival will kick off with a reception on May 1 at 7 p.m. directly preceding this year’s opening-night film, Union, about the effort of a group of Amazon workers to start a labor union.

This year’s lineup includes the latest films by documentary veterans including Chris Smith (dir. American Movie), Lana Wilson (dir. Miss Americana, Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields) and AFS-supported artist Kyle Henry (dir. Fourplay) alongside a number of new names in filmmaking. Sundance award winners Sugarcane, Union and A New Kind of Wilderness will have their Austin premieres at the festival. Nicole Chi Amén’s AFS Grant-supported documentary feature, Guián, will also have its Texas premiere at this year’s AFS Doc Days.

A complete list of film screenings and descriptions can be found below and on the AFS website here or by visiting

AFS’s Doc Days festival is an opportunity for Austin’s filmmaking and film-loving community to celebrate and discuss the art of non-fiction filmmaking with up-and-coming and established documentarians. Several of the films presented during previous Doc Days festivals went on to be nominated for Academy Awards® including Of Fathers and Sons (2017), Minding the Gap (2018), Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018), American Factory (2019), Flee (2021) and The Eternal Memory (2023). 2024 will mark the fifth edition of the annual festival of non-fiction cinema in Austin.

The opening-night film of this year’s Doc Days program will be Union by filmmakers Stephen Maing (dir. Crime + Punishment) and Brett Story (dir. The Hottest August), featuring an in-person Q&A with labor organizers Chris Smalls and Angelika Maldonado and the film’s producer and director of photography, Martin Dicicco. This screening is a partnership with Good Work Austin.

The centerpiece screening will be Chris Smith’s Devo on Saturday, May 4.

The closing-night film for this year’s Doc Days will be Sugarcane, the directorial debut of Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie, the latter of whom will attend the screening in person.

The Doc Days film festival happens in conjunction with the AFS Doc Intensive, one of two invitational mentorship opportunities offered annually by AFS’s Artist Development program. AFS launched the Doc Intensive in 2018 as a multi-day, invitational workshop series for early to mid-career Texas documentary feature filmmakers poised for career leaps. The program is designed to run concurrently with the festival to promote networking and community building among Intensive participants and the professionals participating in Doc Days. The Doc Intensive includes a variety of panels and mentorship meetings with established documentary filmmakers, works-in-progress screenings with group feedback sessions and community-building social engagements, all of which are instrumental in providing filmmakers with creative feedback, resources and momentum for their projects.

The full Doc Days lineup continues below, and a complete list of all film screenings is announced here and on our website at ​​ Individual ticket prices range from $11 to $13.50, and full-festival passes are available to the general public for $115 for all 10 films. Additional discounts on tickets and full-festival passes are also available for AFS members.


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Stephen Maing and Brett Story, USA, 2023, 102 min. 

The Amazon Labor Union (ALU)—a group of current and former Amazon workers in New York City’s Staten Island—takes on one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies in the fight to unionize.


Look Into My Eyes

Lana Wilson, USA, 2024, DCP, 105 min. 

A group of New York City psychics conduct deeply intimate readings for their clients, revealing a kaleidoscope of loneliness, connection, and healing.


A New Kind Of Wilderness

Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, Norway, 2024, DCP, 84 min. In English and Norwegian with English subtitles.

On a small farm in the Norwegian forest, the Payne family seeks a wild and free existence. They practice home-schooling and strive for a closely-knit family dynamic in harmony with nature. However, when tragedy unexpectedly strikes the family, it upends their idyllic world and forces them to forge a new path into modern society. In A NEW KIND OF WILDERNESS, filmmaker Silje Evensmo Jacobsen captures an intimate and soulful portrait of love, life, and growing up. The Paynes’ journey, their triumphs and struggles, invite reflection on our own life choices, our responsibility to the planet and our children, and how we navigate life after loss.

Seeking Mavis Beacon

Jazmin Renée Jones, USA, 2024, DCP, 102 min.

The most recognizable woman in technology lives in our collective imagination. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing taught millions globally, but the software’s Haitian-born cover model vanished decades ago. Two DIY detectives search for the model while posing questions about identity and artificial intelligence.


Time Passages

Kyle Henry, USA, 2024, DCP, 86 min. 

A filmmaker “time travels” via his family archive as his mother’s health declines from dementia, racing against the clock to resolve his fraught relationship to family and nation when COVID strikes her nursing home.

Film To Be Announced



Chris Smith, UK/USA, 2024, DCP, 93 min. 

Explore Devo’s 50-year career through never-before-seen archival and interviews with co-founders Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Jerry Casale. Born in response to the Kent State massacre, Devo took their concept of “de-evolution” from a cult following to near-rock star status with their groundbreaking 1980 hit “Whip It,” all while preaching an urgent social commentary.



Nicole Chi Amén, Costa Rica, 2023, DCP, 75 min. In Spanish, Chinese regional dialects, and Mandarin with English subtitles. 

After Grandma Guián passes away, Nicole decides to go to China to look for the house Guián left when she emigrated to Costa Rica. This is a journey to answer the questions she was never able to ask because they never shared the same language.

Thank You Very Much

Alex Braverman, USA, 2023, DCP, 99 min. 

With his gonzo, boundary-shattering comedy, Andy Kaufman provoked, and often outraged, audiences. For those who got the joke, that outrage was the very point; Kaufman’s genius was in making people confront their own presumptions. Now — through never-before-seen archival footage and intimate recollections of friends, colleagues, and family members — filmmaker Alex Braverman excavates the all-too-short life and career of the enigmatic legend whose impact is felt all the more today with the blurring of artifice and reality that defines our present age.


Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie, USA/Canada, 2024, DCP, 107 min. In English and Secwepemctsín with English subtitles. 

An investigation into abuse and missing children at an Indian residential school ignites a reckoning on the nearby Sugarcane Reserve.

About Austin Film Society
Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS is committed to racial equity and inclusion, with an objective to deliver programs that actively dismantle the structural racism, sexism and other bias in the screen industries. AFS supports filmmakers from all backgrounds towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, 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. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. More at

Will Stefanski