The final major film festival of the season, the 2017 AFI Film Fest kicked off in Hollywood this past week. The first festival day is often a time to gather bearings and plan strategies, with only two films scheduled: the opening night gala for Dee Rees’ Mudbound and the first film in a planned retrospective on Robert Altman, 1992’s The Player. The Young Folks will be on the ground at the festival for the next several days documenting what’s happening!
Much of the atmosphere at the festival surrounded current events in Hollywood. The festival’s closing night film, Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, was pulled with the announcement that disgraced star Kevin Spacey will be erased from the feature and replaced by Christopher Plummer. As of press time the closing night gala has not announced what film will stand in its stead.
Many cast members at the red carpet premiere for Mudbound were asked about the string of allegations against several prominent Hollywood movers and shakers, and though it often looked like they expected the questions, everyone answered with grace and poise.
The festival also announced its secret screening. Set to take place on Wednesday the 15th, the Dan Gilroy drama Roman J. Israel, Esq. will be screened. The movie recently underwent additional editing after several unflattering reviews.
The main event was Dee Rees’ Mudbound, a searing story about two families living Mississippi after WWII. Rees, along with cast members Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, and Garrett Hedlund were in attendance, walking the red carpet and standing on-stage during Rees’ intro. Stars Samantha Hoefer and Lucy Faust stopped to talk to TYF about how honored they were to work with Rees, and that the film’s story instantly gripped them. Faust was especially excited to premiere the film at the historic TCL. As a classic film buff she couldn’t believe her good fortune.
Rees came on-stage to discuss the importance of the film, particularly during today’s heated political climate. Her passion was evident, both in person and on-screen. Despite a nearly hour delay it was worth it because Mudbound is the real deal. Brutal, affecting, and filled with fantastic performances especially from Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and Carey Mulligan. Our own Andrea Thompson reviewed the film back at Sundance and her review goes into depth on the film.
On the agenda: The second gala of the event honors the romantic drama Call Me By Your Name.