Category Archives: American Film Institute

BRAD PITT ANNOUNCES BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID – AFI MOVIE CLUB

Posted by Larry Gleeson

BCATSK

AFI MOVIE CLUB

BRAD PITT ANNOUNCES BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

April 6, 2020

Brad Pitt announces today’s AFI Movie Club selection: BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the infamous outlaws, the film appears on AFI’s original and 10th-anniversary lists of the greatest American films – and the dynamic duo of Butch and Sundance were co-ranked #20 among AFI’s greatest screen heroes!

DID YOU KNOW? The real Butch Cassidy never used violence or firearms until he moved to Bolivia in the last days of his life. William Goldman, who won an Oscar® for writing the film, said that this paradox in Cassidy’s character was his primary motivator in developing the story for the film. View this exclusive AFI Archive video of Goldman talking about writing the film.

Interesting Facts

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were real-life outlaws living at the turn of the 20th century.

The real Butch Cassidy never used violence or firearms until he moved to Bolivia in the last days of his life.

Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh – the real-life Butch and Sundance! – were members of a gang called The Wild Bunch. The gang’s name was never referred to in the movie to avoid confusion with another western in theaters that same year – Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH!

Stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford teamed up with director George Roy Hill for THE STING in 1973. That later film would win Best Picture at the Academy Awards®!

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID was the highest-grossing Western ever made. Adjusted for today’s numbers, the film would have earned over a half billion dollars!

Paul Newman, an early investor in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, initially planned to play Sundance with Steve McQueen as his co-star.

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions 

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below

-Is this the first time you’ve seen BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID? 

-Does the Western theme remind you of other kinds of movies you’ve seen that are not typically considered to be Westerns, such as STAR WARS? 

-The dynamic duo Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were co-ranked #20 on AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 HEROES & VILLAINS list. Would you describe them as heroes? Why or why not? 

-BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID was released in September 1969. What else was going in our nation at that time – and why do you think this movie resonated so strongly with audiences? 

-Why do you think BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID is still so beloved after 51 years? 

-How would you rate BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID? 

EXTRA – Listen to what everyday funnyman Ben Stiller has to say about the film and about Woodcock, in aprticular, here:

I hope the AFI Movie Club brings some inspiration and entertainment during this uncertain time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home.” AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies where each day’s film – announced by a special guest – is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to bring the viewing experience to life. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating.

About AFI Movie Club

AFI Movie Club is a newly launched free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together – even while we are apart. AFI will shine a spotlight on an iconic movie each day, with special guests announcing select AFI Movies of the Day in short videos posted on AFI.com and social media platforms. Audiences can “gather” at AFI.com/MovieClub to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience. Audiences can continue the conversation online using the hashtag #AFIMovieClub. Learn more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/AmericanFilm, and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

AFI MOVIE CLUB

Advertisements

Today’s AFI Movie Club film: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD starring Gregory Peck

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Small-town Alabama, 1932. Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) is a lawyer and a widower. He has two young children, Jem and Scout, portrayed by Phillip Alford and Mary Badham. Atticus Finch is currently defending Tom Robinson, a black man (played by Brock Peters) accused of raping a white woman and his children from prejudice.

Finch and Robinson

Meanwhile, Jem and Scout are intrigued by their neighbors, the Radleys, and the mysterious, seldom-seen Boo Radley (played by Robert Duvall) in particular. The messaging that unfolds is timeless.

Jem and Scout

Nominated for eight Academy Awards and winner of three. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is today’s AFI Movie Club selection.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a beloved film that appears on five of AFI’s lists of the greatest American films – and Gregory Peck’s iconic character, Atticus Finch, was named the greatest screen hero of all time by the American Film Institute.

The movie is based on a beloved book by Harper Lee, which appears regularly on lists of the greatest American novels.

The movie doesn’t end at the credits. Engage with your family, friends, and others like you who love movies. Check out the AFI Movie Club Discussion Questions for this movie and post your responses in the comment section!

-Atticus says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” From whose point of view is the story told – and how does that affect the story?

-How would the film be different if it were told from a different character’s perspective?

-TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a story of a different time in America – but which of its themes and messages are still relevant today?

-How would you rate TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?

INTERESTING FACTS

Gregory Peck won his first and only Oscar® for his performance as Atticus Finch.

Gregory Peck’s climactic speech – one of the most iconic in American film, running for six minutes and 30 seconds – was done in a single take.

To Kill A Mockingbird 2

The film’s Scout – Mary Badham – was chosen from hundreds of children in a talent search of the American South. Badham had no prior onscreen acting experience and was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance.

I hope the AFI Movie Club brings some inspiration and entertainment during this uncertain time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home.” AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies where each day’s film – announced by a special guest – is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to bring the viewing experience to life. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating.

About AFI Movie Club

AFI Movie Club is a newly launched free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together – even while we are apart. AFI will shine a spotlight on an iconic movie each day, with special guests announcing select AFI Movies of the Day in short videos posted on AFI.com and social media platforms. Audiences can “gather” at AFI.com/MovieClub to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience. Audiences can continue the conversation online using the hashtag #AFIMovieClub. Learn more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/AmericanFilm, and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

AFI MOVIE CLUB

The American Film Institute Launches AFI MOVIE CLUB

Posted by Larry Gleeson

afi2

AFI MOVIE CLUB

“Movies To Watch Together While We’re Apart”

Steven Spielberg Inaugurates New AFI Program

Supplemental Content Curated from AFI’s Archive to Enrich Viewing Experience

The American Film Institute (AFI) announced yesterday the launch of AFI Movie Club – a daily virtual gathering to leverage our collective love of film on behalf of optimism in this time of global uncertainty. AFI Trustee Steven Spielberg introduced the inaugural film, THE WIZARD OF OZ, in a video that reminds in a timely manner, “There’s no place like home.”

AFI – the authority on American film – will continue to select an iconic movie each day for the world to watch together, creating a communal viewing experience during these unprecedented times of social distancing. Other special guests will announce select AFI Movies of the Day in short videos posted on AFI.com and social media platforms. Audiences can “gather” at AFI.com/MovieClub to view the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming services. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience. Audiences can continue the conversation online using the hashtag #AFIMovieClub

 

AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale introduces World Premiere of PERSONAL STATEMENT at AFI DOCS Opening Night. Credit_ Tom Kochel
Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO

AFI’s goal is to live in a world of art above anxiety,” said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO. “We’re honored to have Steven Spielberg, the greatest storyteller of our day, lead the way.”

 

Seven of Spielberg’s films appear across AFI‘s 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES lists – SCHINDLER’S LIST, E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, JAWS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE COLOR PURPLE and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. And in 1995, AFI awarded Spielberg with the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film.

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/AmericanFilm and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

afi_logo_official

(Source: AFI Press Release)

AFI AWARDS 2019 HONOREES ANNOUNCED

Posted by Larry Gleeson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Los Angeles, CA, December 4, 2019 — The American Film Screen Shot 2019-12-04 at 12.34.14 PMInstitute (AFI) announced today the recipients of AFI AWARDS 2019. Unique in its celebration of the film and television arts’ collaborative nature, AFI AWARDS – now in its 20thyear – is the only national program that honors creative teams as a whole, recognizing those in front of and behind the camera.

AFI AWARDS honorees include 10 outstanding films and 10 outstanding TV programs deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. In addition to the 20 honorees, AFI also recognizes PARASITE and FLEABAG with an AFI Special Award, designated for a work of excellence outside the Institute’s criteria for American film and television.

All of the honored works advance the art of the moving image, inspire audiences and artists alike, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form and make a mark on American society. When placed in an historical context, these stories provide a complex and rich visual record of our modern world.

 

AFI MOTION PICTURES OF THE YEAR

1917

THE FAREWELL

THE IRISHMAN

JOJO RABBIT

JOKER

KNIVES OUT

LITTLE WOMEN

MARRIAGE STORY

ONCE UPON A TIME IN…HOLLYWOOD

RICHARD JEWELL

SPECIAL AWARD

PARASITE

AFI TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR

CHERNOBYL

THE CROWN

FOSSE/VERDON

GAME OF THRONES

POSE

SUCCESSION

UNBELIEVABLE

VEEP

WATCHMEN

WHEN THEY SEE US

SPECIAL AWARD

FLEABAG

AFI AWARDS selections are made through a jury process where AFI Trustees, scholars, artists and critics determine the year’s most outstanding achievements and provide artistic and cultural context for the selection of each honoree.

This year’s juries — one for film and one for television — featured acclaimed artists including Emmy®-nominated actor John Amos, Emmy®-nominated director Lesli Linka Glatter, Oscar®-winning writer Callie Khouri, Tony-nominated actor Delroy Lindo and Emmy®-nominated director Betty Thomas; renowned authors and scholars representing prestigious universities with recognized motion picture arts and television programs; film historian Leonard Maltin; the AFI Board of Trustees; and film and television critics from media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, TV Guide and Variety. The juries were chaired by AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chairs Tom Pollock (former Vice Chairman of MCA, Chairman of Universal Pictures) for film and Richard Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) for television.

Honorees will gather on January 3, 2020, for recognition at the annual AFI AWARDS private luncheon in Los Angeles, CA — an event favored by the entertainment community for its informal intimacy and its inclusive acknowledgment of excellence.

The 2019 recipients join a distinguished group of previous AFI AWARDS honorees whose works define the art form and contribute to our rich cultural legacy. View all past AFI AWARDS honorees here.

The AFI AWARDS luncheon will be sponsored by Audi, a supporter of AFI and its programs for the past 16 years. The AFI AWARDS luncheon is also sponsored by American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI’s founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.

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 1.878 million vehicles globally in 2017. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 227,000 vehicles in 2017 and broke all-time company sales records for the eighth straight year. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

(Sourced from AFI press release)

 

 

Highlights at AFI FEST 2019 Presented by Audi

Posted by Larry Gleeson

C C Queen

Snoop

MelinaMatsoukas_Rihanna

On Thursday night, November 14th, 2019, AFI FEST presented by Audi opened with the star-studded World Premiere of QUEEN & SLIM, a modern re-telling of Bonnie & Clyde. Check out the AFI FEST recap of interviews with the film’s director, writer and stars on a blazing hot red carpet!

EVA LONGORIA

On Friday afternoon at the AFI Summit inside the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Eva Longoria and Dr. Stacy Smith, founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, had a frank and illuminating conversation on the erasure of Latinx in film and discussed a solutions-driven path forward. This is a must-see dialogue! A short-take read is HERE.

Marty

On Friday night, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese screened his latest film, THE IRISHMAN, at the TCL Chinese Theatre. The packed audience greeted the acclaimed master of storytelling with a standing ovation. Watch the interview!

Crown

Royalty descended on AFI FEST Saturday night, November 16th. Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Gillian Anderson and Jon Lithgow were among the stars who celebrated THE CROWN series creator and playwright Peter Morgan.

Lithgow Anderson

On Sunday, AFI FEST presented by Audi held a special screening of THE SONG OF NAMES, a film that spans generations and features a transcontinental journey in search of a beloved friend. We spoke with the film’s director François Girard, famed composer Howard Shore and Clive Owen on the red carpet.

Clemency_AD

Aldis Alfre

CLEMENCY director Chinonye Chukwu and stars Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge and Alex Castillo also walked the red carpet at AFI FEST!

 

Indie

In addition, on Sunday, the above Indie Contenders panelists shared stories about their latest films and the importance of festivals and independent filmmaking. “Film festivals are about story, and they’re about loving film.” Watch the full conversation now.

Jada Hala

Jada

Monday brought HALA. On the red carpet for HALA, executive producer Jada Pinkett Smith, writer/director Minhal Baig and actors Geraldine Viswanathan and Jack Kilmer spoke about breaking down stereotypes and finding identity. Watch the interviews!

THE TWO POPES convened at AFI FEST this past week as well. Director Fernando Meirelles, writer Anthony McCarten and stars Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce joined the congregation on the red carpet. See the interviews here!

Clint

On Wednesday, Hollywood stars came out in support of the world premiere of RICHARD JEWELL, the latest film from AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award® winner Clint Eastwood.

Clint Carpet

Watch AFI FEST’s red carpet interviews and highlights from the evening.

On Thursday, November 21st, 2019, he critically acclaimed film MARRIAGE STORY closed out AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi.

Marriage Story

Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach directed the incisive and compassionate look at a marriage coming apart and a family staying together. Baumbach and Dern delivered colorful remarks before the screening.

L Dern

 

Next year’s AFI FEST 2020 Will Take Place October 15-22. Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!

ME CARPET

AFI FEST 2019 WRAPS WITH AWARDS ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEW DATE FOR 2020

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Festival Announces Audience and Jury Award Winners 

AFI FEST 2020 Will Take Place October 15-22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Los Angeles, CA, November 22, 2019 — AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi announced today the films that received this year’s Jury and Audience awards. 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®. The Shorts jury was comprised of filmmakers Katrelle Kindred, Hannah Peterson and Davy Rothbart.

Highlights of the festival include Conversations with Peter Morgan and Martin Scorsese; the Indie Contenders and Doc Roundtables; a conversation with Eva Longoria and Dr. Stacy Smith on the Erasure of Latinx in Film; and a conversation with Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, and Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the AFI Institute.

Marty

 

Indie_Contenders

EVA LONGORIA

Ted_Serandos

AFI FEST 2020 will open on October 15 and close on October 22. World premieres, galas and special screenings reflecting the best in global cinema will take place at iconic theaters in Los Angeles.

Audience Award – Feature
I AM NOT ALONE (DIR Garin Hovannisian)

Capturing the fury, emotion, and spontaneous expressions of freedom that overtook the streets of Armenia in 2018, Garin Hovannisian’s fascinating eye-witness documentary affords a unique glimpse into a revolution-in-the-making by offering unprecedented access to the grassroots movement that dared to challenge an entrenched regime, as well as the regime’s leaders themselves.

Audience Award – Short

LOST & FOUND (DIR Orlando Von Einsiedel)

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.

Grand Jury Award – Live-Action Short

EXAM (DIR Sonia K. Hadad)

Jury Statement: “We are so excited to award the Grand Jury Prize to Sonia K. Hadad’s EXAM. EXAM stood out from the other films for its bold directorial style, anchored by a stunning lead performance. The result is a tense portrait that reaches past its specificity into the universal.”

A teenage girl delivers a package of cocaine to a client and gets caught in a weird cycle of events.

Special Jury Prize—Live Action

MTHUNZI (DIR Tebogo Malebogo)

Jury Statement: “Centered on a chance encounter, MTHUNZI gives an intimate and powerful glance into the intricacies of unconscious bias. Beautifully captured, grounded performances and daring choices on behalf of the filmmaker left the jury stirred by this gentle narrative.”

Mthunzi becomes caught up in a world he does not belong to while walking home from the shops.

Special Jury Prize—Live Action

LIBERTY (DIR Faren Humes)

Jury Statement: “First-time actors deliver breakthrough performances under the steady guidance of director Faren Humes in this absorbing and exquisite short. The jury was impressed by its kinetic energy, its economic storytelling, and its probing yet compassionate tone.”

Alex and Milagros deal with great life upheaval as they prepare to dance at their community’s redevelopment groundbreaking ceremony.

 Grand Jury Prize—Animation

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER (DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr)

Jury Statement: “We’re pleased to give the Grand Jury Prize in Animation to SOMETHING TO REMEMBER for its tender yet critical response to the world around us, and its perfect execution. This irresistible short transforms bittersweet anxieties into a modern lullaby — we couldn’t take our eyes off of it.”

 A lullaby before the great disaster.

Grand Jury Prize—Documentary (tie)

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA (DIR Sophia Nahli Allison)

Jury Statement: “We are honored to award the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary filmmaking to A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA. It’s haunting and poetic exploration of a young woman’s life cut tragically short allows its audience to experience an injustice long hidden by time and politics. This film is a portrait framed by beautiful imagery, loving recollection and astonishing storytelling that will linger with the audience long after the credit roll.”

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

Grand Jury Prize—Documentary (tie)

THE CLINIC (DIR Elivia Shaw)

Jury Statement: “A gripping, harrowing peek into one corner of a vast epidemic, Elivia Shaw’s THE CLINIC is striking for the sensitivity and nuance with which it treats its subjects — both the people who come to Dr. Marc Lashner’s mobile needle exchange looking for help, and the scrappy team of volunteers who do what they can to offer it.”

Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange and free clinic operate in the shadows of Fresno, California.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
This year’s festival showcased the best in global cinema due to the visionary support of Audi — now in its 16th consecutive year as Presenting Sponsor of the festival.

The complete AFI FEST program included 143 titles (81 features, 1 episodic, 40 shorts, 21 AFI Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% were directed by women. This year’s program represented 52 countries and included 8 official International Feature Film Oscar® submissions as well as 3 World Premieres. The total film breakdown by section was: Galas (6), Tributes (5), Special Screenings (9), New Auteurs (24), World Cinema (16), Midnight (2), Cinema’s Legacy (5), Documentary Films & Encore Screenings (15), Short Films (40) and AFI Conservatory Showcase (21).

The many highlights of the festival include Conversations with Peter Morgan and Martin Scorsese; the Indie Contenders Roundtable with Awkwafina (THE FAREWELL), Sterling K. Brown (WAVES), Cynthia Erivo (HARRIET), Jimmie Fails (THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO), Jon Hamm (THE REPORT), Florence Pugh (FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY and MIDSOMMAR), Kerry Washington (AMERICAN SON) and Alfre Woodard (CLEMENCY); the Doc Roundtable with filmmakers Alex Gibney (CITIZEN K), Eva Orner (BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR), Steven Bognar (AMERICAN FACTORY), Roger Ross Williams (THE APOLLO), Feras Fayyad (THE CAVE), Waad Al-Kateab (FOR SAMA), Lauren Greenfield (THE KINGMAKER) and Nanfu Wang (ONE CHILD NATION); a conversation with Eva Longoria and Dr. Stacy Smith on the Erasure of Latinx in Film and a conversation with Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, and Suan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the AFI Institute, exclusively for the AFI Fellows.

Additional guests and artists who attended the festival included Mahershala Ali, Gillian Anderson, Kathy Bates, Noah Baumbach, Beyoncé, Helena Bonham Carter, Simone Boyce, James. L. Brooks, Chinonye Chukwu, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Olivia Colman, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Laura Dern, Mati Diop, Snoop Dogg, Erin Doherty, Clint Eastwood, Flea, Harrison Ford, François Girard, Tom Harper, Paul Walter Hauser, Aldis Hodge, Joshua Jackson, Daniel Kaluuya, Jack Kilmer, John Lithgow, Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005), Fernando Meirelles, Tobias Menzies, Josh O’Connor, Edward James Olmos, Clive Owen, Dev Patel, Natalie Portman, Rob Reiner, Rihanna, Sam Rockwell, Evan Ross, Tracey Ellis Ross, Kelly Rowland, Howard Shore, Molly Sims, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bryan Stevenson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Chuck Todd, Maryam Touzani, Jodie Turner-Ross, Lena Waithe, Tallulah Belle Willis, and Zendaya.

Audi was the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors included Apple, 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/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 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: AFI FEST press release)

Today’s Hot Ticket at AFI FEST!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Emerging Hollywood executives discuss their career paths, current work/creative partnerships and the future of diverse content across entertainment platforms with moderator Brickson Diamond, CEO of Big Answers, LLC and founding board member and chair of The Blackhouse Foundation at today’s AFI FEST sponsored by Audi 2019 SUMMIT.

Panelists include Deniese Davis, Producer at Issa Rae Productions and COO of ColorCreative; Elizabeth Polk, who leads the Original Independent Film Business & Legal Affairs Team at Netflix; Amber Rasberry, Vice President, Development for Paramount Players; and Mark R. Wright, Executive in the film group at MACRO.

Get tickets HERE while they last!

(Source: AFI press room)

 

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)

 

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, for an insightful and informative talk on the culturally relevant issue of film’s role in shaping LatinX stereotypes at the The Erasure of LatinX as part of this year’s AFI SUMMIT at the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom, Friday, November 15th. AFI FEST, presented 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 Hollywood 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 from 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, presented 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!