John Lee Hancock's Saving Mr. Banks.
The North American premiere of Saving Mr. Banks will open Los Angeles' AFI Fest, organizers said Wednesday. The film, which will close the BFI London Film Festival in October and Oscar winners Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, will launch the 8-day event November 7. The World Premiere of Sony Pictures Classics Foxcatcher will screen as the festival's Weekend Gala November 8, ushering AFI's slate of independent and auteur films that will be announced at a later date.
Additionally, the festival said that French filmmaker Agnès Varda, often considered “the mother of French New Wave cinema” will serve as this year's Guest Artistic Director. Details on Varda related programming will be announced at a later date.
In director John Lee Hancock's Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson plays Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, whose complicated relationship with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) nearly derailed story's theatrical journey to the big screen. The film had its premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1964 with both in attendance. It received 13 Oscar nominations and five wins including Best Actress for Julie Andrews. The feature, which also starred Dick Van Dyke, has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest movie songs of all time. Saving Mr. Banks also stars Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell.
Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.
Oscar-nominated director Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, a psychological drama starring Steve Carell, Channing tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller, is based on the true story of Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum), who sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Ruffalo) and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Carell) to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Desperate to gain the respect of his disapproving mother, du Pont begins “coaching” a world-class athletic team and, in the process, lures Mark into dangerous habits, breaks his confidence and drives him into a self-destructive spiral.
Joel and Ethan Coen's Cannes Grand Prix-winner Inside Llewyn Davis will close AFI Fest November 14. The film stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake and follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Inside Llewyn Davis will have its U.S. premiere at the upcoming New York Film Festival.
“Our line-up of programming, from opening to closing, reflects what Hollywood is today: a broad spectrum of stories from studio and independent filmmakers, and having Agnès Varda as Guest Artistic Director was a conscious decision to recognize the global influence of an icon of the French New Wave,” said AFI Fest Director Jacqueline Lyanga. “The blending of studio, independent, foreign and auteur films and the artists who made them is the embodiment of AFI Fest.”