Big news comes from AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi! Will Smith‘s NFL-medical drama, Concussion, will be the Centerpiece Gala at AFI on November 10, 2015 and the Gala will serve as the film’s World Premiere. I just recently put Smith in my Best Actor five, thinking Concussion could be a big player. Sony Pictures could certainly swing at least some buzz for Smith. Maybe I’m right?
Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world. The film, a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures, is written and directed by Peter Landesman, based on the GQ article “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, and produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman, and Elizabeth Cantillon.
Check out the rest of the press release below:
The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that the World Premiere of Sony Pictures’ CONCUSSION, starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith, written and directed by Peter Landesman, and produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman and Elizabeth Cantillon will be the Centerpiece Gala of AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi. The honored event will take place at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on Tuesday, November 10. Available now at AFI.com are festival passes for purchase, which ensure reserved seats for sold-out Galas and other high-demand films and events. The Centerpiece Gala is the third announced World Premiere at AFI FEST.
“AFI FEST is for movie lovers who understand and appreciate the power of stories on the big screen. CONCUSSION packs that punch by shining a light on a topic that has caught the country’s attention, here expertly expressed through the direction of Peter Landesman and an unforgettable performance by Will Smith. We are proud to present the World Premiere of CONCUSSION as a Centerpiece Gala at AFI FEST,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, director, AFI FEST.
“AFI FEST is the perfect stage to unveil CONCUSSION, and we are privileged to have been chosen as the Centerpiece Gala,” said Ridley Scott and Giannina Scott, two of the film’s producers. “CONCUSSION is a powerful and uncompromising film about an issue that was ignored for far too long and continues to play out today. It’s a story that had to be told, and we were determined to tell it right.”
“Although the film doesn’t open until Christmas, with all of the recent debate about it, we are excited to show it sooner so that the discussion can be more informed,” added Tom Rothman, chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. “CONCUSSION is a great American immigrant story. An outsider, whose greatest aspiration is to belong, takes on an American corporate Goliath at incredible personal risk. His only weapon is the knowledge that he is right and his belief that in America, truth will prevail. We are so grateful to AFI FEST for giving us this opportunity.”
As previously announced, the Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of BY THE SEA (DIR Angelina Jolie Pitt) on Thursday, November 5 and the Closing Night Gala will be the World Premiere of THE BIG SHORT (DIR Adam McKay) on Thursday, November 12. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October. The 29th edition of AFI FEST takes place November 5–12, 2015, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings and Galas will be held at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian and the Hollywood Roosevelt.
AFI FEST remains the only global event of its caliber to offer free individual tickets to screenings and events as a gift to the community. These free tickets will be available to the general public online at AFI.com beginning Monday, October 26. Available for purchase now at AFI.com are AFI FEST Patron Packages and Express Passes â€” which can include access to sold-out Galas and other high-demand films and events.
As part of their membership benefit, AFI members will receive a complimentary AFI FEST Cinepass, which allows access to all regular screenings at this year’s festival. Additionally, AFI members at the Two-Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all AFI FEST Patron Packages and Express Passes. Information about AFI membership is available at AFI.com/membership.
For the 12th consecutive year, AFI FEST is proud to have Audi as the presenting sponsor. Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI. The festival’s venue sponsors include Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatres, the Hollywood & Highland Center, the Hollywood Roosevelt and the Egyptian Theatre.