Tag Archives: AFI Fest 2019


I don’t want this movie to be as relevant as it is. But the scary thing is the movie becomes more and more relevant with every passing day. The script is almost a result of my trauma. I’m a black person in the world watching TV like everybody else. The work that artists are doing right now, this is us trying to put a time stamp on the society in which we live. It is a violent one. It is a cold one, and yet we still are stylish and we still are funny and we still love and we still smoke weed and we still do crab boils. Even in the midst of this trauma, we survive, we live, and that, to me, is what the real meditation of this movie became.Lena Waithe

Written by Waithe—from an idea by James Frey—and directed by Melina Matsoukas, QUEEN & SLIM opened this year’s AFI FEST and has gone on to ignite audiences across the country. Compared by critics to Bonnie and Clyde and Thelma and Louise—and by its writer to Set It Off—the film stars Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya in the title roles, with backup by Bokeem Woodbine, Sturgill Simpson, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, and Indya Moore.


Now playing.

Alamo Drafthouse

700 West 7th Street, downtown Los Angeles.

L.A. Live

1000 West Olympic Boulevard, downtown Los Angeles.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Laemmle Noho

5240 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.

Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim (2019), from top: Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya; Turner-Smith; Kaluuya; Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore; Kaluuya and Turner Smith (2); Moore, Woodbine, Turner-Smith, and Kaluuya; Turner-Smith, and Kaluuya; Turner-Smith. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, and Universal Pictures.


The film demands that you, the viewer, engage immediately and unceasingly with the protagonists and their plight, leaving you drained and astounded.Deirdre Towers

Although AND THEN WE DANCED—the first LGBTQ drama set in Georgia—has received widespread critical acclaim across Eastern Europe (winning Best Film and Best Actor this year at Odessa), the film’s shooting schedule was frequently disrupted and the set in Tbilisi often resembled a guerrilla production. Earlier this month right-wing groups staged violent protests outside the hometown premiere—which was standing-room only—and it was noted that the film’s choreographer is credited as “Anonymous,” for fear of losing his job.

A story of same-sex attraction among two members of the National Georgian Ensemble, AND THEN WE DANCED will screen on the closing days of this year’s AFI FEST presented by Audi. The film’s leads—Levan Gelbakhiani (a phenomenal young actor making his debut) and Bachi Valishvili—will join their director Levan Akin for post-screening conversations with the audience.


Wednesday, November 20, at 2:45 pm.

Thursday, November 21, at 8:45 pm.

Chinese Theatre

6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Levan Akin, And Then We Danced (2019), from top: Levan Gelbakhiani; Gelbakhiani and Anna Javakishvili; Bachi Valishvili (left) and Gelbakhiani (2); poster; Gelbakhiani and Valishvili (2); Gelbakhiani. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the photographers, Quarter Film, and Takes Film.


I want to corroborate Black women’s reality. Some of us feel safe and some of us do not, but within that spectrum, there’s grief, there’s relief, there’s whimsy. There are feelings of anxiety and apprehension, but also faith and trust. Our inner world is layered and super vast, and I want us to be able to see that depicted on the screen, witness Black women having these interior moments…

I call myself a director who edits, but I’m probably an editor who directs … The idea of handing this over to someone else is so foreign, so counterintuitive. For me, that’s where the real making takes place. So my process is sourcing footage from everywhere, whether that be the internet or some image I’m creating myself or a collaboration with a DP or an archive. But the actual process begins once we sit down at that hard drive, because it’s important for me to have that level of control. Ja’Tovia Gary, interview with Rooney Elmi, 2019

This week at the AFI FEST presented by Audi, Gary brings her new 40-minute film THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT—which incorporates footage shot in New York City and at Monet’s historic gardens in France.

THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT will be preceded by BLACK BUS STOP, directed by Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold.


Tuesday, November 19, at 7:45 pm.

Wednesday, November 20, at 3:15 pm.

Chinese Theatre

6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Ja’Tovia Gary, image courtesy and © the artist and the photographer; Ja’Tovia Gary, The Giverny Document (2019), images courtesy and © the artist.


A visceral exploration of abuse in Vancouver’s Indigenous community and a key work of contemporary feminist cinema, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN will screen twice at the AFI FEST presented by Audi.

Writer-directors Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers—who also co-stars in the film—will join actor Violet Nelson for post-screening Q & A’s.

A love poem to women, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN weaves a compellingly simple story around the complex themes of racialized female bodies, a country’s failure to support its most vulnerable youth, and the continuing effects of colonial violence. Inspired by true events, this intimate, immersive film was shot on location in East Vancouver on 16mm film, in real time.


Tuesday, November 19, at 8:30 pm.

Wednesday, November 20, at 12:45 pm.

Chinese Theatre

6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

November 29 through December 5.

ARRAY—Amanda Theater

180 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019), from top: Violet Nelson; ARRAY poster; Tailfeathers (left) and Nelson; Nelson and Tailfeathers. Photographs by Katrin Bragadottir. Images courtesy and © the filmmakers, the actors, the photographer, AFI FEST, and ARRAY Releasing.


A standout in a particularly strong year for Canadian film, ANTIGONE—written, directed, and shot by Sophie Deraspe—will play twice on the opening weekend of the AFI FEST presented by Audi. The filmmaker will be on hand to present her work.

Featuring a breakout performance by Nahéma Ricci in the title role, this timely contemporary update of Sophocles’ tragedy captures the rage and resistance of an immigrant family, grieving the loss of a son while confronting the institutionalized oppression of its adopted Quebec.


Friday, November 15, at 3 pm.

Saturday, November 16, at 11:30 am.

Chinese Theatre

6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Sophie Deraspe, Antigone (2019), from top: Nahéma Ricci; Rashida Oussaada (left), Nour Belkhiria, Ricci, Rawad El-Zein (foreground center), and Hakim Brahimi (right); Ricci and Brahimi; Antoine Desrochers (center); Quebec poster; Ricci and El-Zein; Antigone set photograph. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the photographers, Maison 4:3, and ASPAV.