Another full day at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival with second screenings of Cooper Raif’s Cha Cha Real Smooth, a far-reaching, exquisitely cinematic effort, and Descendant, a documentary from Margaret Brown delving into the Clotilda, a renegade slave ship from 1859 that ensnared 150 Africans and brought them up into the Mobile River then was burned to hide the illegal run. Efforts were made to keep any and all references to the voyage hidden. The descendants from the Clotilda settled into an area known as Africatown and managed to keep their story alive primarily via the oral tradition.
Brown also reveals the enduring power imbalance that persists between the descendants of Timothy Meaher, the man who chartered the illegal expedition, and the descendants of those who were enslaved aboard it.
Cha Cha Real Smooth, like its central character, Andrew, portrayed by Raif, struggles to find its footing. Nevertheless, it is a sweetly sentimental story with a strong production design with a bountiful color pallette. Raif writes, directs, and stars with significant support from seasoned pros Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann, and Brad Garrett. Raif is a remarkable talent comparable to the young Canadian filmmaker extraordinaire, Xavier Dolan. Of note, this is Dakota Johnson’s third film of the year (Lost Daughter premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival) and her second Sundance film, following the highly compelling and well-executed story, Am I OK? from Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allyne. Stay tuned for more on Am I OK?
LOS ANGELES, CA – Actors John Cho and Leslie Mann will host the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 11, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. They will present 18 awards to 34 individual recipients, as well as five organizations, during the evening.
“We’re so excited to have John and Leslie join us as hosts for this year’s Scientific and Technical Awards,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “It’s one of our favorite, and most talked about, events each Oscar® season, and John and Leslie’s humor and refreshing take on the honorees will be a perfect addition to a night where we celebrate our colleagues’ groundbreaking scientific and technical achievements.”
Cho most recently starred in the summer blockbuster “Star Trek Beyond.” His other credits include “Grandma,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and “American Pie.” He also appeared in the 1999 Best Picture Oscar winner “American Beauty.”
Mann can currently be seen starring alongside Robert De Niro in Taylor Hackford’s “The Comedian.” Her feature film credits include “How to Be Single,” “The Other Woman,” “This Is 40” and “Knocked Up,” as well as the animated features “Rio 2” and the Oscar-nominated “ParaNorman.”
Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation will be included in the Oscar telecast.
The 89th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
The Special Screenings section of AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi includes three World Premieres and four additional highly anticipated films. The World Premiere of the CG-animated film MOANA (DIRS Ron Clements, John Musker) will play in the Special Screenings section, along with BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS (DIRS Fisher Stevens, Alexis Bloom), LION (DIR Garth Davis), PATERSON (DIR Jim Jarmusch) and TONI ERDMANN (DIR Maren Ade). Also bowing as Special Screenings will be the World Premieres of MISS SLOANE (DIR John Madden) and, as previously announced, THE COMEDIAN (DIR Taylor Hackford).
About BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS
This documentary is a revealing portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity. Two golden ages of American cinema are explored through the bittersweet relationship of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds. DIRS Fisher Stevens, Alexis Bloom. CAST Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher. USA
About THE COMEDIAN
An aging comic icon, Jackie has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother and his wife, Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul, and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences. DIR Taylor Hackford. SCR Art Linson. CAST Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone, Harvey Keitel. USA. World Premiere.
Twenty-five years after getting lost on a train and separated from his home and family, Saroo (Dev Patel) returns to India to find them. DIR Garth Davis. SCR Luke Davies. CAST Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Sunny Pawar, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Deepti Naval, Divian Ladwa, Pallavi Sharda, Arka Das. Australia
About MISS SLOANE
In the high-stakes world of political power brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought-after and formidable lobbyist in DC. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price. DIR John Madden. SCR Jonathan Perera. CAST Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy. USA. World Premiere
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. DIRS Ron Clements, John Musker. SCR Jared Bush. CAST Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson. USA. World Premiere
In Jim Jarmusch’s latest, Adam Driver stars as a working-class poet and bus driver living a routine existence, and finding beauty in the details of everyday life. DIR Jim Jarmusch. SCR Jim Jarmusch. CAST Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani. USA
About TONI ERDMANN
The smash hit of this year’s Cannes Film Festival centers on a workaholic woman who must deal with her father’s eccentric new identity when he comes to stay. DIR Maren Ade. SCR Maren Ade. CAST Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Ingrid Bisu, Vlad Ivanov, Victoria Cocias. Germany
Tickets to Special Screenings will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.
The World Premiere of THE COMEDIAN from Sony Pictures Classics and Cinelou Films will play as a Special Screening of AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. The film stars Oscar® winner Robert De Niro, along with Leslie Mann, Oscar® nominee Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Oscar® winner Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone and Oscar® nominee Harvey Keitel. Written by Art Linson, directed by Oscar® winner Taylor Hackford and produced by Art Linson, John Linson, Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon and Taylor Hackford.
In THE COMEDIAN, an aging comic icon, Jackie (De Niro) has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother (DeVito) and his wife (LuPone), Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets Harmony (Mann), the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul (Keitel), and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences.THE COMEDIAN will screen on Friday, November 11, at the Egyptian Theatre.
AFI FEST takes place November 10–17, 2016, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.
Go to AFI.com for details to purchase Patron Packages, which include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events. Individual tickets will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.