October 10, 2017, Los Angeles, CA — Today, the American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi will open with the Netflix film “Mudbound.” Directed by Dee Rees and co-written by Virgil Williams and Rees, the historical period drama features cinematography by AFI Conservatory alumna Rachel Morrison (Class of 2006). The film stars Academy Award®nominee Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan. The Opening Night Gala will take place on Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
“‘Mudbound’ will launch eight exhilarating days of great movies, filmmakers and discovery in the heart of Hollywood,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, Director, AFI FEST. “Emblematic of what AFI FEST is, director Dee Rees’ film is rich with cinematic artistry — exemplifying storytelling at its finest, on both an epic and a human scale.”
ABOUT THE FILM
Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta.
“Mudbound” follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige) — sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations — struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face.
The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.
“Mudbound” will be in select theaters and on Netflix on November 17, 2017.
AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED
AFI FEST takes place November 9–16, 2017 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 on Friday, October 27. Free tickets will be available on AFI.com/AFIFEST on Wednesday, November 1.
This year, AFI FEST will present a retrospective of the work of Robert Altman (1925–2006), with screenings and discussions of 12 films: “M*A*S*H (1970),” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971),” “The Long Goodbye (1973),” “California Split (1974),” “Nashville (1975),” “3 Women (1977),” “Vincent & Theo (1990),” “The Player (1992),” “Short Cuts (1993),” “Kansas City (1996),” “Gosford Park (2001)” and “A Prairie Home Companion (2006).”
New educational experiences taking place as part of the festival this year include an AFI FEST Storytelling Bootcamp for Los Angeles Unified School District students.
AFI FEST will once again bring the best in global cinema to Los Angeles thanks to the visionary support of Audi — now in its 14th consecutive year as presenting sponsor of the festival. An enduring champion of the motion picture arts, Audi nurtures new and established voices through its support of AFI FEST and beyond, including the Audi Fellowship for Women at the AFI Conservatory, a new full-tuition scholarship investing in the future of female directors in film and television.
Patron packages ensure reserved seats for Opening Night, and all proceeds benefit the educational programs of the American Film Institute. A limited number of individual tickets to Opening Night and other screenings are also made available at no charge thanks to the event sponsors. Go to AFI.com now to purchase Patron Packages, which can include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events.
As part of their membership benefits, AFI members will receive a complimentary AFI FEST Cinepass, which allows access to all regular screenings and special offers 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.
Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2017. Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.
About the American Film Institute
Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission 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. Established by Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential mandate in the White House Rose Garden, AFI is America’s promise to educate today’s audiences and tomorrow’s artists. The Institute was anchored by a foundation of luminaries from the film community including Gregory Peck as Chair, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chair, George Stevens, Jr., as Director and CEO with board members Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.
In 1969, AFI opened the Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, an elite MFA program whose inaugural class included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. The program’s acclaimed film and television alumni include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.
In addition to the AFI Conservatory, AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, and youtube.com/AFI.
About AFI FEST presented by Audi
A program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a celebration of global cinema and today’s Hollywood — a showcase for the best festival films of the year and an opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to come together with audiences in the movie capital of the world. Celebrating its 31st edition, AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for both Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®. This year’s edition takes place November 9–16, 2017. 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.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. The Audi Group is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. In 2016, AUDI AG delivered about 1.871 million Audi automobiles and broke all-time company sales records for the seventh straight year in the U.S. Visit www.audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.