Today, the American Film Institute (AFI) announced that the 33rd edition of AFI FEST presented by Audi will open with the World Premiere of Makeready and Universal Pictures’ QUEEN & SLIM. Directed by two-time Grammy® winner Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005) and written by Emmy® winner Lena Waithe from a story by Waithe and James Frey, the film is a consciousness-raising love story that confronts the staggering human toll of racism and the life-shattering price of violence. The film stars Academy Award® nominee Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Academy Award® nominee Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson and Indya Moore. Matsoukas was awarded AFI’s Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal earlier this year. The Opening Night Gala screening will take place Thursday, November 14, 2019, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, followed by an after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel.
In making the announcement, AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said, “Melina’s powerful voice is the embodiment of the AFI ideal, for we believe in the revolutionary power of visual storytelling to share perspectives, inspire empathy and drive culture forward. We are honored to shine a proper light upon her and QUEEN & SLIM.”
For Matsoukas, the AFI world premiere represents a homecoming. “I feel privileged to present my first feature film, QUEEN & SLIM at the opening night of AFI FEST, a place that is integral to my story as a filmmaker. The tools I learned while receiving my Master of Fine Arts from AFI informs my artistry every day, and to have this moment come full circle is deeply moving,” said Matsouskas. “My mission as an artist is to create change in the world. My time at AFI further instilled the power of film as a tool for change, and I hope that QUEEN & SLIM sparks dialogue, leaving viewers thinking about themselves and the world long after leaving their seats.”
Said Michael Lumpkin, director of AFI Festivals: “The film is an outstanding debut — a fearless, gorgeous and powerful cinematic achievement that speaks, better than any film this year, to the effects of racism and violence in our country today.”
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