Press Releases




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, November 5, 2015 – AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi announces today that a new event has been added to the festival – A Conversation with Director Scott Cooper and Johnny Depp.  They will discuss their recent collaboration on BLACK MASS (2015) in an evening moderated by Variety Deputy Awards and Features Editor Jenelle Riley.  Sponsored by VIZIO and in partnership with Variety, the Conversation will take place at AFI FEST on Sunday, November 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the majestic Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.  Free tickets are available now at the AT&T Box Office and online at

BLACK MASS tells of the unholy alliance between ruthless mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) and childhood friend turned FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton).  The bond, forged growing up on the streets of South Boston, would test the limits of loyalty in a town that answers to its own unwritten code.  Blinded by ambition, Connolly convinces Bulger to inform on their common enemy, the Italian Mafia.  The deal allows Bulger to expand his criminal empire with complete impunity, threatening to destroy both men, their families and the very city that made them.  Based on true events, the film features an ensemble cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, W. Earl Brown, David Harbour, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott and Juno Temple.

Cooper started out as an actor, training at the renowned Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City.  BLACK MASS marks Cooper’s third feature film as a director.  He made his directorial debut in 2009 with CRAZY HEART, which he also wrote and produced.  The film earned three Academy Award® nominations, winning for Best Actor (Jeff Bridges) and Best Song.  Cooper won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, and his screenplay earned Writers Guild of America, Independent Spirit and USC Scripter award nominations.  He also wrote and directed his second independent thriller OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013) starring Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Zoë Saldana, Forest Whitaker and Sam Shepard.  For his work on that film, Cooper won the Taodue Golden Camera Award for Best First/Second Film at the 2013 Rome Film Festival.

Depp has received Academy Award® nominations for Best Actor for his performances in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003), FINDING NEVERLAND (2004) and SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (2007).  Over the last three decades, Depp’s diverse range of roles has made him one of the leading actors of his generation, including performances in CRY BABY (1990), BENNY & JOON (1993), WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE (1993), DONNIE BRASCO (1997), FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1998), CHOCOLAT (2000), BLOW (2001), THE LIBERTINE (2004) and PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009), as well as several collaborations with Tim Burton including EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990), ED WOOD (1994) and SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999).

As previously announced, the Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of BY THE SEA (DIR Angelina Jolie Pitt) on Thursday, November 5. Among the Centerpiece Galas will be WHERE TO INVADE NEXT (DIR Michael Moore) on Saturday, November 7; THE 33 (DIR Patricia Riggen) on Monday, November 9; and the World Premiere of CONCUSSION (DIR Peter Landesman) on Tuesday, November 10. The Closing Night Gala will be the World Premiere of THE BIG SHORT (DIR Adam McKay) on Thursday, November 12. Also previously announced are the nine films in the American Independents section, which represents the best of independent filmmaking this year, and 11 films in the New Auteurs section, which highlights first and second-time narrative feature film directors from around the world.

Depp and Cooper join a prestigious group of previously announced actors and filmmakers appearing in conversation at AFI FEST, including 45 YEARS stars and AFI FEST Tribute recipients Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay; THE MARTIAN director Ridley Scott; SICARIO star Benicio Del Toro; SUFFRAGETTE director Sarah Gavron and writer Abi Morgan; as well as YOUTH star Michael Caine and director Paolo Sorrentino.

VIZIO is returning once again to sponsor the VIZIO HDR Lounge, located in The Hollywood Roosevelt.  The VIZIO HDR Lounge is open to pass holders and ticket holders for specific events, and will host product demonstrations showcasing the 120” and 65” class VIZIO Reference Series 4K Ultra HD collection — the industry’s first-ever complete High Dynamic Range solution with Dolby Vision™ playback technology — as well as a variety of filmmaker panels, conversations, industry meetings and special events. 

AFI FEST takes place November 5–12 in Hollywood, CA, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, the El Capitan Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt.

Free individual tickets to AFI FEST screenings and Galas are available to the general public online at or at the AT&T Box Office at Hollywood & Highland.  AFI FEST Patron Packages and Passes include access to sold-out Galas and other high-demand films and events.  Passes are on sale now at

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 TCL Chinese Theatres, Dolby Theatre, the Hollywood & Highland Center, The Hollywood Roosevelt and the Egyptian Theatre.


VIZIO’s mission is to deliver the ultimate entertainment experience through our community of connected consumers, advertisers and media content providers.  Through our connected entertainment platform, VIZIO is transforming the way consumers discover and experience media content.  Since our founding in California in 2002, VIZIO has built an industry-leading brand and sold over 65 million products, including televisions, sound bars and other devices.  VIZIO has achieved significant U.S. market share and held the #1 unit share position in the U.S. sound bar industry1 and the #2 unit share position in the U.S. Smart HDTV industry in 20142. VIZIO product leadership is highlighted by a number of industry reviews and awards including a 2015 CNET Editors’ Rating of 4 stars for a review of our E-Series Smart TVs3, 2015 Editors’ Choice award from for our M-Series 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs4 and Sound & Vision’s Top Picks of 2014 for 42” and 54” Home Theater Sound Bar Systems.  For more information, please call 888-VIZIOCE or visit

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 or for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

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 or connect with AFI at, and

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 the Live Action and Animated 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 Connect with AFI FEST at, and