Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick, tick… BOOM! to open AFI Fest 2021

AFI Fest
(Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp)

Reel 360’s favorite festival, AFI FEST 2021 has officially announced that the 35th edition of the festival will take place November 10–14, 2021. The festival will open with the World Premiere of Netflix’s tick, tick…BOOM!

Directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda in his feature directorial debut, the film is based on the autobiographical musical by Rent playwright Jonathan Larson and stars Academy Award nominee and Tony Award winner Andrew Garfield.

The film follows a young theater composer (Garfield) who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. Days before he’s due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere: from his girlfriend Susan, who dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael, who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security; amidst an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. With the clock ticking, Jon is at a crossroads and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have?

Besides Garfield, tick… tick… Boom also stars Alexandra Shipp, Tony Award nominee Robin de Jesús, Tony Award® nominee Joshua Henry, Emmy Award nominee Mj Rodriguez, Emmy Award winner Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought of The Roots, with Emmy and Tony Award winner Judith Light and Vanessa Hudgens.

The film is written by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, and produced by Academy Award and Emmy winners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard for Imagine Entertainment, Julie Oh, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.  The Opening Night screening will take place at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

(L-R: Andrew Garfield, Director Lin-Manuel Miranda and Director of Photography Alice Brooks on location in NYC on March 3, 2020 in TICK, TICK…BOOM! Photo Credit: Macall Polay/NETFLIX ©2021)

REELated: Ten Latino directors will receive $20,000 grants from LALIFF and Netflix

“AFI FEST 2021 will captivate our community of film lovers, starting with our opening night film, tick,  tick…BOOM!,” said Sarah Harris, Director of Programming at AFI Festivals. “We’re thrilled to elevate the best in global cinema to audiences safely in theaters in Los Angeles and across the nation virtually, celebrating the beauty and power of film.”

The film will be in select theaters on November 12, 2021 and on Netflix November 19, 2021.

A Tribute to Julie Andrews

The 48th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Julie Andrews will take place on Thursday, November 11, 2021, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.

This year’s hybrid festival will feature both in-person screenings and events in Los Angeles, CA, as well as virtual screenings, showcasing transformative stories from groundbreaking artists, and a gala event celebrating AFI Life Achievement Honoree Julie Andrews.

With health and safety being top priority, AFI FEST 2021 will require all festival-goers who attend in-person events and/or screenings to be fully vaccinated.

“AFI FEST will remind the world the power of this art form to lift our spirits at a time we need it most,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “Opening with the imperative voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda and celebrating the joy that Julie Andrews has provided generations will set our sights on a brighter day – just like in the movies.”

Tickets and passes to AFI FEST 2021 will be available soon on