The movie follows LSD high priest Timothy Leary and how he became a narc in 1974 and abandoned the millions he urged to turn on, tune in and drop out. Was his “perfect love” Joanna Harcourt-Smith a government pawn, as suggested by Allen Ginsberg? Morris and Harcourt-Smith reexamine the Leary saga: his period of exile, reimprisonment and subsequent cooperation with the authorities.
The docu is inspired by Harcourt-Smith’s memoir Tripping the Bardo With Timothy Leary: My Psychedelic Love Story.
In addition, AFI today unveiled the festival’s Special Presentations section offering an array of non-fiction and fiction features including the world debuts of Kelly Oxford’s comedy-drama Pink Skies Ahead, Matt Tyrnauer’s Showtime docu series The Reagans, and Angel Kristi Williams’ drama Really Love. Also part of the lineup is Florian Zeller’s Sony Pictures Classics Anthony Hopkins-Olivia Colman drama The Father, Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer’s meteor-comets-ancient religion docu Fireball, and Mira Nair’s BBC Studios/Lookout Production’s A Suitable Boy. All the descriptions are below.
“Celebrating the diversity of great cinematic storytelling, our Special Presentations offer our audience the opportunity to experience new stories and new voices at this year’s AFI Fest,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Festivals. ”From first-time directors and established masters to fiction and nonfiction to series, these outstanding projects films affirm the vitality and creativity of our resilient film community.”
As previously announced, AFI Fest will open with Julia Hart’s I’m Your Woman and take place online from October 15-22.
The Father– Living alone in London and nearing 80 years old, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) has refused another nurse that his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) has set up for him. Exuberant and independent, Anthony has struggled with his memory beginning to slip away. Anne announces she is moving to Paris with a new boyfriend, but later in the living room Anthony sees a stranger claiming to be Anne’s husband. Who is this man? Confusion sets in.
Fireball – Werner Herzog interrupts a world-renowned planetary scientist who has just made the simple yet astonishing statement that, “We are all stardust. Every element in our body was synthesized in other stars before it got here.” Herzog waves his hand in front of the camera. The scientist looks momentarily perplexed and then Herzog blurts out: “I think I am not stardust. I am Bavarian!” After a pregnant pause, the scientist bursts into laughter. Herzog and his co-director, the volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, crisscross the globe, seeking answers to the great mysteries locked inside the flaming balls of interplanetary debris that have hurled themselves at our defenseless planet for billions of years.
Pink Skies Ahead – Los Angeles, 1998. After dropping out of college and moving back home to live with her parents, Winona (Jessica Barden) is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Skeptical of her doctor’s opinion — she hasn’t had a panic attack after all —Winona carries on with her wild lifestyle. Only when things begin to truly unravel around her, does she reluctantly decide to see a therapist and face her truths.
Really Love – Set in a gentrifying Washington, DC, a rising Black artist, Isaiah (Kofi Siriboe), spends most of his days pouring his heart into his paintings but still struggles to find his place in the prestigious and competitive art world. At a gallery show, Stevie (Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing), an impressive and intelligent law student, catches his eye. A chance encounter is one thing, but the stars align and they meet again, leading to a whirlwind romance. When both Isaiah and Stevie hit crossroads in their careers, they are forced to consider if their relationship is a love for a season or a love for a lifetime.
The Reagans — This four-part Showtime series focuses on the rise and reign of America’s ultimate power couple: Ronald and Nancy Reagan. The series asserts Nancy’s central role in her husband’s career, shines a light on the darker aspects of the Reagans’ climb to power and provides a revelatory perspective on how the political tactics used in the ‘60s and ‘70s are a progenitor of our current national politics.
A Suitable Boy — 1951. In a newly independent India, passionate literature student Lata Mehra defies tradition, and her meddling mother’s wish to choose her a husband. Torn between family duty and the excitement of romance, Lata embarks on a journey of love and heartache as three very different men try to win her heart. Also threatening to break with tradition is the charming but directionless Maan Kapoor, whose romantic entanglements begin to jeopardize his father’s political career. As Lata and Maan attempt to shape their futures, India too is coming of age. Only a few years after independence from British colonial rule, tensions are high as its people prepare to campaign and vote in their first democratic general election.