Indie Contenders Inform and Entertain at AFI FEST 2019


Posted by Larry Gleeson

The AFI FEST sponsored by Audi Summit Indie Contenders took place on Sunday, November 17, 2019, inside the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom. Presented by The Hollywood Reporter, moderated and created by columnist and blogger Scott Feinberg, the annual panel featured a 90+ minute discussion with major talent from the AFI FEST 2019 lineup and recent releases, including Awkwafina, Jon Hamm, Florence Pugh, and Alfre Woodard.

AFI FEST Director, Michael Lumpkin welcomed the room with brief introductory remarks. Feinberg prepped the audience for the program and warmly introduced each panelist. While the panel focused on its members, a powerful undercurrent pulsed with each film’s potent messaging. Feinberg provided a monetary definition of an indie production of 22.5 million dollars.

Actress Awkwafina, left, addresses the issues of being an American and working on films Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell, with Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg at the AFI Summit, November 17, 2019, at the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom in Hollywood, Calif.. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

Each panelist discussed issuers related to working on an independent film and their importance in the age of the massive budgeted “Hollywood blockbuster” studio projects based on comic book narratives steeped with heavy doses of computer-generated imaging. Not surprisingly, the talent present represented some of the year’s most thought-provoking films of the year.

The film’s and talent on this year’s panel were Alfre Woodard (Clemency), Jon Hamm (The Report), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Sterling K. Brown (Waves), Jimmie Fails (Last Black Man in San Francisco), Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Kerry Washington (American Son), and Florence Pugh (Fighting with Family, Midsommar).

AFI FEST 2019 sponsored by Audi continues through Thursday, November 21, 2019. See for the festival’s full schedule and ticketing.