Category Archives: American Film Institute

AFI FEST Interview: JUST MERCY Director/Co-Writer Destin Daniel Cretton

Posted by Larry Gleeson

JUST MERCY plays as a Special Screening at AFI FEST sponsored by Audi on Saturday, November 16 at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood.

Writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton is an indie darling with credits, including the award-winning drama SHORT TERM 12 and THE GLASS CASTLE — an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ 2005 bestselling memoir. This spring Marvel came calling, enlisting Cretton to helm SHANG-CHI, the first Asian-led superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

And this fall, he’ll release his third film, JUST MERCY, a powerful, true story about acclaimed civil rights defense attorney, Bryan Stevenson, as he recounts his experiences and details the case of Walter McMillian, a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free. The film stars Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan and follows the release of the documentary, TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, which had its world premiere at AFI DOCS in June.

We spoke with Cretton about collaborating with Bryan Stevenson, assembling an A-list cast for the film and the story’s relevance in light of today’s political climate.

AFI: What initially drew you to make JUST MERCY and to tell Bryan Stevenson and Walter McMillian’s story? 

DDC: I read Bryan’s book, “Just Mercy,” and it honestly floored me. I felt like my heart was torn to shreds and put back together. One would think reading a book about the unfairness of our criminal justice system would leave you feeling defeated and cynical about the state of our world. But Bryan believes that hopelessness is the enemy of justice and that hope allows you to work toward the things that you cannot see. As soon as I finished his book, I had no idea how, but I knew I wanted to find any way to help him tell this story.

AFI: How closely did you work with Bryan before and during filming?

DDC: Andrew Lanham and I worked very closely with Bryan throughout the entire screenwriting process. Before we put any words to the page, we visited Bryan in Montgomery to see the work he does first-hand, alongside his staff at the Equal Justice Initiative. Bryan was an extraordinary collaborator on this project, guiding us throughout to make sure we got it right, while allowing the space for the writing process to organically come together. He was also an invaluable source for all of our department heads during production to make sure the sets, costumes and props all reflected the work they were doing at the time.

AFI: How did Bryan react to seeing the final version of the film?

DDC: I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I left Bryan in a theater at the Warner Brothers lot to watch the film. It was the most stressful two hours of my life. When he came into our editing suite after seeing the movie, he smiled, gave me a hug and said thank you for taking care of his story and the people he cares so much about. I almost fainted out of pure relief.

AFI: What do you think makes this story so topical right now? 

DDC: It was interesting to hear some of the hateful rhetoric coming from politicians or the media while we were shooting this movie. It was very clear that in many ways, we haven’t come very far since 1989. For every nine people executed in this country, one person has been found innocent and released from death row. That’s a pretty staggering rate of error that exists right now.

Director/Co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton

AFI: You have Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson and many other amazing actors and actresses in this film. What was it like collaborating with all of these talented people? 

DDC: Honestly, it often feels like I have a front row seat to the best live performance in town. It’s a dream to work with actors of this caliber, who are all telling this story because they believe in it with everything in them. It was a really special thing to witness.

AFI: You screened your short film SHORT TERM 12 at AFI FEST in 2009. How does it feel to be back at the festival with JUST MERCY as a Special Screening?

DDC: True story…my short film, SHORT TERM 12, played at AFI FEST, where it was seen by a producer, Asher Goldstein, who wrote me an email saying how much he liked the short and asked about any feature ideas. Asher ended up producing the feature of SHORT TERM 12, and also produced JUST MERCY. So, if it wasn’t for AFI FEST, I might never have met Asher or done another movie for the rest of my life.

AFI: What would you like audience members at AFI FEST to take away from JUST MERCY?

DDC: In Bryan’s book, his grandmother tells him that you can’t understand the most important things from a distance. You have to get close. I hope this movie allows an audience to get a little closer to the people who are affected by a very real problem in this country. I also hope the audience feels closer to the very real hope and solution to that problem through the life and work of Bryan Stevenson.

AFI: You were a thesis mentor at the AFI Conservatory. What was that experience like for you?

DDC: I always find it so inspiring to be around film students, to be reminded of the pure joy of this medium. There really is no other experience quite like it.

Tickets to all films in the AFI FEST program lineup are available here.

JUST MERCY opens in a limited release on December 25. Watch the trailer below:

(Sourced from AFI.com)

 

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AFI and Audi debut “Changing the Chairs” #AFIFEST2019

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI and Audi continue to champion female directors in films and television through the campaign “Changing the Chairs.”

51% of the films at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi are directed by women.

Making its debut at this year’s AFI FEST presented by Audi, “Changing the Chairs” will celebrate, embrace and recognize the change happening now within the industry – more women directing big budget films, more women in leadership positions and more opportunities for women to share their perspective.

To share the #ChangingTheChairs campaign with all audiences during the festival, AFI and Audi are lifting up female directors and sharing their responses to a very important question: “What changes when a woman sits in the director’s chair?” From increasing underrepresented voices to creating more complex storytelling, the answers show the transformative effects of having a woman in the director’s chair.

“Having a woman sit in the director’s chair will inspire generations of little girls to conquer that chair one day too. Having many WOMEN taking these seats, will guarantee equality and diversity in storytelling perspectives and representation.” – Oran Zegman, Director (MARRIAGE MATERIAL, THE MUSICAL!)

“Everything. Everything changes when a woman sits in a director’s chair.  A female director provides female characters with depth and a refreshing and accurate depiction of how life is lived. Women need to be in the director’s chair because we’re in a time where women need to be heard, represented and defended. – Isabella Issa, Director (YELLOW GIRL AND ME)

 

Changing Chairs
“Changing the Chairs” art exhibit inside the Roosevelt Hotel Lobby at the 2019 AFI FEST sponsored by Audi. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

51% of the films at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi are directed by women.

 

In 2018, 4.5% of the 100 top-grossing films were directed by women.

In 2019, upwards to 14% of the 100 top-grossing films this year will be directed by women.

 

Sponsor Audi

(Sourced from AFI.com)

 

Eva Longoria and the Erasure of LatinX

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Actor/Director/Producer/Activist (ad infinitem), Mexican-American, businesswoman Eva Longoria, took the stage with Dr. Stacy Smith, an Associate Professor of Communication, Annenberg School at the University at Southern California, at the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom, Friday, November 15th, for The Erasure of LatinX in Film, as part of this year’s AFI SUMMIT, for an insightful and informative talk on the culturally relevant issue of film’s role in shaping LatinX stereotypes. AFI FEST 2019, sponsored by Audi, is in its 33rd year.

Due to moving pictures allowing for the suspension of disbelief, most viewers come to believe the images on the screen are real-life representations. Dr. Smith, an empirical data specialist on the current trends and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the Hollywood film industry, argued the representation of the LatinX community has fallen by 4.5% from last year. Longoria added these LatinX representations are mostly sinister characters and are defining LatinX, in conjunction with conservative political rhetoric, to rural and suburban Americans.

This is not a good representation especially if one believes in the dynamics of a free market and the effects of the invisible hand. According to Longoria, as LatinX resists assimilating into society and remains typecast as criminals in film, a shift in policy is needed to allow for Hispanics to participate in the American Dream. These are not issues for most laypeople. For Longoria, however, they are career-defining. With a life and career as diverse as any in the lore of Hollywood, Longoria has focused her laser-like acumen into providing a voice for the Mexican-American community with a powerful and dynamic undertaking, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, based out of Mountain View, Calif. Already deluged with LatinX works featuring authentic writers, directors, and producers, Longoria envisions a production house showcasing LatinX films centered around family and love.

Steeped in activism and cured with exposure, Longoria, claiming to have an insight into LatinX (no argument here), is driven to succeed. According to IMDb, Longoria possesses 55 actress credits, 22 producer credits, and 12 director credits. Currently, helming and developing two conceptual projects, The Flaming Cheeto, a Horatio-Algereques take on the development of the product bearing the same name and a bigger budgeted, comedy, feature film, 24-7. Greenlighted by Universal Pictures, 24-7, starring Longoria and cohort, Kerry Washington, and written by Sarah Rothschild, tells a tale of a group of accountants banding together against their firm’s male colleagues to solve a fraud case that will save their jobs

One thing I know for sure, it’s an exciting time to be involved in film with talent like Eva Longoria in the room! AFI FEST 2019, sponsored by Audi, continues through November 21st. Stay tuned for the upcoming Indie Contenders Panel and the Documentary Filmmaker Roundtable. Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!

 

AFI FEST 2019 PRESENTED BY AUDI ANNOUNCES SPONSORS AND CULTURAL SUPPORTERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

#DriveProgress Large-Scale Art Installation “Changing the Chairs” to Debut at Festival

Tickets and Passes to Screenings Available Online and at Newly Opened AT&T Box Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Los Angeles, CA, November 14, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the sponsors and cultural supporters for AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, which takes place November 14-21 in Hollywood, CA, at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Visit FEST.AFI.COM to view this year’s lineup.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television.

Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship program that supports promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community. Through their #DriveProgress initiative, Audi will launch their “Changing the Chairs” campaign at AFI FEST which celebrates, embraces and recognizes the change happening now within the industry with more women directing big-budget films, more women in leadership positions and more opportunities for women to share their perspectives.

As part of the campaign, Audi worked with artist Kate Raudenbush to create a large-scale art installation that illuminates the success made by female directors, honors those who helped pave the way and advocates that more stories need to be told by women. The installation will be stationed at the TCL Chinese Theatre beginning the opening night with companion pieces in the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres lobby and The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel lobby. In addition, Natalie Camou, the first Audi Fellow, directed a video content piece for the initiative that will coincide with the installation and the launch of the campaign at this year’s AFI FEST. The piece can be viewed at https://youtu.be/5BLgNjO-ltk.

This year’s Premium Sponsors are Apple and AT&T. AT&T is returning with the AT&T Box Office, and for the first time will be sponsoring the AFI FEST Filmmaker Welcome Party. American Airlines returns as the Official Airline of AFI FEST and is the Official Airline of AFI. Festival Sponsors include 30 for 30 (ESPN), AMC Networks, CineSend, Lagunitas Brewing Company, La Marca Prosecco, National Geographic Documentary Films, Netflix, Panavision, SAG-AFTRA, SAGindie, and Select Aperitivo, with National Geographic Documentary Films hosting a Documentary Celebration.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood & Highland Center and TCL Chinese Theatre are the festival’s Official Hotel and Venue Sponsors.

Contributing Sponsors include Dalmore Scotch, Diplomático Rum, Fleur de Mer Rosé, J Vineyards and Winery California Pinot Noir, Louis M. Martini, the Nancy Malone Estate, Montenegro Amaro, Alan J. Pakula Memorial Fund and Saint Clair Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

Boxed Water, Elevent, Quixote, SmartSource and US Blanks are Sustaining Sponsors.

Supporting Sponsors include The Bagel Broker and SoCal Self Storage.

This year’s Cultural Sponsor is the Farhang Foundation.

Additional cultural support will be provided by the Consulate General of Austria, Consulate General of Belgium, Consulate General of Canada, Consulate General of France – French Mission for Cultural Affairs and the Creative Industries, Consulate General of Germany, Consulate General of Indonesia, Consulate General of Poland, European Languages and Movies in America (ELMA), Japan Foundation LA, Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles (KCCLA), Polish Film Festival, Québec Government Office in Los Angeles, Telefilm Canada, TV5MONDE and UNIFRANCE.

The Primary Media Partner of the festival is the Los Angeles Times. Official Media Partners include Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, International Documentary Association, Meet the Press, Time Out, Variety and The Wall Street Journal. Affiliate Media Partners include 89.3 KPCC, American Cinematographer, Backstage, Deadline, Here Media, IndieWire, KCRW 89.9FM, KTLA, LA Confidential Magazine, LAist, LA Weekly, Los Angeleno, MovieMaker Magazine, OUTFRONT Media, Screen International, The Wrap and Yelp.

The full program can be viewed at FEST.AFI.COM. Individual tickets to AFI FEST screenings are available to the general public online at FEST.AFI.COM or at the AT&T Box Office at Hollywood & Highland. AFI Premiere Circle members receive unparalleled access to AFI FEST, including tickets to Galas, after-parties and more.

Additional passes are also on sale now at FEST.AFI.COM and AFI Star members and above receive a special discount. The American Film Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and cultural organization, and Premiere Circle memberships are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

About the American Film Institute (AFI).

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present, and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/American Film, and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi

Now in its 33rd year, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place on November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFEST, twitter.com/AFIFEST and youtube.com/AFI.

About Audi

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

Sponsor Audi

(Source: Press release AFI News)

AFI FEST 2019 Special Screening: I AM WOMAN

Posted by Larry Gleeson

HELEN REDDY BIOPIC TO HAVE ITS US PREMIERE ON 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE– Los Angeles, CA, November 12, 2019 – The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced that AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi has added a Special Screening of I AM WOMAN, the Helen Reddy biopic, directed by Unjoo Moon (AFI Class of 2000).  The film is produced by Moon and Rosemary Blight, written by Emma Jensen and stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Evan Peters and Danielle Macdonald. The film will have its US premiere on Thursday, November 21 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres.

I AM WOMAN tells the inspiring story of singer Helen Reddy, who wrote and sang the song “I Am Woman” that became the anthem for the women’s movement in the 1970s.  The film is a story of fearless ambition and passion, of a woman who smashed through the patriarchal norms of her time to become the international singing superstar she always dreamed of being.

Tickets to this event and all other screenings and events are now available at Fest.AFI.com.

AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. The full program and schedule can be found here.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

AFI FEST

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media atFacebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteyoutube.com/AFItwitter.com/American Filmand Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place on November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFESTtwitter.com/AFIFESTand youtube.com/AFI.

About Audi 

 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

 

Sponsor Audi

(Source: AFIFEST Press Release)

 

MARTIN SCORSESE TRIBUTE ADDED TO AFI FEST 2019 PRESENTED BY AUDI

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SPECIAL EVENT ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15

Martin Scorsese

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Los Angeles, CA, November 5, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced that AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi will honor Martin Scorsese with a tribute on Friday, November 15 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.  The evening will celebrate the AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award® winner’s indelible impact on culture as one cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers. Following the conversation with Scorsese, AFI FEST will present his most recent film, Netflix’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler, and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.

Bob Gazzale, AFI
Bob Gazzale

“Martin Scorsese is an American master,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “It is a profound honor for AFI to bring movie lovers together for one night to stand and celebrate this visionary storyteller whose passion for cinema echoes from film preservation to the advancement of the art form.”

Tickets to this event and all other screenings and events are now available at Fest.AFI.com.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 4.21.04 PM

AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. The full program and schedule can be found here.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

Sponsor Audi

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteyoutube.com/AFItwitter.com/American Filmand Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFESTtwitter.com/AFIFESTand youtube.com/AFI.

About Audi 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

 

AFI FEST 2019 PRESENTED BY AUDI ANNOUNCES FULL FESTIVAL LINEUP

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Agnes Varda

Full Lineup Features 51% Women-Directed Films

Cinema’s Legacy Lineup Includes Documentaries on Filmmaking Legends Milos Forman, Terry Gilliam and Agnès Varda

New Auteurs Lineup Includes 17 Features Directed by Women, Inaugural AFI Conservatory Showcase Features All Three Student Academy Award® Narrative Winners, and Shorts Section Hosts a Conversation with Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd

AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, UNDER THE FLAG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Los Angeles, CA, October 29, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the films that will play in the New Auteurs, Cinema’s Legacy, Midnight, Shorts and AFI Conservatory Showcase sections at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, completing the festival’s program.

The complete AFI FEST program includes 142 titles (80 features, 1 episodic, 40 shorts, 21 AFI Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% are directed by women. This year’s program represents 52 countries and includes 8 official international Feature Film Oscar®submissions as well as 4 World Premieres. The total film breakdown by section is: Galas (6), Alan J. Pakula Tribute (4), Special Screenings (8), New Auteurs (24), World Cinema (16), Midnight (2), Cinema’s Legacy (5), Documentary Films & Encore Screenings (16), Short Films (40) and AFI Conservatory Showcase (21).

Highlighting emerging directors, New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for internationally diverse new filmmakers to showcase their latest films. This year, the section is comprised of 24 films, with 17 helmed by female filmmakers. The section includes two official International Feature Film Oscar®submissions screening at this year’s festival: Morocco’s ADAM (Dir Maryan Touzani) and Russia’s BEANPOLE (Dir Kantemir Balagov).

In this year’s Cinema’s Legacy program, AFI FEST turns the spotlight to the men and women behind the lens. This section is a celebration of motion picture history and a special opportunity to celebrate classic films, and those who created them. The section features three documentaries on renowned filmmakers, FORMAN V FORMAN (DIR Helena Trestikova, Jakub Hejna), HE DREAMS OF GIANTS (DIR Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe) and VARDA BY AGNÈS (DIR Agnès Varda). In addition, TALKING ABOUT TREES (DIR Suhaib Gasmelbari), a documentary on the history of Sudanese cinema, as well as ROMANTIC COMEDY (DIR Elizabeth Sankey), an examination of the popular genre and its effect on the culture-at-large, are included in Cinema’s Legacy.

The Midnight section features the chilling and provocative genre films JALLIKATTU (DIR Lijo Jose Pellissery) and SAINT MAUD (DIR Rose Glass).

The Shorts section includes 40 films from filmmakers from all over the world, showcasing their distinct international viewpoints. As the only juried section of the festival, the Grand Jury Award winners for Live Action and Animated Short will be eligible for the 2020 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®. This year’s Shorts section will include screenings of two out-of-competition films from this year’s Meet the Press Film Festival with AFI, FIRE IN PARADISE followed by a conversation with the filmmakers moderated by Chuck Todd, Meet the PressModerator and NBC News Political Director, and MACK WRESTLES. The Shorts jury is comprised of filmmakers Katrelle Kindred, Hannah Peterson and Davy Rothbart.

New to AFI FEST is the inaugural AFI Conservatory Showcase. This collection of 21 short fiction films from the AFI Conservatory features an array of voices and styles and the five 2019 Student Academy Award®finalists, including all three winners in the Narrative (Domestic) category.

Individual tickets are now available for purchase exclusively for AFI members and will be made available for the general public on October 30. Passes are now available for all at Fest.AFI.com.

NEW AUTEURS

ADAM
Samia, heavily pregnant and alone, wanders through Casablanca, seeking shelter until Abla, a single mother, reluctantly takes her in. As the women discover each other’s inner struggles, their lives are transformed. A film festival darling, Maryam Touzani’s debut feature crafts a delicate tale of love through a confident female gaze. DIR Maryan Touzani. SCR Maryan Touzani. CAST Lubna Azabal, Nisrin Erradi, Douae Belkhaouda. Morocco, France

ANNE AT 13,000 FT
Anne works at a Toronto daycare with her best friend  Sarah. Most of her interactions are awkward and erratic. When Anne goes skydiving for Sarah’s bachelorette party, it becomes a tipping point for her mental fragility in this intimate portrait of a volatile, young woman struggling to find her place in society. DIR Kazik Radwanski. SCR Kazik Radwanski. CAST Deragh Campbell, Matt Johnson, Dorothea Paas, Lawrene Denkers. Canada

BABYTEETH
In BABYTEETH Milla falls in love with Moses, a quirky, smalltime drug dealer. Their relationship blooms despite Milla’s rapid decline in health, igniting in her a new fervor for life. Director Shannon Murphy’s stunning debut feature is disarmingly honest and reveals the complexities of confronting mortality while celebrating life. DIR Shannon Murphy. SCR Rita Kalnejais. CAST Eliza Scanlen, Toby Wallace, Emily Barclay, Eugene Gilfedder, Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn. Australia

BEANPOLE
Two tenacious women in the post-siege ruins of 1945 Leningrad fight to rebuild their lives, in Kantemir Balagov’s loose adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War.”  Balagov won the Best Director Award in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film. DIR Kantemir Balagov. SCR Kantemir Balagov, Aleksandr Terekhov. CAST Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina. Russia

BLOW THE MAN DOWN
After the death of their mother, the Connelly sisters discover and navigate the secrets of murder, sex and crime in their sleepy, New England fishing town. This clever debut features a dynamic female ensemble cast and beautifully blends the best of dark comedy and noir. DIR Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy. SCR Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole. CAST Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale, June Squibb, Will Brittain, Gayle Rankin, Annette O’Toole. USA

THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN
Young, pregnant and barefoot in the street, Rosie is being accosted by her boyfriend when Aila comes to her aid.  The two women immediately bond and the resulting unique afternoon is a cinematic wonder echoing the classic works of feminist cinema. DIR Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn. SCR Kathleen Hepburn, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. CAST Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Violet Nelson, Barbara Eve Harris, Charlie Hannah, Jay Cardinal Villenueve. Canada, Norway

FAMILY MEMBERS (LOS MIEMBROS DE LA FAMILIA)
After the death of their mother, siblings Gilda and Lucas reluctantly return to their quiet coastal hometown to scatter her remains in the ocean but are unable to make the quick retreat they had hoped for. With this sudden and unexpected reunion, they find boredom is more readily surmountable than grief and difficult conversations remain just out of reach. DIR Mateo Bendesky. SCR Mateo Bendesky. CAST Tomas Wicz, Laila Maltz, Alejandro Russek.  Argentina
HALA
Writer/director Minhal Baig breathes new life into the classic American high school coming of age story. In the masterfully crafted story of Hala, a first-generation Pakistani-American teenager, brilliantly played by Geraldine Viswanathan (BLOCKERS), Hala navigates the treacherous terrain between religiously conservative parents and her own burgeoning sexuality and independence. DIR Minhal Baig. SCR Minhal Baig. CAST Geraldine Viswanathan, Jack Kilmer, Gabriel Luna, Purbi Joshi, Azad Khan, Anna Chlumsky. USA
IDOL (WOO SANG)
A fatal hit-and-run accident marks one family’s devastating loss and another’s downward moral spiral in Lee Su-Jin’s luridly satisfying revenge thriller set against the backdrop of a corrupt Korean political landscape. Ambition, lust, and greed know no bounds in this cat-and-mouse neo-noir puzzle that continually remains one step ahead of the audience. DIR Su-jin Lee. SCR Su-jin Lee. CAST Seok-kyu Han, Kyung-gu Sul, Woo-hee Chun. South Korea

IVANA THE TERRIBLE
Enlisting former lovers, family members and friends to portray semi-fictionalized versions of themselves, Ivana returns home to recover from a mysterious illness but becomes the source of gossip when seen with a younger man. At once charming and combative, Ivana Mladenović is a pleasure to watch as she hurls insults at loved ones. DIR Ivana Mladenović. SCR Ivana Mladenović, Adrian Schoop. CAST Ivana Mladenović, Luka Gramić, Gordana Mladenović, Miodrag Mladenović, Kosta Mladenović, Zivka Sorejevic, Andrei Dinescu, Anca Pop. Romania, Serbia

KNIVES AND SKIN
A hit at the Berlinale and Tribeca Film Festivals, Jennifer Reeder’s electric feature debut KNIVES AND SKIN uses pop music and magical realism to tell the story of a missing high school girl and the quiet, suburban town thrown into disarray following her disappearance. DIR Jennifer Reeder. SCR Jennifer Reeder. CAST Marika Engelhardt, Audrey Francis, Tim Hopper, Kate Arrington, James Vincent Meredith, Ireon Roach, Ty Olwin, Grace Smith, Kayla Carter, Robert T. Cunningham, Emma Ladji, Jalen Gilbert, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Tony Fitzpatrick, Raven Whitley. USA

THE LAST TO SEE THEM (GLI ULTIMI A VEDERLI VIVERE)
Dripping with menace and fraught with tension, this formalist film is a lovely and incredibly sad testimony to real people in the last moments of their lives.  Being witness to the everyday and mundane, you get an honest sense of who they are, how they feel, just from sparse dialogue and simple unadorned actions. DIR Sara Summa. SCR Sara Summa. CAST Barbara Verrastro, Pasquale Lioi, Canio Lancellotti, Donatella Viola. Germany

LINGUA FRANCA
Olivia is an undocumented Filipina trans woman and the home health aide for Olga. Alex, Olga’s grandson, is just back from rehab and trying to get his life together. The two have enough going on to need a budding relationship. But that’s not how fate works. DIR Isabel Sandoval. SCR Isabel Sandoval. CAST Isabel Sandoval, Eamon Farren, Ivory Aquino, Lev Gorn, Lynn Cohen. USA, Philippines
LOVE ME TENDER
Agoraphobic Seconda (Barbara Giordano) is confined to her family apartment — until her home life is suddenly upended and she is forced to reckon with the outside world. This original and idiosyncratic film from Swiss filmmaker Klaudia Reynicke follows a non-conforming, eccentric young woman forced to fight for her independence. DIR Klaudia Reynicke. SCR Klaudia Reynicke. CAST Barbara Giordano, Antonio Bannò, Gilles Privat, Maurizio Tabani, Anna Galante, Federica Vermiglio. Switzerland
MATERNAL
Teenage mothers, Lu and Fati, live in a Catholic-based shelter in Buenos Aires with their children. One day, novice Sister Paola, conflicted by her own unresolved desires, arrives before taking her final vows and soon the complexities and resilience of motherhood will be tested by each woman in this understated drama. DIR Maura Delpero. SCR Maura Delpero. CAST Lidiya Liberman, Denise Carrizo, Agustina Malale, Isabella Cilia, Alan Rivas, Livia Fernán, Marta Lubos, Renata Palminiello. Italy

MS SLAVIC 7
Indiscriminately housed in the Harvard Houghton Library is a collection of letters between author Jozef Wittlin and poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa, retrievable using call number MS Slavic 7. Bohdanowiczowa’s granddaughter – Deragh Campbell in one of two dynamic performances at AFI FEST 2019 – is determined to investigate but comes up against unanticipated obstacles. DIR Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. SCR Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. CAST Deragh Campbell, Elizabeth Rucker, Mariusz Sibiga, Aaron Danby. Canada

NOBADI
91-year-old Viennese Robert just wants to bury his dead dog. Young Adib is hired for the job but won’t be taken advantage of. Will these two men be able to connect, or will brotherly love be forever severed? DIR Karl Markovics. SCR Karl Markovics. CAST Heinz Trixner, Borhanulddin Hassan Zadeh, Konstanze Dutzi. Austria

PATRICK (DE PATRICK)
Patrick has lost his hammer (and also his father.) Now left at the helm of the family business, a naturalist camp, his stress is quickly multiplying. Obsessed, Patrick discovers that everyone is a suspect while searching for his beloved tool. Below the absurd surface lies a humorous and touching story about loss and grief. DIR Tim Mielants. SCR Tim Mielants, Benjamin Sprengers. CAST Kevin Janssens, Pierre Bokma, Katelijne Damen, Hannah Hoekstra, Jemaine Clement. Germany

THE PLANTERS
Written, directed, produced and starring Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder, THE PLANTERS is a dark comedy about a reclusive telemarketer who befriends a homeless woman with multiple personalities. DIR Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder. SCR Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder. CAST Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder, Phil Parolisi, Pepe Serna. USA

ROCKS
Rocks has big dreams and enjoys hanging out with her all-girl crew. One day, her troubled, single mother disappears, leaving Rocks responsible for younger brother Emmanuel and causing her to push away her community. Employing a collaborative process with female youth, director Sarah Gavron crafts an authentic and compassionate portrait of girlhood. DIR Sarah Gavron. SCR Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson. CAST Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes, Tawheda Begum, Anastasia Dymitrow, Afi Okaidja, Sarah Niles. UK

THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS (HIRUK-PIKUK SI-ALKISAH)
Indonesia, the 1960s. Siman unintentionally witnesses a foreign crew filming a fake moon landing. Discovered, he’s punished by having his tongue cut off, forcing him into silence. Siman moves through life in slow-motion, imitating astronauts. A daring, hypnotic drama, THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS explores the mysterious political conflict of Indonesia’s history. DIR Yosep Anggi Noen. SCR Yosep Anggi Noen. CAST Gunawan Maryanto, Ecky Lamoh,Yudi Ahmad Tajudin, Tupon Rusini, Alex Suhendra, Gun Lukman Sardi, Marissa Anita, Asmara Abigail. Indonesia, Malaysia, France

SELAH AND THE SPADES
At Haldwell, an elite boarding school, five factions run student life. Selah Summer leads the Spades, the most powerful faction, conducting all underground drugs and alcohol sales on campus. Having made her way to power, Selah won’t back down to rivals or threats. This sharp, fresh and unapologetic debut fiercely captures the pressures of modern youth. DIR Tayarisha Poe. SCR Tayarisha Poe. CAST Lovie Simone, Celeste O’Connor, Jharrel Jerome, Gina Torres, Jesse Williams. USA
SONG WITHOUT A NAME (CANCION SIN NOMBRE)
Discouraged after attempting to engage the police, an indigenous woman whose newborn is kidnapped in a child-trafficking scheme persuades a journalist to investigate. An astoundingly assured debut, SONG WITHOUT A NAME’s meticulous black and white cinematography imparts a richness of texture and a luminescent glow, seeing an exquisite beauty in even the bleakest of realities. DIR Melina Léon. SCR Melina Léon, Michael J. White. CAST Pamela Mendoza Arpi, Tommy Páraga, Lucio Rojas, Maykol Hernández, Lidia Quispe. Peru, Spain, USA, Chile

WELCOME TO THE USA
After winning the US green card lottery, 36-year-old Aliya has to tell her family and friends. Director Assel Aushakimova’s WELCOME TO THE USA is a quiet, powerful film that shares a slice of Kazakhstani city life and the semi-hidden existence of the LGBTQ community in Almaty. DIR Assel Aushakimova. SCR Assel Aushakimova. CAST Saltanat Nauruz, Aida Zhetpissova, Dinara Aliyeva, Daniyar Beisov, Kul-Sara, Sultana Bektasova. Kazakhstan.  World Premiere

MIDNIGHT 

JALLIKATTU

In the tropical Indian state of Kerala, a buffalo escapes. Soon, all hell breaks loose as an entire village tries to wrestle it under control. A teeming world of base human behavior is also unleashed in this unique, adrenaline-fueled, brilliantly assembled and highly experiential spectacle that pulsates with energy from start-to-finish.

DIR Lijo Jose Pellissery. SCR S Hareeesh, R Jayakumar. CAST Anthony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad, Santhy Balachandran. India

SAINT MAUD

Maud, a reclusive nurse with a traumatic past, takes the task of hospice care for her new patient, Amanda, very seriously – she is determined to save Amanda’s soul from the devil. A sharp, striking debut, this psychological horror story of religious devotion will make you shiver long after leaving the theater. DIR Rose Glass. SCR Rose Glass. CAST  Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle Lily Frazer, Lily Knight, Marcus Hutton, Turlough Convery, Rosie Sansom, Carl Prekopp, Jonathan Milshaw, Noa Bodner, Rosie Sansom. UK

CINEMA’S LEGACY

FORMAN VS. FORMAN

When the great Milos Forman died in 2018, he left behind a unique legacy that includes being a pioneer of the Czech New Wave and the daring Oscar®-winning director of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and AMADEUS. This eye-opening portrait offers an intimate look at one of Hollywood’s most important filmmakers. DIR Helena Trestikova, Jakub Hejna. SCR Helena Trestikova. Czech Republic, France.

HE DREAMS OF GIANTS

Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s irresistibly entertaining 2002 documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA shadowed celebrated director Terry Gilliam throughout his ill-fated production of THE MAN WHO KILLED QUIXOTE. 17 years later, Gilliam’s quest resumes, once again with Fulton and Pepe in tow. Will Gilliam succeed at last or is he just tilting at windmills? DIR Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe. FEATURING Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Pryce, Adam Driver. UK.

ROMANTIC COMEDY

Take a trip through your favorite Romantic Comedies with artist and writer Elizabeth Sankey as she examines the common tropes of the genre and how they have shaped not only cultural conversations but the actual psychological makeup of the filmmaker herself.  An outstanding intellectual and revealing debut, this film will be your next crush. DIR Elizabeth Sankey. SCR Elizabeth Sankey. FEATURING Jessica Barden, Cameron Cook, Anne T. Donahue, Simran Hans, Brodie Lancaster, Charlie Lyne, Eleanor McDowall, Laura Snapes. UK.

TALKING ABOUT TREES

A crash course in the history of Sudanese cinema and a delightful ode to lifelong friendships, TALKING ABOUT TREES features the irrepressible foursome of Ibrahim, Suliman, Manar and Eltayeb, filmmakers and members of the Sudanese Film Group.  Winner, Documentary Jury Award and Panorama Documentary Audience Award, 2019 Berlin Film Festival. DIR Suhaib Gasmelbari. SCR Suhaib Gasmelbari. FEATURING Suleiman Ibrahim, Ibrahim Shaddad. France, Sudan, Chad, Germany, Qatar

VARDA BY AGNÈS

Concluding a series of insightful personal documentaries by French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda, this personally guided cinematic tour incorporates film, installations, and photography, offering original concepts and anecdotes that will enrich their impact to those familiar and provide a welcome introduction to the uninitiated. DIR Agnès Varda. SCR Agnès Varda. France

SHORT FILMS

16 DECEMBER

Lucía, twenty-five years old, leaves handball training and sets off to pick up her brother under the lights of a city she thinks she knows. DIR Álvaro Gago. SCR Álvaro Gago. CAST Cris Iglesias, Javier Valcarce, Fran Pérez, Diego Abal, Ruth Boente, Martín Duplá. Spain

ALIEN (REONGHEE)

When a company covers up the death of Reonghee, her fellow undocumented worker searches for her body in hopes of giving her the funeral she deserves.  DIR Jegwang Yeon. SCR Jegwang Yeon, Park Woosang. South Korea

ANNA

Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to a party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. DIR Dekel Berenson. SCR Dekel Berenson. Ukraine

AZIZA

A dynamic take on the life of Syrian refugees told through dark comedy. DIR Soudade Kaadan. SCR Soudade Kaadan, May Hayek.  CAST Caress Bashar, Abdel Moneim Amayri. Syria

BLACK BUS STOP

Students reclaim a popular gathering spot on the campus of the University of Virginia. Under the glare of the moonlight, black fraternity and sorority members repossess hallowed grounds as they sway to the rhythms and memories of the past. DIR Kevin Jerome Everson, Claudrena N. Harold. FEATURING Jordan Maia, Tiara Sparrow, Kevin Adams, Zakia Alomari, Alexis Artis, Briana Bradham, Cordell Burgess, Kris Coachman, Raelo Edmund, Komi Galli, Nana Bilkisu Habib, Natasha Hallaran, Taji Harris, Nicole Jefferson, Maya Johnson, Kendall Jordan, Taylor Lamb, Jordan Maia, Morgan Miller, Tiffany Moore, Chelsea Ofori, Xhosa Scott, Erik Patton-Scott, Markiana Smith, Paige Taul, Victoria Tucker, Melvin Walker, Micah Watson, Allen Williams, Hidayah Williams, Jessica Williams, Jasmine Zollar. USA

BLESSED LAND

A middle-aged woman and her son visit her late husband’s grave in a former fishing village she hasn’t been to in decades. In the cemetery on the sandy dunes, they wander around for a long time without finding the headstone. Has her memory eroded, or has the grave been concealed somewhere underneath the green grass of the new golf courses? It’s true, for the nouveau riche, land for the living to play on is better than land for the dead to rest at. DIR Phạm Ngọc Lân. SCR Phạm Ngọc Lân. CAST Minh Châu, Hoàng Hà, Thùy Anh, Huy Tiến. Vietnam

BUG BITE

A young woman and a female bed bug form an unlikely bond while contending with toxic masculinity. DIR Emily Ann Hoffman. SCR Emily Ann Hoffman. CAST Ruby McCollister, Chet Siegel, Jonathan Randell Silver. USA

THE BURNING BUSH (הסנההבוער)

Danny mourns the lost love to her ex-girlfriend, symbolized by a small plant. Danny’s mother wants her daughter to bury the memories, but when the dust settles something more powerful remains, which will not die. DIR Noam Greif. SCR Noam Greif. CAST Inbal Lehavi, Irit Sheleg, Na’ama Amit. Israel

CARNE

Five women highlight the perverse way in which society looks at them. DIR Camila Kater.  SCR Camila Kater, Ana Julia Carvalheiro. CAST Rachel Patricio, Larissa Rahal, Raquel Virginia, Valquiria Rosa, Helena Ignez. Brazil, Spain

CHILD

In the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, a young mother struggles to connect to her new baby. DIR Talia Zucker. SCR Talia Zucker. CAST Rachael Stone, Ari Hershkowitz, Miryam Rabinowitz, Judy Winegard, Goldie Hoffman, Luzer Twersky. USA

THE CLINIC

Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange and free clinic operate in the shadows of Fresno, California.  DIR Elivia Shaw. FEATURING Dr. Marc Lasher. USA

DEEP TISSUE

A woman orders a special massage. DIR Meredith Alloway. SCR Meredith Alloway. CAST Meredith Alloway, Peter Vack. USA

THE DEVIL’S HARMONY

Kiera is being bullied at school, but her a cappella club possess a secret, supernatural power: when they sing, listeners are sent into a state of catatonic, never-ending sleep. DIR Dylan Holmes Williams. SCR Dylan Holmes Williams, Jess O’Kane. CAST Patsy Ferran, Leo Suter, Guy Henry, Bobby Schofield. UK

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US AND THE SKY

Two strangers meet for the first time at an old gas station. One has stopped to gas up his bike, while the other is just stranded. Lacking the 22.50€ he needs to get home, he will try to sell him the distance that separates them from the sky. DIR Vasilis Kekatos. SCR Vasilis Kekatos. CAST Nikolakis Zeginoglou, Ioko Ioannis Kotidis. Greece

DOCKING

Trevor reflects on his fear of dating. DIR Trevor Anderson. SCR Trevor Anderson. Canada

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SUDDEN BIRTH* (*BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK)

The true story of how the Berkeley police department, the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, an Academy Award® winner and Spock of STAR TREK fame are all connected by 1966’s SUDDEN BIRTH, one of the most unintentionally hilarious and disturbing educational films ever created. DIR Scott Calonico. SCR Scott Calonico. FEATURING Heinrich Beernink, M.D., Leonard Nimoy, James Caan & Raquel Welch, Skip Elsheimer, Amy Beernink, R. Paul Kerston, Kieth Merrill, Jonathan Tegan, Kay Tegan. Germany, UK

EXAM

A teenage girl delivers a package of cocaine to a client and gets caught in a weird cycle of events. DIR Sonia K. Hadad. SCR Sonia K. Hadad, Farnoosh Samadi. CAST Sadaf Asgari, Hadis Miramini, Masih Kazemi, Elaheh Afshari. Iran

EXIT 12

After two tours in the Iraq War, U.S. Marine Roman Baca came home a different person. Now, as the founder and artistic director of the Exit12 Dance Company in New York City, Roman, with other veterans and military families, uses dance to tell stories about the effects of war. DIR Mohammad Gorjestani. USA

FIRE IN PARADISE

On the morning of November 8, 2018, a seemingly small fire broke out in Butte County, California. Over the course of a few short hours, the camp fire grew into the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century, killing 85 people and destroying Paradise. DIR Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari. USA

GHOSTS OF SUGAR LAND

In Sugar Land, Texas, a group of young, Muslim-American men ponders the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining ISIS. DIR Bassam Tariq. SCR Bassam Tariq, Thomas Niles.  USA

THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT (SINGLE CHANNEL)

Filmed on location in Harlem, USA and in Claude Monet’s historic gardens in Giverny, France, THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT is a multi-textured cinematic poem that meditates on the safety and bodily autonomy of Black women. DIR Ja’Tovia Gary. SCR Ja’Tovia Gary.  USA, France

THE GOLDEN LEGEND (LEYENDA DORADA)

A summer day at the swimming pool of the village of Montánchez, Spain. From above, Our Lady of Consolation of the Castle keeps her watchful gaze. DIR Chema García Ibarra, Ion de Sosa. SCR Chema García Ibarra. CAST Al Sarcoli, Cristina Canchal Solís, María Ángeles Rosco, Carlos Lebrón Lázaro, Laura Molano Canchal, Nuria Rey Burgos, Jara Valiente, Natalia Valiente, Javier Valiente. Spain

HELLO AHMA

Unable to return home to attend Grandma’s funeral because of immigration bureaucracy, a young Singaporean girl new to America searches for Grandma’s reincarnation in a pet store turtle. DIR Siyou Tan. SCR Siyou Tan. Sofie Yang, Dawn Ying Yuen, Peter Boon Koh, Wu Mama, Squirtle. Singapore

INTERMISSION EXPEDITION

During a sunny holiday, a flock of tourists struggles to let go of their busy city lives, and the absence of daily tasks leaves them lost in an uncomfortable and frightening place. Once they learn to slow down, they may find some beauty in the here and now. DIR Wiep Teeuwisse. SCR Wiep Teeuwisse. Netherlands

LIBERTY

Alex and Milagros deal with great life upheaval as they prepare to dance at their community’s redevelopment groundbreaking ceremony. DIR Faren Humes. SCR Faren Humes. CAST Milagros Gilbert, Alexandra Jackson, Willnya Jenkins, Mary Griffin. USA

LOST & FOUND

A determined man, armed only with a megaphone, his determination, and an unshakeable smile, sets out to reunite lost children with their families in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, which now houses over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims. DIR Orlando Von Einsiedel. UK

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA

A dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present reimagining a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.  DIR Sophia Nahli Allison. USA

MACK WRESTLES

Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs broke records and changed history by winning the Texas high school state title two years in a row. With college on the horizon, Beggs must grapple with what comes next. DIR Erin Sanger, Taylor Hess. FEATURING Mack Beggs, Nancy Beggs. USA

THE MINORS

A slice of life film about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past. Oh, and they started a band! DIR Robert Machoian. SCR Robert Machoian. CAST Bruce Graham, Arri Graham, Ezra Graham, Jonah Graham. USA

MONSTRUO DIOS

God is now a Power Plant. On a misty night, cows escape, a child is chosen, and a teenager tries to find freedom. DIR Agustina San Martín. SCR Agustina San Martín. CAST Sabrina Grinchspun, Camila Dobrusky, Emilio Vodanovich, Isabella Rappazzo, Mariali Rubio. Argentina

MTHUNZI

Mthunzi becomes caught up in a world he does not belong to walking home from the shops. DIR Tebogo Malebogo. SCR Tebogo Malebogo. CAST Nala Khumalo, Jamie-Lee Money, Inge Beckmann, Rusell Crous. South Africa

SLUG LIFE

A day in the life of Tanya, a curious woman who has developed a taste for homemade non-humanoid lovers. DIR Sophie Gate. CAST Jeanette Bonds, Sophie Koko Gate, Tom Scotcher, Vincent Oliver. UK

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER (NÅGOT ATT MINNAS)

A lullaby before the great disaster. DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr. SCR Niki Lindroth von Bahr. CAST Ava Lauga, Theodor Jensen, Linnea Wikblad, Staffan Westerberg, Arja Saijonmaa, Karin Af Klintberg, Maria Af Klintberg, Daniel Rudholm. Sweden

STORY

A reflection about a modern man in an age of omnipresent technology. DIR Jolanta Bankowska. SCR Jolanta Bankowska. Poland

SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT

Valentina, a day-walking black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters. DIR Nikyatu Jusu. SCR Nikyatu Jusu, Robin S. Williams. CAST Natalie Paul, Motell Foster, Alexis Nichole Smith, Souleymane Sy Savane, Madison Spicer. USA

TAKE ME TO PROM

A colorful, celebratory intergenerational retelling of seven queer people’s prom experience. DIR Andrew Moir. FEATURING Alf Roberts, Fontaine, Marcy Rogers, Alphonso King Jr., Marc Hall, Caroline Kan-Hai. Canada

UNDER COVERS

On the night of a lunar eclipse, the sweet, salacious, and spooky secrets of a small town are uncovered.  DIRMichaela Olsen. SCR Michaela Olsen. CAST Jade Shames, Dylan Stephen Levers, Emily Collins, Robert Kovacs. USA

WAX PAUL NOW

Three New Yorkers will stop at nothing to get Paul Giamatti his own wax statue at Madame Tussauds. DIR Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann. SCR Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann. FEATURING Sophie Mann, Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Trevor Van Uden, Richard Brevard, Paul Giamatti, Brian Haggard, Clark Hurlburt. USA

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE WATER AND THE MOON

During an abortion, instead of aborting the fetus, a girl gives birth to a live jellyfish. DIR Jian Luo. SCR Jian Luo. CAST Yang Wang. China

YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH (TU ÚLTIMO DÍA EN LA TIERRA)

A man dressed as a fox breaks the spacetime barrier with only one goal: to spend some time with his wife. But below this recreational activity, there’s a far more complex and ambitious plan. DIR Marc Martínez Jordán. SCR Marc Martínez Jordán. CAST Sònia Masuda, Enric Auquer. Spain

AFI CONSERVATORY SHOWCASE

BALLOON

The only way Sam knows how to survive junior high is to stay under the radar. But that’s impossible after Jason picks a fight with him and it quickly becomes the school’s next viral video. His only friend pressures him to “hit back.” But Sam isn’t so sure—even if he does have super powers. 2019 Student Academy Awards®finalist. DIRECTOR Jeremy Merrifield. SCREENWRITER Jeremy Merrifield, Dave Testa. PRODUCERChristina Cha, Kate Chamuris. CINEMATOGRAPHER Frances Kroon. EDITORBowei Yue. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jerry Marsini. CAST Paul Scheer, Jonah Beres, Jaylin Ogle, Carson Severson. USA

CACTUS BLOSSOM

To win his wife’s love back, an old man transforms into the thing she loves the most: a cactus. DIRECTOR Samir Oliveros. SCREENWRITER Christina Kingsleigh, Samir Oliveros. PRODUCER Thayer Juergens. CINEMATOGRAPHER Teck Siang Lim. EDITOR Chris Tenzis. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Karu De Jesus. CAST Kyrie DeMille, Philip Caldwell. USA

THE CHEF

An old Chinese chef teaches a robot to cook, which places him in a dilemma between artificial intelligence and the human race. Silver medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Hao Zheng. SCREENWRITER Ithaca Yixian Deng, Leqi Vanessa Kong. PRODUCER Ithaca Yixian Deng. CINEMATOGRAPHER Carlo Mendoza. EDITOR Guangwei Du. PRODUCTION DESIGNERMboni Maumba. CAST Jim Lau, Quinn Von Hoene, Allen Theosky Rowe. USA

FLORENCE

Florence goes through her days without letting anyone into her world. When someone slips a love letter into her pocket, she decides to branch out, remembering what it is to feel hopeful. DIRECTOR Emanuele Daga. SCREENWRITER Courtney Shumway, Emanuele Daga. PRODUCERAlmotaz Aljefri. CINEMATOGRAPHERMotiejus Barauskas. EDITORTravis Staurt. PRODUCTION DESIGNERMboni Maumba. CAST Diane Kelber, Warren Davis, Queanna Réa Feather, Daniel Crotty. USA

FORT IRWIN

A veteran suffering from PTSD decides to participate in a military simulation exercise in the hopes it will cure his symptoms. DIRECTOR Quinn Else. SCREENWRITER Quinn Else. PRODUCER Marc Tarczali. CINEMATOGRAPHER Ben Long. EDITOR Yiqing Yu. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Fernando Marroquin. CAST Cristian Valle, Ken Drylie, Hannah Elder, Mitchell Adams, Clayton Hoff, Andrew Gilchrist, Douglas Tait. USA

GRACE

When a pastor’s son discovers that his father’s religious movement has become a dangerous and seductive cult of personality, he must shatter the only world he’s ever known to escape his father’s shadow. DIRECTOR R.J. Glass. SCREENWRITER R.J. Glass. PRODUCERAmanda Freedman, Froso Tsipopoulou. CINEMATOGRAPHERCeline Layous. EDITOR Qing Shao. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Gemma Fenol. CAST Rory Gibson, Robb Derringer, Kyson Facer. USA

THE HISTORY OF MONSTERS

Evelyn lives isolated in a cabin in the woods haunted every night by monsters of unknown origin. One day she finds a man in the forest and decides to help him. She becomes entranced by the stranger and struggles between her safety and her sexual desires. DIRECTOR Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz. SCREENWRITER Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz. PRODUCER Talya Ster.  CINEMATOGRAPHER Tom Meredith. EDITOR Charles Hertley Carter. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Mauricio Abud Friederichsen. CAST Valeria Gonzalez, Oscar Peña. USA

LOUISE

Louise tells the tragedy of how a young girl, in 1912 California, loses her mother just as she is beginning to understand the devastating causes of their estrangement. DIRECTOR Natalie Camou. SCREENWRITER Jamison Karon, Natalie Camou. PRODUCER Elizabeth Glass. CINEMATOGRAPHER Antoine Combelles. EDITOR Maria Freire. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jake Vollmer. CAST Charity Rose, Katia Gomez, Adrienne Couper Smith, Rogelio Ramos. USA

MARRIAGE MATERIAL, THE MUSICAL!

After her boyfriend rejects her marriage proposal, Leah Schwartzman checks herself into the “Late Blooming Bride” retreat, which prides itself on transforming less-than-perfect women into “Marriage Material.” 2019 Student Academy Awards®finalist. DIRECTOR Oran Zegman. SCREENWRITER Oran Zegman. PRODUCER Maor Azran. CINEMATOGRAPHER Charlie Cole. EDITOR Marc Sedaka. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Brittany Ingram. CAST Gwen Hollander, Laura Gardener, Diane Kelber. USA

MILLER & SON

A transwoman mechanic lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night, until an unforeseen event threatens the balance of her compartmentalized life. Gold medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Asher Jelinsky. SCREENWRITER Asher Jelinsky. PRODUCER Kate Chamuris. CINEMATOGRAPHER Robert Nachman. EDITOR Selinda Zhou. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Robert Aguirre. CAST Jesse James Keitel, Ryan Cutrona, Travis Hammer, Alexandra Grey, Carter Ray. USA

MISS BOUNDLESS (弄璋)

During the Qing Dynasty, a young girl competes with her male cousin for the right to inherit leadership of a powerful house. DIRECTOR Qiyu Zhou. SCREENWRITER Qiyu Zhou, A.P. Boland. PRODUCER Siyi Ren. CINEMATOGRAPHER Riley Hanyue Shen. EDITORLuqi Zhao. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Roxy Yi Hua. CAST Junru Wang, Russell Wong, Henggao Li. USA

MORS DAG

A mother’s trauma gets in the way of supporting her adopted daughter’s passage into womanhood. DIRECTOR Jeanine Frost. SCREENWRITER Jeanine Frost. PRODUCERElena Aksenova, Geenah Krisht. CINEMATOGRAPHER Erin G. Wesley. EDITOR Ashley Monti. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Fernando Marroquin. CAST Mette Lisby, Cece Abbey. USA

OUT OF PLACE

Unaware of them being neighbors, an aspiring Chinese pianist Hui, and Chamo, a Mexican house painter, go through a day that challenges their identities, only to meet at a moment of change. DIRECTOR Peier “Tracy” Shen. SCREENWRITER Peier “Tracy” Shen. PRODUCERMengying “Irene” Yang. CINEMATOGRAPHER Leonel Escobar. EDITOR Arndt Werling. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Cyrum A. Ramirez. CAST Sarah Lynn Furman, Victor Boneva. USA

PROGENY

This is a world exactly like ours, except that the wealthy elites are aliens, living and working among us, but with one key difference: they reproduce by implanting their offspring in a human host who raises the alien child as his own. When a blue-collar man is forcibly implanted with his alien boss’s parasitic offspring, he asks his wife to help him remove the parasite — a dangerous and forbidden act that puts their marriage — and their lives — at risk. DIRECTOR Justin Daering. SCREENWRITER Kenda Greenwood Moran. PRODUCER Gregory M. Schroeder.  CINEMATOGRAPHER Thomas J. Thickett. EDITOR Christine Douglas. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Evan Welch. CAST Chasen Tyler Bauer, Wyni Landry, Christian Dunlop, Clayton Hoff, Hans Christopher. USA

A RODEO FILM

A bull rider who falls out of love with the sport must choose between his family’s legacy of rodeo and his own aspirations. DIRECTOR Darius Dawson. SCREENWRITER Darius Dawson. PRODUCER Ryan Binse. CINEMATOGRAPHER Erin G. Wesley. EDITOR Briana Chmielewski. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jessica M. Cole. CAST Jermelle Simon, Phrederic Semaj, Charlee Earle. USA

SIN CIELO

Two ‘star-crossed’ lovers become separated by forces larger than they can control in a place where girls’ bodies turn up in the river or never at all. DIRECTOR J. S. Maarten. SCREENWRITER J. S. Maarten. PRODUCER Daria Suvorova. CINEMATOGRAPHER Marcin Banasiak. EDITORAashish D’Mello.  PRODUCTION DESIGNER Aashish D’Mello. CAST David Gurrola, Fenessa Pineda, Dylan Bruno, Vanessa Benavente, Aithan Torres, Brian Gomez, Victor Boneva, Karen Sours Albisua, Sophia Santi, Hugo Medina. USA

THEY WON’T LAST

After attending their friends’ perfect wedding, Christine is forced to consider the future of her own relationship when her hopeless romantic boyfriend Alex proposes. When Christine is unable to say yes, Alex makes it worse by giving her an ultimatum: either get engaged or break up right now. DIRECTOR Portlynn Tagavi. SCREENWRITER Portlynn Tagavi, Brandon Gale. PRODUCER Richard Bailey. CINEMATOGRAPHER Delaney O’Brien. EDITOR Farzad Kiyafar. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Beatrice Cerezo. CAST Jack De Sena, Brittany Renee Finamore. USA

TREE #3

After he’s been cast (again!) as a background tree in his annual middle school play, an ambitious and imaginative Israeli immigrant boy leads a revolution on stage that his intolerant drama teacher will never forget. Bronze medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Omer Ben-Shachar. SCREENWRITER Omer Ben-Shachar, Sydney Meadow. PRODUCER Iris Xuan Yang. CINEMATOGRAPHERZilong Liu.  EDITOR Yinong Xia. PRODUCTION DESIGNERKatia Nájera Viale. CAST Lior Malka, Eva Du, Alex Gonzalez, Kelly Ryan, Rita Zohar. USA

UNDER THE FLAG

A driven and conscientious girl at China’s premier dance school gets the lead position in a prestigious performance, but struggles to accept it after she learns that her mother has bribed the teacher to buy her the part. DIRECTOR Jiawei Cheng. SCREENWRITER Jiawei Cheng, Dhruv Kanungo. PRODUCER Fernando Barajas, Danwen Lei. CINEMATOGRAPHER Leo Perman. EDITOR Yiqing Yu. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Hankang Chen. CAST Michelle Chang, Grace Chang, Leann Lei. USA

VINCENT

On his 21st birthday, Vincent is persuaded to follow his friend Bunny to a brothel where he will meet a woman that looks like his mother. DIRECTOR Gabriele Di Sazio. SCREENWRITER Gabriele Di Sazio, Christina Yang. PRODUCER Disi Guo. CINEMATOGRAPHER Aakash Raj. EDITOR Skylar Zhang. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Vlad Aksenov. CAST Gabriele Di Sazio, Christina Yang. USA

YELLOW GIRL & ME

Set in the Jamaican countryside, a young child named Nicole waits for her sister, Yellow Girl, to teach her how to swim. Circumstances escalate when Yellow Girl breaks her promise and Nicole realizes that she is next in line for a life of sexual abuse. DIRECTOR Isabella Issa. SCREENWRITER Isabella Issa. PRODUCERPaul V. Fishback. CINEMATOGRAPHER Diego Trenas. EDITOR Christine Douglas. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Caitlin Ward. CAST Dior Wilson, Trishauna Clarke, Blacka Di Danca, Jonathan-Dale Johnson, Tahj Williamson, Khelys Johnson. USA

AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. Additional announcements including Galas, Documentaries, Special Screenings, Tribute, World Cinema, and the inaugural AFI Summit can be found here.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteyoutube.com/AFItwitter.com/American Film and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

 

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place on November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFESTtwitter.com/AFIFESTand youtube.com/AFI.

About Audi 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

AFI FEST

(Source:AFI New release)

 

News from AFI FEST 2019 – Galas, Special Screenings and Tribute

 

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI FEST 2019 PRESENTED BY AUDI 

ANNOUNCES 

GALAS, TRIBUTE AND SPECIAL SCREENINGS

AFI FEST

THE AERONAUTS, THE TWO POPES 

ROUND OUT THE GALA SECTION

Special Screenings Include CLEMENCY and a Conversation with Alfe Woodard,

JUST MERCY and BLACKBIRD

Tribute to Alan J. Pakula Added to Festival Line-Up

October 21, 2019, Los Angeles, CA — Today, the American Film Institute (AFI) announced the two Gala titles that complete the Gala line-up at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi. Netflix’s THE TWO POPES starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Prycewill screen on Monday, November 18 and Amazon Studios’ THE AERONAUTS starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne will screen on Tuesday, November 19. All Galas will take place at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

This year’s Tribute honors famed producer and director Alan J. Pakula.Academy Award®-nominated Pakula will be celebrated with a screening of the new documentary ALAN PAKULA: GOING FOR THE TRUTH (DIR Matthew Miele),along with screenings of three of his classic films, KLUTE, SOPHIE’S CHOICE and THE STERILE CUCKOO.

The Special Screenings section showcases some of the most acclaimed titles of the season highlighting both international auteurs and emerging talents and features unparalleled and unforgettable stories, characters and performances. This year’s Special Screenings include ATLANTICS (ATLANTIQUE) (DIR Mati Diop), BLACKBIRD (DIR Roger Michell), CLEMENCY (DIR Chinonye Chukwu) followed by an extended conversation with Alfre Woodard, THE FRIEND (DIR Gabriela Cowperthwaite), JUST MERCY (DIR Destin Daniel Cretton), PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU) (DIR Céline Sciamma), THE SONG OF NAMES (DIR François Girard) and TROOP ZERO (Bert & Bertie).

GALAS

AERONAUTS

THE AERONAUTS

In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history.While breaking records and furthering scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them.But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival. DIR Tom Harper. SCR Jack Thorne. CAST Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Courtenay, Himesh Patel.

_PMP6901.ARW

THE TWO POPES 

A dramatic transition of power unfolds in Vatican City, where the future of the Catholic Church hinges on two very different men finding common ground. From master filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD) comes this riveting exploration of faith and power. DIR Fernando Meirelles. SCR Anthony McCarten. CAST Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Juan Minujín.

TRIBUTE 

ALAN J. PAKULA

ALAN PAKULA_ GOING FOR TRUTH

ALAN PAKULA: GOING FOR TRUTH

Producer/director/writer Alan J. Pakula created some of the most emotionally penetrating, culturally significant and artistically brilliant films of the 60s, 70s and 80s. This insightful documentary portrait includes interviews with Jane Fonda, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. DIR Matthew Miele. SCRMatthew Miele. FEATURING Jane Fonda, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Steven Soderbergh, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford.

KLUTE

KLUTE

The inaugural film in Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoia trilogy,” KLUTE follows small-town private investigator John Klute (Donald Sutherland) who is led to Manhattan sex worker Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda in an Academy Award®-winning performance) while searching for a missing person. As Bree becomes embroiled in the investigation, they realize that she is being followed. DIR Alan J. Pakula. SCR Andy Lewis, David Lewis. CAST Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi, Roy Scheider.

SOPHIE'S CHOICE Photo credit Courtesy of Universal Pictures

SOPHIE’S CHOICE

Alan J. Pakula’s SOPHIE’S CHOICE stars Meryl Streep in an Academy Award®- winning performance as Sophie, a Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor living in a post-war Brooklyn boardinghouse. Her romantic relationship with Nathan (Kevin Kline) is seen through the perspective of friend and aspiring writer, Stingo as he begins to discover their secrets. DIR Alan J. Pakula. SCR Alan J. Pakula. CAST Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter Macnicol, Karlheinz Hackl, Gunter Maria Halmer, Rita Karin, Eugene Lipinski, Josh Mostel.

THE STERILE CUCKOO

THE STERILE CUCKOO

Pookie (Liza Minelli) is an eccentric, neurotic, and positively adorable college student determined to make reserved entomologist Jerry (Wendell Burton) fall madly in love with her. Alan J. Pakula’s 1969 feature debut is tender and profound, a contained story of first love whose impact resounds even 50 years later. DIR Alan J. Pakula. SCR Alvin Sargent. CAST Liza Minelli, Wendell Burton, Tim McIntire.

 

SPECIAL SCREENINGS 

ATLANTICS

ATLANTICS

After a group of unpaid construction workers disappear at sea one night In serach of a better life abroad, the women they have left behind in Dakar are overwhelmed with a mysterious fever. Ada, 17, secretly grieves for her love Souleiman, one of the departed workers, but she has been promised to another man. After a fire breaks out on her wedding night, a young policeman is sent to investigate the crime. Little does he know that the aggrieved workers have come back as haunting, possessive spirits. While many of them seek vengeance for their unpaid labor, Souleiman has come back for a different purpose — to be with his Ada one last time.  Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, ATLANTICS marks the feature narrative debut of director Mati Diop.  DIR Mati Diop. SCR Mati Diop, Olivier Demangel. CAST Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré.

BLACKBIRD

BLACKBIRD

Battling a terminal illness, Lily has decided to end her life on her own terms and requests her loved ones spend a final weekend together. Lily’s daughters arrive with their own families and emotional baggage in tow and what begins as a peaceful gathering unravels as secrets are exposed. With a stellar ensemble cast, BLACKBIRD is a thoughtful and elegant portrait of life, death and family. DIR Roger Michell. SCR Christian Torpe. CAST Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska, Sam Neill, Rainn Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Anson Boon.

CLEMENCY

CLEMENCY

Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard), a stoic death row prison warden, navigates the physiological complexities and consequences of her profession. With the next execution looming, Bernadine detaches emotionally from her husband and colleagues. Awarded the US Narrative Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, CLEMENCY showcases the collateral damage of flawed justice. DIR Chinonye Chukwu. SCR Chinonye Chukwu. CAST Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn, Danielle Brooks.

THE FRIEND

THE FRIEND

Based on the National Magazine Award winning article that went viral moving millions, THE FRIEND tells the extraordinary true story of Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and Matthew Teague (Casey Affleck) who, after learning that Nicole has only six months to live, receive the unexpected support of the couple’s best friend Dane (Jason Segel) who puts his life on hold and moves into their family’s home. Infused with heart, humor, and ultimately hope, THE FRIEND is a moving and entertaining depiction of the power of friendship, unconditional love and how one person can make a difference in the world.  DIR Gabriela Cowperthwaite. SCR Brad Ingelsby. CAST Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck.

JUST MERCY

JUST MERCY

JUST MERCY is the true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battles for justice in Alabama. Stevenson refuses to back down as he fights a legal system without mercy stacked against him and his clients at every turn. One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man whose clear innocence means nothing to the corrupt and compassionless forces Stevenson doggedly takes on. DIR Destin Daniel Cretton. SCR Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham. CAST Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Karan Kendrick.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU)

At a French villa, Marianne is charged with secretly painting Héloïse, a woman fresh from a convent and betrothed to a strange man. Spending days as Héloïse’s walking companion, Marianne paints her by memory at night. Filmmaker Céline Sciamma delivers a bold cinematic masterpiece about self-discovery, memory and freedom. DIR Céline Sciamma. SCR Céline Sciamma. CAST Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino.

SON_DAY_26-0384.RAF

THE SONG OF NAMES

Director François Girard orchestrates a stellar ensemble as its players in this potent film about two boys connected by World War II and music.  Spanning generations — as boys, Jewish violin prodigy Dovidl and non-Jewish Martin come together in London and remain close for years until Dovidl’s mysterious disappearance.  Decades later the adult Martin (Tim Roth) embarks on a transcontinental journey in search of his beloved friend (Clive Owen).  DIR François Girard. SCR Jeffrey Caine.  CAST Tim Roth, Clive Owen, Catherine McCormack, Jonah Hauer-King, Gerran Howell, Luke Doyle, Misha Handley.

TROUPE ZERO

TROOP ZERO

In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of making contact with outer space. When a national competition offers her a chance at her dream, to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime and beyond. DIR Bert & Bertie. SCR Lucy Alibar.  CAST Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell, Allison Janney.

ABOUT AFI FEST

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles.  Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open on Thursday, November 14 with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM.  Academy Award®nominee Peter Morgan will be honored with a Tribute of his career and a Gala screening of the third season of THE CROWN on Saturday, November 16, Academy Award®winner Clint Eastwood’s RICHARD JEWELL will have its World Premiere as a Gala screening on Wednesday, November 20 and the festival will close with the World Premiere of George Nolfi’s THE BANKER on Thursday, November 21. The World Cinema and Documentary sections can be found here. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled later this month.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

Passes are available at AFI.com/AFIFEST and individual tickets will be available for purchase for AFI members beginning October 29 and for the general public on October 30.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteyoutube.com/AFItwitter.com/American Filmand Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi

Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST.

About Audi 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.comor media.audiusa.comfor more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 7.37.31 PM

(Source: AFI FEST Press Release)

Clint Eastwood’s RICHARD JEWELL to Premiere at AFI FEST 2019

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Eastwood’s new film stars Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde and Paul Walter Hauser

AFI announced that the World Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ RICHARD JEWELL, directed and produced by AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood, will bow at a Gala at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi. Written by Academy Award® nominee Billy Ray, the film stars Academy Award® winners Sam Rockwell and Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, and Paul Walter Hauser as Richard Jewell. The Gala will take place on Wednesday, November 20 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

BUY A PASS TO AFI FEST 2019

Bob Gazzale“Clint Eastwood is an American icon,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “It is an honor for AFI to premiere this next chapter in his storied career – one that continues to enrich the nation’s cultural legacy with undeniable impact.”

Based on true events, RICHARD JEWELL is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth. “There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.” The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell (Hauser) as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing – his report making him a hero who swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant (Rockwell), Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.

Based on the Vanity Fair article “American Nightmare—The Ballad of Richard Jewell” by Marie Brenner, RICHARD JEWELL is produced by Eastwood under his Malpaso banner, alongside Tim Moore, Jessica Meier, Kevin Misher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson and Jonah Hill. Warner Bros. Pictures Presents a Malpaso Production, an Appian Way/Misher Films/75 Year Plan Production, RICHARD JEWELL. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

RICHARD JEWELL will be released in theaters on December 13, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 7.37.31 PM

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open on Thursday, November 14 with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM and will close with the World Premiere of George Nolfi’s THE BANKER on Thursday, November 21. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled later this month.

Passes are available at AFI.com/AFIFEST and individual tickets will be available for purchase for AFI members beginning October 29 and for the general public on October 30.

Watch the RICHARD JEWELL trailer here:

(Source: AFI.com/Blog)

AFI and Spotlight Cinema Announce Exclusive Cinema Partnership

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Collaboration Will Present Rare Archival Footage
to Audiences Across the Nation

Spotlight Cinema Networks and AFI announced an exclusive yearlong partnership to showcase rare and never-before-seen footage from the AFI Archive within Spotlight’s pre-show entertainment to upscale exhibitors and independent film theaters nationwide in October.

Each month, AFI will produce new segments that release vintage treasures housed in the AFI Archive and present them to movie-goers across the country. The AFI Archive includes historic moments with master filmmakers, insights from American screen icons and much more.

The inaugural October preshow will feature stories about the making of the classic thriller NORTH BY NORTHWEST as told by the “Master of Suspense” himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

Spotlight Cinema Networks’ preshow informs, engages and entertains sophisticated moviegoers with a modern, elegant feel with luxe color tones. Their rotating preshow entertainment includes one to three short films with a mixture of movie trivia, exhibitor interstitials, and cinema advertising.

Michael Sakin
Michael Sakin

“Our partnership with AFI allows our sophisticated, nationwide audience to enjoy their history of iconic films and directors during our popular preshow,” said Michael Sakin, President of Spotlight Cinema Networks. AFI’s content is a natural fit for us. We’re especially pleased to offer it exclusively to our network of art house and luxury exhibitors around the country.”

Bob Gazzale, AFI
Bob Gazzale

“The mandate of the American Film Institute is to educate and inspire,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “Our partnership with Spotlight gives us a unique opportunity to do both by opening the AFI Archive to enrich the theater-going experience across the nation.”

See the pre-show at the following theaters across the country:

Presidio Theatre: San Francisco, CA
Pruneyard Dine-in Cinemas: Campbell, CA
Vine Cinema & Alehouse: Livermore: CA
Cinepolis Luxury San Mateo: San Mateo, CA
Downtown Centre Cinemas: San Luis Obispo, CA
Admiral Theatre: Seattle, WA
Landmark Crest Cinema: Seattle, WA
Landmark Plaza Frontenac: St. Louis, MO
Landmark Tivoli Theatre: University City, MO
Landmark Bethesda Row: Bethesda, MD
Landmark E Street Cinema: Washington, DC
Landmark Atlantic Plumbing: Washington, DC
Landmark West End: Washington, DC
Cinepolis Luxury Gaithersburg: Gaithersburg, MD
Angelika Film Center Mosaic: Fairfax, VA
Angelika Film Center Pop-Up: Washington, DC

afi_logo_20110611000547

(Source: AFI.com/blog)