The 33rd AFI Fest will open with the world premiere of Queen & Slim, the pic directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe. Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson and Indya Moore star in the film, which hails from Universal and Makeready.
The festival’s opening-night gala screening is set for November 14 at the TCL Chinese Theatre, followed by an after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel.
Universal releases the pic theatrically November 27.
A modern take on Bonnie & Clyde, the film stars Kaluuya and Turner-Smith as a couple on a first date. The innocent story takes a turn when they are pulled over for a traffic violation and the encounter turns deadly, with Slim shooting the over-zealous policeman in self-defense. The encounter is caught on video and goes viral, and the two head out on the road, becoming folk heroes to people along the country as the story plays.
The film, from a story by Emmy winner Waithe and James Frey, marks the feature directorial debut of Matsoukas, an AFI grad.
“Melina’s powerful voice is the embodiment of the AFI ideal, for we believe in the revolutionary power of visual storytelling to share perspectives, inspire empathy and drive culture forward,” AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said Tuesday in a release announcing the news. “We are honored to shine a proper light upon her and Queen & Slim.”
AFI Fest this year runs November 14-21 in Los Angeles.