The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the films that will play in the New Auteurs, Cinema's Legacy, Midnight, Shorts and AFI Conservatory Showcase sections at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, completing the festival's program.
The complete AFI FEST program includes 142 titles (80 features, 1 episodic, 40 shorts, 21 AFI Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% are directed by women. This year's program represents 52 countries, and includes 8 official International Feature Film Oscar® submissions as well as 4 World Premieres. The total film breakdown by section is: Galas (6), Alan J. Pakula Tribute (4), Special Screenings (8), New Auteurs (24), World Cinema (16), Midnight (2), Cinema's Legacy (5), Documentary Films & Encore Screenings (16), Short Films (40) and AFI Conservatory Showcase (21).
Highlighting emerging directors, New Auteurs is the festival's platform for internationally diverse new filmmakers to showcase their latest films. This year, the section is comprised of 24 films, with 17 helmed by female filmmakers. The section includes two official International Feature Film Oscar® submissions screening at this year’s festival: Morocco’s ADAM (Dir Maryan Touzani) and Russia’s BEANPOLE (Dir Kantemir Balagov).
In this year’s Cinema's Legacy program, AFI FEST turns the spotlight to the men and women behind the lens. This section is a celebration of motion picture history and a special opportunity to celebrate classic films, and those who created them. The section features three documentaries on renowned filmmakers, FORMAN V FORMAN (DIR Helena Trestikova, Jakub Hejna), HE DREAMS OF GIANTS (DIR Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe) and VARDA BY AGNÈS (DIR Agnès Varda). In addition, TALKING ABOUT TREES (DIR Suhaib Gasmelbari), a documentary on the history of Sudanese cinema, as well as ROMANTIC COMEDY (DIR Elizabeth Sankey), an examination of the popular genre and its effect on the culture at-large, are included in Cinema's Legacy.
The Midnight section features the chilling and provocative genre films JALLIKATTU (DIR Lijo Jose Pellissery) and SAINT MAUD (DIR Rose Glass).
The Shorts section includes 40 films from filmmakers from all over the world, showcasing their distinct international viewpoints. As the only juried section of the festival, the Grand Jury Award winners for Live Action and Animated Short will be eligible for the 2020 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®. This year’s Shorts section will include screenings of two out-of-competition films from this year’s Meet the Press Film Festival with AFI, FIRE IN PARADISE followed by a conversation with the filmmakers moderated by Chuck Todd, Meet the Press Moderator and NBC News Political Director, and MACK WRESTLES. The Shorts jury is comprised of filmmakers Katrelle Kindred, Hannah Peterson and Dvay Rothbart.
New to AFI FEST is the inaugural AFI Conservatory Showcase. This collection of 21 short fiction films from the AFI Conservatory features an array of voices and styles and the five 2019 Student Academy Award® finalists, including all three winners in the Narrative (Domestic) category.
Individual tickets are now available for purchase exclusively for AFI members and will be made available for the general public on October 30. Passes are now available for all at Fest.AFI.com.
Samia, heavily pregnant and alone, wanders through Casablanca, seeking shelter until Abla, a single mother, reluctantly takes her in. As the women discover each other’s inner struggles, their lives are transformed. A film festival darling, Maryam Touzani’s debut feature crafts a delicate tale of love through a confident female gaze. DIR Maryan Touzani. SCR Maryan Touzani. CAST Lubna Azabal, Nisrin Erradi, Douae Belkhaouda. Morocco, France
ANNE AT 13,000 FT
Anne works at a Toronto daycare with her best friend Sarah. Most of her interactions are awkward and erratic. When Anne goes skydiving for Sarah’s bachelorette party, it becomes a tipping point for her mental fragility in this intimate portrait of a volatile, young woman struggling to find her place in society. DIR Kazik Radwanski. SCR Kazik Radwanski. CAST Deragh Campbell, Matt Johnson, Dorothea Paas, Lawrene Denkers. Canada
In BABYTEETH Milla falls in love with Moses, a quirky, smalltime drug dealer. Their relationship blooms despite Milla’s rapid decline in health, igniting in her a new fervor for life. Director Shannon Murphy’s stunning debut feature is disarmingly honest and reveals the complexities of confronting mortality while celebrating life. DIR Shannon Murphy. SCR Rita Kalnejais. CAST Eliza Scanlen, Toby Wallace, Emily Barclay, Eugene Gilfedder, Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn. Australia
Two tenacious women in the post-siege ruins of 1945 Leningrad fight to rebuild their lives, in Kantemir Balagov's loose adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich's “The Unwomanly Face of War.” Balagov won the Best Director Award in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film. DIR Kantemir Balagov. SCR Kantemir Balagov, Aleksandr Terekhov. CAST Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina. Russia
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
After the death of their mother, the Connelly sisters discover and navigate secrets of murder, sex and crime in their sleepy, New England fishing town. This clever debut features a dynamic female ensemble cast and beautifully blends the best of dark comedy and noir. DIR Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy. SCR Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole. CAST Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale, June Squibb, Will Brittain, Gayle Rankin, Annette O'Toole. USA
THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN
Young, pregnant and barefoot in the street, Rosie is being accosted by her boyfriend when Aila comes to her aid. The two women immediately bond and the resulting unique afternoon is a cinematic wonder echoing the classic works of feminist cinema. DIR Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn. SCR Kathleen Hepburn, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. CAST Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Violet Nelson, Barbara Eve Harris, Charlie Hannah, Jay Cardinal Villenueve. Canada, Norway
FAMILY MEMBERS (LOS MIEMBROS DE LA FAMILIA)
After the death of their mother, siblings Gilda and Lucas reluctantly return to their quiet coastal hometown to scatter her remains in the ocean but are unable to make the quick retreat they had hoped for. With this sudden and unexpected reunion, they find boredom is more readily surmountable than grief and difficult conversations remain just out of reach. DIR Mateo Bendesky. SCR Mateo Bendesky. CAST Tomas Wicz, Laila Maltz, Alejandro Russek. Argentina
Writer/director Minhal Baig breathes new life into the classic American high school coming of age story. In the masterfully crafted story of Hala, a first-generation Pakistani-American teenager, brilliantly played by Geraldine Viswanathan (BLOCKERS), Hala navigates the treacherous terrain between religiously conservative parents and her own burgeoning sexuality and independence. DIR Minhal Baig. SCR Minhal Baig. CAST Geraldine Viswanathan, Jack Kilmer, Gabriel Luna, Purbi Joshi, Azad Khan, Anna Chlumsky. USA
IDOL (WOO SANG)
A fatal hit-and-run accident marks one family’s devastating loss and another’s downward moral spiral in Lee Su-Jin’s luridly satisfying revenge thriller set against the backdrop of a corrupt Korean political landscape. Ambition, lust, and greed know no bounds in this cat-and-mouse neo-noir puzzle that continually remains one step ahead of the audience. DIR Su-jin Lee. SCR Su-jin Lee. CAST Seok-kyu Han, Kyung-gu Sul, Woo-hee Chun. South Korea
IVANA THE TERRIBLE
Enlisting former lovers, family members and friends to portray semi-fictionalized versions of themselves, Ivana returns home to recover from a mysterious illness, but becomes the source of gossip when seen with a younger man. At once charming and combative, Ivana Mladenovi? is a pleasure to watch as she hurls insults at loved ones. DIR Ivana Mladenovi?. SCR Ivana Mladenovi?, Adrian Schiop. CAST Ivana Mladenovi?, Luka Grami?, Gordana Mladenovi?, Miodrag Mladenovi?, Kosta Mladenovi?, Zivka Sorejevic, Andrei Dinescu, Anca Pop. Romania, Serbia
KNIVES AND SKIN
A hit at the Berlinale and Tribeca Film Festivals, Jennifer Reeder’s electric feature debut KNIVES AND SKIN uses pop music and magical realism to tell the story of a missing high school girl and the quiet, suburban town thrown into disarray following her disappearance. DIR Jennifer Reeder. SCR Jennifer Reeder CAST Marika Engelhardt, Audrey Francis, Tim Hopper, Kate Arrington, James Vincent Meredith, Ireon Roach, Ty Olwin, Grace Smith, Kayla Carter, Robert T. Cunningham, Emma Ladji, Jalen Gilbert, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Tony Fitzpatrick, Raven Whitley. USA
THE LAST TO SEE THEM (GLI ULTIMI A VEDERLI VIVERE)
Dripping with menace and fraught with tension, this formalist film is a lovely and incredibly sad testimony to real people in the last moments of their lives. Being witness to the everyday and mundane, you get an honest sense of who they are, how they feel, just from sparse dialogue and simple unadorned actions. DIR Sara Summa. SCR Sara Summa. CAST Barbara Verrastro, Pasquale Lioi, Canio Lancellotti, Donatella Viola. Germany
Olivia is an undocumented Filipina trans woman and the home health aide for Olga. Alex, Olga's grandson, is just back from rehab and trying to get his life together. The two have enough going on to need a budding relationship. But that’s not how fate works. DIR Isabel Sandoval. SCR Isabel Sandoval. CAST Isabel Sandoval, Eamon Farren, Ivory Aquino, Lev Gorn, Lynn Cohen. USA, Philippines
LOVE ME TENDER
Agoraphobic Seconda (Barbara Giordano) is confined to her family apartment — until her home life is suddenly upended and she is forced to reckon with the outside world. This original and idiosyncratic film from Swiss filmmaker Klaudia Reynicke follows a non-conforming, eccentric young woman forced to fight for her independence. DIR Klaudia Reynicke. SCR Klaudia Reynicke. CAST Barbara Giordano, Antonio Bannò, Gilles Privat, Maurizio Tabani, Anna Galante, Federica Vermiglio. Switzerland
Teenage mothers, Lu and Fati, live in a Catholic-based shelter in Buenos Aires with their children. One day, novice Sister Paola, conflicted by her own unresolved desires, arrives before taking her final vows and soon the complexities and resilience of motherhood will be tested by each woman in this understated drama. DIR Maura Delpero. SCR Maura Delpero. CAST Lidiya Liberman, Denise Carrizo, Agustina Malale, Isabella Cilia, Alan Rivas, Livia Fernán, Marta Lubos, Renata Palminiello. Italy
MS SLAVIC 7
Indiscriminately housed in the Harvard Houghton Library is a collection of letters between author Jozef Wittlin and poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa, retrievable using call number MS Slavic 7. Bohdanowiczowa’s granddaughter – Deragh Campbell in one of two dynamic performances at AFI FEST 2019 – is determined to investigate but comes up against unanticipated obstacles. DIR Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. SCR Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. CAST Deragh Campbell, Elizabeth Rucker, Mariusz Sibiga, Aaron Danby. Canada
91-year-old Viennese Robert just wants to bury his dead dog. Young Adib is hired for the job but won’t be taken advantage of. Will these two men be able to connect, or will brotherly love be forever severed? DIR Karl Markovics. SCR Karl Markovics. CAST Heinz Trixner, Borhanulddin Hassan Zadeh, Konstanze Dutzi. Austria
PATRICK (DE PATRICK)
Patrick has lost his hammer (and also his father.) Now left at the helm of the family business, a naturalist camp, his stress is quickly multiplying. Obsessed, Patrick discovers that everyone is a suspect, while searching for his beloved tool. Below the absurd surface lies a humorous and touching story about loss and grief. DIR Tim Mielants. SCR Tim Mielants, Benjamin Sprengers. CAST Kevin Janssens, Pierre Bokma, Katelijne Damen, Hannah Hoekstra, Jemaine Clement. Germany
Written, directed, produced and starring Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder, THE PLANTERS is a dark comedy about a reclusive telemarketer who befriends a homeless woman with multiple personalities. DIR Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder. SCR Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder. CAST Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder, Phil Parolisi, Pepe Serna. USA
Rocks has big dreams and enjoys hanging out with her all-girl crew. One day, her troubled, single mother disappears, leaving Rocks responsible for younger brother Emmanuel and causing her to push away her community. Employing a collaborative process with female youth, director Sarah Gavron crafts an authentic and compassionate portrait of girlhood. DIR Sarah Gavron. SCR Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson. CAST Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D'angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes, Tawheda Begum, Anastasia Dymitrow, Afi Okaidja, Sarah Niles. UK
THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS (HIRUK-PIKUK SI-ALKISAH)
Indonesia, 1960s. Siman unintentionally witnesses a foreign crew filming a fake moon landing. Discovered, he’s punished by having his tongue cut off, forcing him into silence. Siman moves through life in slow-motion, imitating astronauts. A daring, hypnotic drama, THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS explores the mysterious political conflict of Indonesia’s history. DIR Yosep Anggi Noen. SCR Yosep Anggi Noen. CAST Gunawan Maryanto, Ecky Lamoh,Yudi Ahmad Tajudin, Tupon Rusini, Alex Suhendra, Gun Lukman Sardi, Marissa Anita, Asmara Abigail. Indonesia, Malaysia, France
SELAH AND THE SPADES
At Haldwell, an elite boarding school, five factions run student life. Selah Summer leads the Spades, the most powerful faction, conducting all underground drugs and alcohol sales on campus. Having made her way to power, Selah won’t back down to rivals or threats. This sharp, fresh and unapologetic debut fiercely captures the pressures of modern youth. DIR Tayarisha Poe. SCR Tayarisha Poe. CAST Lovie Simone, Celeste O'Connor, Jharrel Jerome, Gina Torres, Jesse Williams. USA
SONG WITHOUT A NAME (CANCION SIN NOMBRE)
Discouraged after attempting to engage the police, an indigenous woman whose newborn is kidnapped in a child-trafficking scheme persuades a journalist to investigate. An astoundingly assured debut, SONG WITHOUT A NAME’s meticulous black and white cinematography imparts a richness of texture and a luminescent glow, seeing an exquisite beauty in even the bleakest of realities. DIR Melina Léon. SCR Melina Léon, Michael J. White. CAST Pamela Mendoza Arpi, Tommy Páraga, Lucio Rojas, Maykol Hernández, Lidia Quispe. Peru, Spain, USA, Chile
WELCOME TO THE USA
After winning the US green card lottery, 36-year-old Aliya has to tell her family and friends. Director Assel Aushakimova’s WELCOME TO THE USA is a quiet, powerful film that shares a slice of Kazakhstani city life and the semi-hidden existence of the LGBTQ community in Almaty. DIR Assel Aushakimova. SCR Assel Aushakimova. CAST Saltanat Nauruz, Aida Zhetpissova, Dinara Aliyeva, Daniyar Beisov, Kul-Sara, Sultana Bektasova. Kazakhstan. World Premiere
In the tropical Indian state of Kerala, a buffalo escapes. Soon, all hell breaks loose as an entire village tries to wrestle it under control. A teeming world of base human behavior is also unleashed in this unique, adrenaline-fueled, brilliantly assembled and highly experiential spectacle that pulsates with energy from start-to-finish.
DIR Lijo Jose Pellissery. SCR S Hareeesh, R Jayakumar. CAST Anthony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad, Santhy Balachandran. India
Maud, a reclusive nurse with a traumatic past, takes the task of hospice care for her new patient, Amanda, very seriously – she is determined to save Amanda’s soul from the devil. A sharp, striking debut, this psychological horror story of religious devotion will make you shiver long after leaving the theater. DIR Rose Glass. SCR Rose Glass. CAST Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle Lily Frazer, Lily Knight, Marcus Hutton, Turlough Convery, Rosie Sansom, Carl Prekopp, Jonathan Milshaw, Noa Bodner, Rosie Sansom. UK
FORMAN VS. FORMAN
When the great Milos Forman died in 2018, he left behind a unique legacy that includes being a pioneer of the Czech New Wave and the daring Oscar®-winning director of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and AMADEUS. This eye-opening portrait offers an intimate look at one of Hollywood’s most important filmmakers. DIR Helena Trestikova, Jakub Hejna. SCR Helena Trestikova. Czech Republic, France.
HE DREAMS OF GIANTS
Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s irresistibly entertaining 2002 documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA shadowed celebrated director Terry Gilliam throughout his ill-fated production of THE MAN WHO KILLED QUIXOTE. 17 years later, Gilliam’s quest resumes, once again with Fulton and Pepe in tow. Will Gilliam succeed at last or is he just tilting at windmills? DIR Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe. FEATURING Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Pryce, Adam Driver. UK.
Take a trip through your favorite Romantic Comedies with artist and writer Elizabeth Sankey as she examines the common tropes of the genre and how they have shaped not only cultural conversations but the actual psychological makeup of the filmmaker herself. An outstanding intellectual and revealing debut, this film will be your next crush. DIR Elizabeth Sankey. SCR Elizabeth Sankey. FEATURING Jessica Barden, Cameron Cook, Anne T. Donahue, Simran Hans, Brodie Lancaster, Charlie Lyne, Eleanor McDowall, Laura Snapes. UK.
TALKING ABOUT TREES
A crash course in the history of Sudanese cinema and a delightful ode to lifelong friendships, TALKING ABOUT TREES features the irrepressible foursome of Ibrahim, Suliman, Manar and Eltayeb, filmmakers and members of the Sudanese Film Group. Winner, Documentary Jury Award and Panorama Documentary Audience Award, 2019 Berlin Film Festival. DIR Suhaib Gasmelbari. SCR Suhaib Gasmelbari. FEATURING Suleiman Ibrahim, Ibrahim Shaddad. France, Sudan, Chad, Germany, Qatar
VARDA BY AGNÈS
Concluding a series of insightful personal documentaries by French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda, this personally guided cinematic tour incorporates film, installations and photography, offering original concepts and anecdotes that will enrich their impact to those familiar and provide a welcome introduction to the uninitiated. DIR Agnès Varda. SCR Agnès Varda. France
Lucía, twenty-five years old, leaves handball training and sets off to pick up her brother under the lights of a city she thinks she knows. DIR Álvaro Gago. SCR Álvaro Gago. CAST Cris Iglesias, Javier Valcarce, Fran Pérez, Diego Abal, Ruth Boente, Martín Duplá. Spain
When a company covers up the death of Reonghee, her fellow undocumented worker searches for her body in hopes of giving her the funeral she deserves. DIR Jegwang Yeon. SCR Jegwang Yeon, Park Woosang. South Korea
Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. DIR Dekel Berenson. SCR Dekel Berenson. Ukraine
A dynamic take on the life of Syrian refugees told through dark comedy. DIR Soudade Kaadan. SCR Soudade Kaadan, May Hayek. CAST Caress Bashar, Abdel Moneim Amayri. Syria
BLACK BUS STOP
Students reclaim a popular gathering spot on the campus of the University of Virginia. Under the glare of the moonlight, black fraternity and sorority members repossess hallowed grounds as they sway to the rhythms and memories of the past. DIR Kevin Jerome Everson, Claudrena N. Harold. FEATURING Jordan Maia, Tiara Sparrow, Kevin Adams, Zakia Alomari, Alexis Artis, Briana Bradham, Cordell Burgess, Kris Coachman, Raelo Edmund, Komi Galli, Nana Bilkisu Habib, Natasha Hallaran, Taji Harris, Nicole Jefferson, Maya Johnson, Kendall Jordan, Taylor Lamb, Jordan Maia, Morgan Miller, Tiffany Moore, Chelsea Ofori, Xhosa Scott, Erik Patton-Scott, Markiana Smith, Paige Taul, Victoria Tucker, Melvin Walker, Micah Watson, Allen Williams, Hidayah Williams, Jessica Williams, Jasmine Zollar. USA
A middle-aged woman and her son visit her late husband’s grave in a former fishing village she hasn’t been to in decades. In the cemetery on the sandy dunes, they wander around for a long time without finding the headstone. Has her memory eroded, or has the grave been concealed somewhere underneath the green grass of the new golf courses? It’s true, for the nouveau riche, land for the living to play on is better than land for the dead to rest at. DIR Ph?m Ng?c Lân. SCR Ph?m Ng?c Lân. CAST Minh Châu, Hoàng Hà, Thùy Anh, Huy Ti?n. Vietnam
A young woman and a female bed bug form an unlikely bond while contending with toxic masculinity. DIR Emily Ann Hoffman. SCR Emily Ann Hoffman. CAST Ruby McCollister, Chet Siegel, Jonathan Randell Silver. USA
THE BURNING BUSH (???? ?????)
Danny mourns the lost love to her ex-girlfriend, symbolized by a small plant. Danny's mother wants her daughter to bury the memories, but when the dust settles something more powerful remains, which will not die. DIR Noam Greif. SCR Noam Greif. CAST Inbal Lehavi, Irit Sheleg, Na'ama Amit. Israel
Five women highlight the perverse way in which society looks at them. DIR Camila Kater. SCR Camila Kater, Ana Julia Carvalheiro. CAST Rachel Patricio, Larissa Rahal, Raquel Virginia, Valquiria Rosa, Helena Ignez. Brazil, Spain
In the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, a young mother struggles to connect to her new baby. DIR Talia Zucker. SCR Talia Zucker. CAST Rachael Stone, Ari Hershkowitz, Miryam Rabinowitz, Judy Winegard, Goldie Hoffman, Luzer Twersky. USA
Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange and free clinic operates in the shadows of Fresno, California. DIR Elivia Shaw. FEATURING Dr. Marc Lasher. USA
A woman orders a special massage. DIR Meredith Alloway. SCR Meredith Alloway. CAST Meredith Alloway, Peter Vack. USA
THE DEVIL'S HARMONY
Kiera is being bullied at school, but her a cappella club possess a secret, supernatural power: when they sing, listeners are sent into a state of catatonic, never-ending sleep. DIR Dylan Holmes Williams. SCR Dylan Holmes Williams, Jess O'Kane. CAST Patsy Ferran, Leo Suter, Guy Henry, Bobby Schofield. UK
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US AND THE SKY
Two strangers meet for the first time at an old gas station. One has stopped to gas up his bike, while the other is just stranded. Lacking the 22.50€ he needs to get home, he will try to sell him the distance that separates them from the sky. DIR Vasilis Kekatos. SCR Vasilis Kekatos. CAST Nikolakis Zeginoglou, Ioko Ioannis Kotidis. Greece
Trevor reflects on his fear of dating. DIR Trevor Anderson. SCR Trevor Anderson. Canada
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SUDDEN BIRTH* (*BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK)
The true story of how the Berkeley police department, the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, an Academy Award® winner and Spock of STAR TREK fame are all connected by 1966’s SUDDEN BIRTH, one of the most unintentionally hilarious and disturbing educational films ever created. DIR Scott Calonico. SCR Scott Calonico. FEATURING Heinrich Beernink, M.D., Leonard Nimoy, James Caan & Raquel Welch, Skip Elsheimer, Amy Beernink, R. Paul Kerston, Kieth Merrill, Jonathan Tegan, Kay Tegan. Germany, UK
A teenage girl delivers a package of cocaine to a client and gets caught in a weird cycle of events. DIR Sonia K. Hadad. SCR Sonia K. Hadad, Farnoosh Samadi. CAST Sadaf Asgari, Hadis Miramini, Masih Kazemi, Elaheh Afshari. Iran
After two tours in the Iraq War, U.S. Marine Roman Baca came home a different person. Now, as the founder and artistic director of the Exit12 Dance Company in New York City, Roman, with other veterans and military families, uses dance to tell stories about the effects of war. DIR Mohammad Gorjestani. USA
FIRE IN PARADISE
On the morning of November 8, 2018, a seemingly small fire broke out in Butte County, California. Over the course of a few short hours, the camp fire grew into the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century, killing 85 people and destroying Paradise. DIR Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari. USA
GHOSTS OF SUGAR LAND
In Sugar Land, Texas, a group of young, Muslim-American men ponder the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining ISIS. DIR Bassam Tariq. SCR Bassam Tariq, Thomas Niles. USA
THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT (SINGLE CHANNEL)
Filmed on location in Harlem, USA and in Claude Monet’s historic gardens in Giverny, France, THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT is a multi-textured cinematic poem that meditates on the safety and bodily autonomy of Black women. DIR Ja'Tovia Gary. SCR Ja'Tovia Gary. USA, France
THE GOLDEN LEGEND (LEYENDA DORADA)
A summer day at the swimming pool of the village of Montánchez, Spain. From above, Our Lady of Consolation of the Castle keeps her watchful gaze. DIR Chema García Ibarra, Ion de Sosa. SCR Chema García Ibarra. CAST Al Sarcoli, Cristina Canchal Solís, María Ángeles Rosco, Carlos Lebrón Lázaro, Laura Molano Canchal, Nuria Rey Burgos, Jara Valiente, Natalia Valiente, Javier Valiente. Spain
Unable to return home to attend Grandma’s funeral because of immigration bureaucracy, a young Singaporean girl new to America searches for Grandma’s reincarnation in a pet store turtle. DIR Siyou Tan. SCR Siyou Tan. Sofie Yang, Dawn Ying Yuen, Peter Boon Koh, Wu Mama, Squirtle. Singapore
During a sunny holiday, a flock of tourists struggle to let go of their busy city lives, and the absence of daily tasks leaves them lost in an uncomfortable and frightening place. Once they learn to slow down, they may find some beauty in the here and now. DIR Wiep Teeuwisse. SCR Wiep Teeuwisse. Netherlands
Alex and Milagros deal with great life upheaval as they prepare to dance at their community’s redevelopment groundbreaking ceremony. DIR Faren Humes. SCR Faren Humes. CAST Milagros Gilbert, Alexandra Jackson, Willnya Jenkins, Mary Griffin. USA
LOST & FOUND
A determined man, armed only with a megaphone, his determination, and an unshakeable smile, sets out to reunite lost children with their families in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, which now houses over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims. DIR Orlando Von Einsiedel. UK
A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA
A dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present reimagining a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend. DIR Sophia Nahli Allison. USA
Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs broke records and changed history by winning the Texas high school state title two years in a row. With college on the horizon, Beggs must grapple with what comes next. DIR Erin Sanger, Taylor Hess. FEATURING Mack Beggs, Nancy Beggs. USA
A slice of life film about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past. Oh, and they started a band! DIR Robert Machoian. SCR Robert Machoian. CAST Bruce Graham, Arri Graham, Ezra Graham, Jonah Graham. USA
God is now a Power Plant. On a misty night cows escape, a child is chosen, and a teenager tries to find freedom. DIR Agustina San Martín. SCR Agustina San Martín. CAST Sabrina Grinchspun, Camila Dobrusky, Emilio Vodanovich, Isabella Rappazzo, Mariali Rubio. Argentina
Mthunzi becomes caught up in a world he does not belong walking home from the shops. DIR Tebogo Malebogo. SCR Tebogo Malebogo. CAST Nala Khumalo, Jamie-Lee Money, Inge Beckmann, Rusell Crous. South Africa
A day in the life of Tanya, a curious woman who has developed a taste for homemade non-humanoid lovers. DIR Sophie Gate. CAST Jeanette Bonds, Sophie Koko Gate, Tom Scotcher, Vincent Oliver. UK
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER (NÅGOT ATT MINNAS)
A lullaby before the great disaster. DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr. SCR Niki Lindroth von Bahr. CAST Ava Lauga, Theodor Jensen, Linnea Wikblad, Staffan Westerberg, Arja Saijonmaa, Karin Af Klintberg, Maria Af Klintberg, Daniel Rudholm. Sweden
A reflection about modern man in an age of omnipresent technology. DIR Jolanta Bankowska. SCR Jolanta Bankowska. Poland
SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT
Valentina, a day-walking black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters. DIR Nikyatu Jusu. SCR Nikyatu Jusu, Robin S. Williams. CAST Natalie Paul, Motell Foster, Alexis Nichole Smith, Souleymane Sy Savane, Madison Spicer. USA
TAKE ME TO PROM
A colorful, celebratory intergenerational retelling of seven queer people’s prom experience. DIR Andrew Moir. FEATURING Alf Roberts, Fontaine, Marcy Rogers, Alphonso King Jr., Marc Hall, Caroline Kan-Hai. Canada
On the night of a lunar eclipse, the sweet, salacious, and spooky secrets of a small town are uncovered. DIR Michaela Olsen. SCR Michaela Olsen. CAST Jade Shames, Dylan Stephen Levers, Emily Collins, Robert Kovacs. USA
WAX PAUL NOW
Three New Yorkers will stop at nothing to get Paul Giamatti his own wax statue at Madame Tussauds. DIR Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann. SCR Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann. FEATURING Sophie Mann, Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Trevor Van Uden, Richard Brevard, Paul Giamatti, Brian Haggard, Clark Hurlburt. USA
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE WATER AND THE MOON
During an abortion, instead of aborting the fetus, a girl gives birth to a live jellyfish. DIR Jian Luo. SCR Jian Luo. CAST Yang Wang. China
YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH (TU ÚLTIMO DÍA EN LA TIERRA)
A man dressed as a fox breaks the spacetime barrier with only one goal: to spend some time with his wife. But below this recreational act, there’s a far more complex and ambitious plan. DIR Marc Martínez Jordán. SCR Marc Martínez Jordán. CAST Sònia Masuda, Enric Auquer. Spain
AFI CONSERVATORY SHOWCASE
The only way Sam knows how to survive junior high is to stay under the radar. But that’s impossible after Jason picks a fight with him and it quickly becomes the school’s next viral video. His only friend pressures him to “hit back.” But Sam isn’t so sure—even if he does have super powers. 2019 Student Academy Awards® finalist. DIRECTOR Jeremy Merrifield. SCREENWRITER Jeremy Merrifield, Dave Testa. PRODUCER Christina Cha, Kate Chamuris. CINEMATOGRAPHER Frances Kroon. EDITOR Bowei Yue. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jerry Marsini. CAST Paul Scheer, Jonah Beres, Jaylin Ogle, Carson Severson. USA
To win his wife’s love back, an old man transforms into the thing she loves the most: a cactus. DIRECTOR Samir Oliveros. SCREENWRITER Christina Kingsleigh, Samir Oliveros. PRODUCER Thayer Juergens. CINEMATOGRAPHER Teck Siang Lim. EDITOR Chris Tenzis. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Karu De Jesus. CAST Kyrie DeMille, Philip Caldwell. USA
An old Chinese chef teaches a robot to cook, which places him in a dilemma between artificial intelligence and the human race. Silver medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Hao Zheng. SCREENWRITER Ithaca Yixian Deng, Leqi Vanessa Kong. PRODUCER Ithaca Yixian Deng. CINEMATOGRAPHER Carlo Mendoza. EDITOR Guangwei Du. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Mboni Maumba. CAST Jim Lau, Quinn Von Hoene, Allen Theosky Rowe. USA
Florence goes through her days without letting anyone into her world. When someone slips a love letter into her pocket, she decides to branch out, remembering what it is to feel hopeful. DIRECTOR Emanuele Daga. SCREENWRITER Courtney Shumway, Emanuele Daga. PRODUCER Almotaz Aljefri. CINEMATOGRAPHER Motiejus Barauskas. EDITOR Travis Staurt. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Mboni Maumba. CAST Diane Kelber, Warren Davis, Queanna Réa Feather, Daniel Crotty. USA
A veteran suffering from PTSD decides to participate in a military simulation exercise in the hopes it will cure his symptoms. DIRECTOR Quinn Else. SCREENWRITER Quinn Else. PRODUCER Marc Tarczali. CINEMATOGRAPHER Ben Long. EDITOR Yiqing Yu. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Fernando Marroquin. CAST Cristian Valle, Ken Drylie, Hannah Elder, Mitchell Adams, Clayton Hoff, Andrew Gilchrist, Douglas Tait. USA
When a pastor's son discovers that his father's religious movement has become a dangerous and seductive cult of personality, he must shatter the only world he's ever known to escape his father's shadow. DIRECTOR R.J. Glass. SCREENWRITER R.J. Glass. PRODUCER Amanda Freedman, Froso Tsipopoulou. CINEMATOGRAPHER Celine Layous. EDITOR Qing Shao. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Gemma Fenol. CAST Rory Gibson, Robb Derringer, Kyson Facer. USA
THE HISTORY OF MONSTERS
Evelyn lives isolated in a cabin in the woods haunted every night by monsters of unknown origin. One day she finds a man in the forest and decides to help him. She becomes entranced by the stranger and struggles between her safety and her sexual desires. DIRECTOR Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz. SCREENWRITER Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz. PRODUCER Talya Ster. CINEMATOGRAPHER Tom Meredith. EDITOR Charles Hertley Carter. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Mauricio Abud Friederichsen. CAST Valeria Gonzalez, Oscar Peña. USA
Louise tells the tragedy of how a young girl, in 1912 California, loses her mother just as she is beginning to understand the devastating causes of their estrangement. DIRECTOR Natalie Camou. SCREENWRITER Jamison Karon, Natalie Camou. PRODUCER Elizabeth Glass. CINEMATOGRAPHER Antoine Combelles. EDITOR Maria Freire. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jake Vollmer. CAST Charity Rose, Katia Gomez, Adrienne Couper Smith, Rogelio Ramos. USA
MARRIAGE MATERIAL, THE MUSICAL!
After her boyfriend rejects her marriage proposal, Leah Schwartzman checks herself into the “Late Blooming Bride” retreat, which prides itself on transforming less-than-perfect women into “Marriage Material.” 2019 Student Academy Awards®finalist. DIRECTOR Oran Zegman. SCREENWRITER Oran Zegman. PRODUCER Maor Azran. CINEMATOGRAPHER Charlie Cole. EDITOR Marc Sedaka. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Brittany Ingram. CAST Gwen Hollander, Laura Gardener, Diane Kelber. USA
MILLER & SON
A transwoman mechanic lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night, until an unforeseen event threatens the balance of her compartmentalized life. Gold medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Asher Jelinsky. SCREENWRITER Asher Jelinsky. PRODUCER Kate Chamuris. CINEMATOGRAPHER Robert Nachman. EDITOR Selinda Zhou. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Robert Aguirre. CAST Jesse James Keitel, Ryan Cutrona, Travis Hammer, Alexandra Grey, Carter Ray. USA
MISS BOUNDLESS (???)
During the Qing Dynasty, a young girl competes with her male cousin for the right to inherit leadership of a powerful house. DIRECTOR Qiyu Zhou. SCREENWRITER Qiyu Zhou, A.P. Boland. PRODUCER Siyi Ren. CINEMATOGRAPHER Riley Hanyue Shen. EDITOR Luqi Zhao. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Roxy Yi Hua. CAST Junru Wang, Russell Wong, Henggao Li. USA
A mother’s trauma gets in the way of supporting her adopted daughter’s passage into womanhood. DIRECTOR Jeanine Frost. SCREENWRITER Jeanine Frost. PRODUCER Elena Aksenova, Geenah Krisht. CINEMATOGRAPHER Erin G. Wesley. EDITOR Ashley Monti. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Fernando Marroquin. CAST Mette Lisby, Cece Abbey. USA
OUT OF PLACE
Unaware of them being neighbors, an aspiring Chinese pianist Hui, and Chamo, a Mexican house painter, go through a day that challenges their identities, only to meet at a moment of change. DIRECTOR Peier "Tracy" Shen. SCREENWRITER Peier "Tracy" Shen. PRODUCER Mengying “Irene” Yang. CINEMATOGRAPHER Leonel Escobar. EDITOR Arndt Werling. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Cyrum A. Ramirez. CAST Sarah Lynn Furman, Victor Boneva. USA
This is a world exactly like ours, except that the wealthy elites are aliens, living and working among us, but with one key difference: they reproduce by implanting their offspring in a human host who raises the alien child as his own. When a blue-collar man is forcibly implanted with his alien boss's parasitic offspring, he asks his wife to help him remove the parasite -- a dangerous and forbidden act that puts their marriage -- and their lives -- at risk. DIRECTOR Justin Daering. SCREENWRITER Kenda Greenwood Moran. PRODUCER Gregory M. Schroeder. CINEMATOGRAPHER Thomas J. Thickett. EDITOR Christine Douglas. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Evan Welch. CAST Chasen Tyler Bauer, Wyni Landry, Christian Dunlop, Clayton Hoff, Hans Christopher. USA
A RODEO FILM
A bull rider who falls out of love with the sport must choose between his family’s legacy of rodeo and his own aspirations. DIRECTOR Darius Dawson. SCREENWRITER Darius Dawson. PRODUCER Ryan Binse. CINEMATOGRAPHER Erin G. Wesley. EDITOR Briana Chmielewski. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jessica M. Cole. CAST Jermelle Simon, Phrederic Semaj, Charlee Earle. USA
Two 'star-crossed' lovers become separated by forces larger than they can control in a place where girls’ bodies turn up in the river or never at all. DIRECTOR J. S. Maarten. SCREENWRITER J. S. Maarten. PRODUCER Daria Suvorova. CINEMATOGRAPHER Marcin Banasiak. EDITOR Aashish D’Mello. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Aashish D’Mello. CAST David Gurrola, Fenessa Pineda, Dylan Bruno, Vanessa Benavente, Aithan Torres, Brian Gomez, Victor Boneva, Karen Sours Albisua, Sophia Santi, Hugo Medina. USA
THEY WON'T LAST
After attending their friends' perfect wedding, Christine is forced to consider the future of her own relationship when her hopeless romantic boyfriend Alex proposes. When Christine is unable to say yes, Alex makes it worse by giving her an ultimatum: either get engaged or break up right now. DIRECTOR Portlynn Tagavi. SCREENWRITER Portlynn Tagavi, Brandon Gale. PRODUCER Richard Bailey. CINEMATOGRAPHER Delaney O'Brien. EDITOR Farzad Kiyafar. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Beatrice Cerezo. CAST Jack De Sena, Brittany Renee Finamore. USA
After he’s been cast (again!) as a background tree in his annual middle school play, an ambitious and imaginative Israeli immigrant boy leads a revolution on stage that his intolerant drama teacher will never forget. Bronze medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Omer Ben-Shachar. SCREENWRITER Omer Ben-Shachar, Sydney Meadow. PRODUCER Iris Xuan Yang. CINEMATOGRAPHER Zilong Liu. EDITOR Yinong Xia. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Katia Nájera Viale. CAST Lior Malka, Eva Du, Alex Gonzalez, Kelly Ryan, Rita Zohar. USA
UNDER THE FLAG
A driven and conscientious girl at China's premier dance school gets the lead position in a prestigious performance, but struggles to accept it after she learns that her mother has bribed the teacher to buy her the part. DIRECTOR Jiawei Cheng. SCREENWRITER Jiawei Cheng, Dhruv Kanungo. PRODUCER Fernando Barajas, Danwen Lei. CINEMATOGRAPHER Leo Perman. EDITOR Yiqing Yu. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Hankang Chen. CAST Michelle Chang, Grace Chang, Leann Lei. USA
On his 21st birthday, Vincent is persuaded to follow his friend Bunny to a brothel where he will meet a woman that looks like his mother. DIRECTOR Gabriele Di Sazio. SCREENWRITER Gabriele Di Sazio, Christina Yang. PRODUCER Disi Guo. CINEMATOGRAPHER Aakash Raj. EDITOR Skylar Zhang. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Vlad Aksenov. CAST Gabriele Di Sazio, Christina Yang. USA
YELLOW GIRL & ME
Set in the Jamaican countryside, a young child named Nicole waits for her sister, Yellow Girl, to teach her how to swim. Circumstances escalate when Yellow Girl breaks her promise and Nicole realizes that she is next in line for a life of sexual abuse. DIRECTOR Isabella Issa. SCREENWRITER Isabella Issa. PRODUCER Paul V. Fishback. CINEMATOGRAPHER Diego Trenas. EDITOR Christine Douglas. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Caitlin Ward. CAST Dior Wilson, Trishauna Clarke, Blacka Di Danca, Jonathan-Dale Johnson, Tahj Williamson, Khelys Johnson. USA
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 with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas's QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. Additional announcements including Galas, Documentaries, Special Screenings, Tribute, World Cinema, and the inaugural AFI Summit can be found here.
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.
Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.
About the American Film Institute (AFI) Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/American Film and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.
About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rd year, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year's edition takes place November 14-21, 2019. 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.
About Audi Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.comfor more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.