‘King Richard’ to screen at AFI Fest

The making of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams will hit the big screen this fall in a new film. Based on the book penned by Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena, “KING RICHARD” is a look at the journey of the Williams sisters’ rise in the world of tennis.

And what better way to get a glimpse of the movie than at one of the revered premiere film festivals around.

The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that AFI FEST 2021 will close this year’s film festival with Warner Bros. Pictures’ KING RICHARD, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green with cinematography by Robert Elswit (AFI Class of 1977) and starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith.

Written by Zach Baylin and produced by Tim White and Trevor White’s Star Thrower Entertainment and Smith’s own banner, Westbrook, the film follows Richard Williams, an undeterred father who, with the support of his family, is instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, Venus and Serena Williams.

The Closing Night screening will take place on Sunday, November 14 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

(L-r) WILL SMITH as Richard Williams, DEMI SINGLETON as Serena Williams and SANIYYA SIDNEY as Venus Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama KING RICHARD, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

“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.”


Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history.

Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts—rain or shine—the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them.

Based on the true story that will inspire the world, KING RICHARD follows the journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately deliver two of the world’s greatest sports legends.

Aunjanue Ellis plays the girls’ mom, Oracene “Brandy” Williams. Saniyya Sidney stars as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton stars as Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn as coach Paul Cohen and Jon Bernthal as coach Rick Macci. The ensemble also includes Andy Bean, Kevin Dunn and Craig Tate.

Featured Image Caption:

(L-r) AUNJANUE ELLIS as Oracene “Brandy” Williams, MIKAYLA BARTHOLOMEW as Tunde Price, WILL SMITH as Richard Williams, SANIYYA SIDNEY as Venus Williams, DEMI SINGLETON as Serena Williams and DANIELE LAWSON as Isha Price in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama KING RICHARD, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Chiabella James