Press Releases

WORLD PREMIERE OF CONCUSSION TO PLAY AS CENTERPIECE GALA AT AFI FEST 2015 PRESENTED BY AUDI

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Centerpiece Gala on November 10 Makes Three World Premieres Announced at Festival

Passes to Ensure Seating Available Now at AFI.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, September 30, 2015 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that the World Premiere of Sony Pictures’ CONCUSSION — starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith, written and directed by Peter Landesman, and produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman and Elizabeth Cantillon — will be the Centerpiece Gala of AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi.  The honored event will take place at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on Tuesday, November 10.  Available now at AFI.com are festival passes for purchase, which ensure reserved seats for sold-out Galas and other high-demand films and events.  The Centerpiece Gala is the third announced World Premiere at AFI FEST.

”AFI FEST is for movie lovers who understand and appreciate the power of stories on the big screen.  CONCUSSION packs that punch by shining a light on a topic that has caught the country's attention, here expertly expressed through the direction of Peter Landesman and an unforgettable performance by Will Smith.  We are proud to present the World Premiere of CONCUSSION as a Centerpiece Gala at AFI FEST,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, director, AFI FEST.

“AFI FEST is the perfect stage to unveil CONCUSSION, and we are privileged to have been chosen as the Centerpiece Gala,” said Ridley Scott and Giannina Scott, two of the film’s producers.  "CONCUSSION is a powerful and uncompromising film about an issue that was ignored for far too long and continues to play out today.  It’s a story that had to be told, and we were determined to tell it right.”

“Although the film doesn’t open until Christmas, with all of the recent debate about it, we are excited to show it sooner so that the discussion can be more informed,” added Tom Rothman, chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.  “CONCUSSION is a great American immigrant story.  An outsider, whose greatest aspiration is to belong, takes on an American corporate Goliath at incredible personal risk.  His only weapon is the knowledge that he is right and his belief that in America, truth will prevail.  We are so grateful to AFI FEST for giving us this opportunity."

As previously announced, the Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of BY THE SEA (DIR Angelina Jolie Pitt) on Thursday, November 5 and the Closing Night Gala will be the World Premiere of THE BIG SHORT (DIR Adam McKay) on Thursday, November 12.  The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.  The 29th edition of AFI FEST takes place November 5–12, 2015, in the heart of Hollywood.  Screenings and Galas will be held at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian and the Hollywood Roosevelt.

AFI FEST remains the only global event of its caliber to offer free individual tickets to screenings and events as a gift to the community.  These free tickets will be available to the general public online at AFI.com beginning Monday, October 26.  Available for purchase now at AFI.com are AFI FEST Patron Packages and Express Passes — which can include access to sold-out Galas and other high-demand films and events.

As part of their membership benefit, AFI members will receive a complimentary AFI FEST Cinepass, which allows access to all regular screenings at this year’s festival.  Additionally, AFI members at the Two-Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all AFI FEST Patron Packages and Express Passes.  Information about AFI membership is available at AFI.com/membership.

For the 12th consecutive year, AFI FEST is proud to have Audi as the presenting sponsor.  Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.  The festival’s venue sponsors include Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatres, the Hollywood & Highland Center, the Hollywood Roosevelt and the Egyptian Theatre.

About CONCUSSION

Will Smith stars in CONCUSSION, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known.  Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.  The film, a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures, is written and directed by Peter Landesman, based on the GQ article “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, and produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman and Elizabeth Cantillon, and executive produced by Michael Schaefer, David Crockett, Ben Waisbren, Bruce Berman and Greg Basser.

About the American Film Institute

AFI is America’s promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.  AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory.  For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi

A program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a celebration of global cinema and today’s Hollywood — a showcase for the best festival films of the year and an opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to come together with audiences in the movie capital of the world.  AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for both Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®.  This year’s edition takes place November 5-12, 2015.  Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST.  Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFEST, twitter.com/AFIFEST and youtube.com/AFIFEST.

About Audi

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles.  AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally.  The Audi Group delivered over 1,741,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2014, and broke all-time company sales records for the 5th straight year in the U.S.  Through 2019, AUDI AG plans to invest about 24 billion euros - 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies.  Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusa.com/newsroom for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

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CONTACTS: 

Emily Lu Aldrich, AFI FEST, 323.856.7718 or festpublicity@AFI.com

Festival artwork is available for press use only and can be downloaded at http://afifestpress.afi.com.