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.
AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14 to 21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles.
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.”
QUEEN & SLIM
While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Daniel Kaluuya) and a black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith), are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Afraid for their lives, the man — a retail employee — and the woman — a criminal defense lawyer — are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.
As they drive, these two unlikely fugitives will discover themselves and each other in the most dire and desperate of circumstances and will forge a deep and powerful love that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their lives.
QUEEN & SLIM will be released on November 27, 2019.