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Will Smith’s ‘King Richard’ to Close AFI Film Festival; ‘Parallel Mothers’ Added to Premieres

King Richard
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

UPDATED: Will Smith starrer “King Richard” will close the AFI Fest on Nov. 14 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

The festival announced on Oct. 13 that Pedro Almodovar’s “Parallel Mothers” has joined the list of red carpet premieres that also includes “Bruised” and “Swan Song.”

In addition, David Fincher’s surprise Netflix series “Voir,” a collection of visual essays on cinema, will premiere at the festival.

The 35th edition of AFI Fest takes place from Nov. 10 to Nov. 14 in a hybrid format, with the world premiere of Netflix’s “tick, tick…BOOM!” opening the festival. The musical marks Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directing debut and stars Andrew Garfield and Alexandra Shipp.

Among the 48 features and 115 total titles showing at the festival: “Cow,” “Paris, 13th District,” “Red Rocket,” “Petite Maman,” “Memoria,” “Happening” and “The Worst Person in the World.”

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, “King Richard” follows Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, and his life raising the champion athletes. AFI graduate Robert Elswit is cinematographer on the Warner Bros. film.

After premiering at the Telluride Film Festival, “King Richard” quickly entered the awards conversation, particularly for Smith.

“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.”

Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton co-star with Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal, and the film is written by Zach Baylin and produced by Tim White and Trevor White’s Star Thrower Entertainment and Smith’s own banner, Westbrook.

“King Richard” opens in theaters and on HBO Max on Nov. 19.

Julie Andrews will receive the AFI Life Achievement honor at a gala event on Nov. 11 at the Dolby Theater. All festivalgoers for in-person events and screenings must be fully vaccinated.