AFI FEST Announces Galas, Tribute and Special Screenings
THE AERONAUTS, THE TWO POPES round out the Gala Section.
Special Screenings include CLEMENCY with A Conversation with Alfre Woodard, JUST MERCY and BLACKBIRD
Tribute to Alan J. Pakula Added to Festival Line-Up
AFI FEST presented by Audi announced Gala presentations of Netflix’s THE TWO POPES and Amazon Studios’ THE AERONAUTS. THE TWO POPES is a riveting exploration of faith and power. Directed by Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD) and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, the film will screen on Nov. 18. THE AERONAUTS stars Eddie Redmayne as a pioneering meteorologist and Felicity Jones as a daredevil balloonist who push the boundaries of their physical limitations in pursuit of furthering scientific discoveries. This historical drama will have its Gala presentation on Nov. 19. All Galas will take place at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
This year’s Tribute honors famed producer and director Alan J. Pakula, creator of some of the most iconic films of the 60s, 70s and 80s. 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).
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 full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled later this month.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Photo: The Aeronauts