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(l-r) Grace Molony stars as Dorothy Stafford, Margot Robbie stars as Queen Elizabeth I and Georgia Burnell as Kate Carey in MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, a Focus Features release.

Mary Queen of Scots, the historical drama based on John Guy’s biography, “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart” and directed by Josie Rourke will World Premiere as the closing night film of AFI FEST presented by Audi. The film is written by Academy Award® nominee Beau Willimon, and stars Academy Award® nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, along with Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Gemma Chan, Martin Compston, Ismael Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, Adrian Lester, James McArdle, David Tennant and Guy Pearce. The Closing Night Gala will take place on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

“This commanding story of powerful women and political rivalry that shaped world history will close AFI FEST on a high note,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director, AFI Festivals. “This year’s festival showcases compelling women-directed narratives that challenge the status quo, and Mary Queen of Scots is no exception.”

Mary Queen of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Ronan). Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Robbie). Each young Queen beholds her “sister” in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty. Betrayal rebellion and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones — and change the course of history.

AFI FEST takes place November 8–15, 2018, 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 Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of On the Basis of Sex (directed by AFI Conservatory alumna Mimi Leder).

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