Sat. Nov 16th, 2019

AFI FEST 2019 announces final Galas (‘The Aeronauts,’ ‘The Two Popes’), Alan J. Pakula Tribute, special screenings

Special Screenings include CLEMENCY including A Conversation with Alfre Woodard, JUST MERCY, ATLANTICS, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE and BLACKBIRD

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 Pryce will 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

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. 

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.

(Courtesy of AFI FEST)

TRIBUTE 

ALAN J. PAKULA

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

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

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

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.  

(Courtesy of Neon)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS 

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

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

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

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 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.

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. 

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 on Thursday, November 14 with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumn 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.

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