Mike Mills20th Century Women, starring Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig, will have its world premiere as this year’s New York Film Festival centerpiece. The announcement was made today by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The 54th NYFF runs September 30-October 16. The gala screening of Mills’ film, the story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s, will take place October 8. Also in the cast are Billy Crudup, Elle Fanning and newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann.

“I was taken aback by 20th Century Women,” said NYFF director Kent Jones. “It’s made with an extraordinarily unusual level of craft and attention to detail, human and visual, which is now all but extinct. As someone who actually lived through 1979 in middle-class America, I will testify to the fact that Mike Mills and his remarkable cast approach the level of the uncanny. I felt like I was back there, with all the shared behaviors and worries, the divisions, the look and feel and smell of the world as it was.”

A24 is releasing the film domestically in December. The film is produced by Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, Archer Gray’s Anne Carey, and Youree Henley.

“Everyone who worked on this film is so honored we’re a part of NYFF,” said Mills. “It’s very exciting for me to premiere my film in the city where I discovered I wanted to be a writer and director, and at the film festival where I saw so many films that inspired me and truly showed me the way. My first film school was a combination of Kim’s Video on Avenue A, St Marks Theatre 80, and all the innovations I saw at NYFF—so beginning this film’s public life here is especially meaningful to me.”

NYFF opens this year with Ava DuVernay’s doc The 13th, the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival.