Festival director Georges N. Chamchoum said, “This is an especially exciting time for the AWFF. Having our opening film from Warner Bros., with a focus on civil rights and diversity sets the right tone for this year’s festival. Furthermore, people will ask why is this movie at the AWFF? The Director is of Asian Pacific Islander roots and to quote his own words, he said, ‘make sure to say that my Mom’s name is Tajiri and my Grandma name is Kawahara – both Japanese, and I’m very proud of my Japanese Heritage!’ Storytellers have no boundaries.”
Just Mercy’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, is an Award-winning filmmaker (The Glass Castle, Short Term 12) who directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote, based on the award-winning nonfiction bestseller by Bryan Stevenson. Cretton says, “Bryan Stevenson is one of the greatest lawyers, philosophers, and civil rights leaders of our generation. Being able to learn from him throughout the making of this film has been one of the best experiences of my life. We hope experiencing this man’s work through the incredible performances of Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson will inspire us all to do our part in making this world a place where real justice is available to everyone. I am delighted for the film to be screened at the AWFF.”
Just Mercy, is set to open on December 26, 2019 and stars Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed, Creed II) and Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (Ray, “Baby Driver, Django: Unchained) and Brie Larson (Room, The Glass Castle, Captain Marvel). Just Mercy is an inspiring drama that brings one of the most important stories of our time to the big screen.
The powerful and thought-provoking film is based on a true story. Just Mercy follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation. With the support of local advocate, Eva Ansley (Larson) one of his first, and most incendiary cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl. Despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings. He finds overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter and others like him, with the odds and the system stacked against them
Cretton co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Lanham (The Glass Castle), based on Stevenson’s book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Published in 2014 by Spiegel & Grau, the book has spent more than 150 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers List, and counting. It was also named one of the year’s best books by a number of top publications, including TIME.