Press Releases

WORLD PREMIERE OF THE COMEDIAN TO PLAY AFI FEST 2016 PRESENTED BY AUDI

Film Directed by Taylor Hackford and Starring Robert De Niro
To Bow as Special Screening at AFI FEST

Patron Packages and Express Passes On Sale Now

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 14, 2016 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that the World Premiere of Sony Pictures Classics and Cinelou Films' THE COMEDIAN (DIR Taylor Hackford) will play as a Special Screening of AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. The film stars Oscar® winner Robert De Niro, along with Leslie Mann, Oscar® nominee Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Oscar® winner Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone and Oscar® nominee Harvey Keitel. Written by Art Linson, directed by Oscar® winner Taylor Hackford and produced by Art Linson, John Linson, Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon and Taylor Hackford, THE COMEDIAN will screen on Friday, November 11, at the Egyptian Theatre.

"AFI FEST has always been one of the best places to launch a major film," said Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classics Co-President. "Taylor Hackford's accomplished and biting comedy is a perfect premiere for the festival. Robert De Niro and Leslie Mann have never been better, and the supporting cast is constantly surprising."

In THE COMEDIAN, an aging comic icon, Jackie (De Niro) has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother (DeVito) and his wife (LuPone), Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets Harmony (Mann), the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul (Keitel), and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences.

As Previously Announced

The Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of RULES DON'T APPLY (DIR Warren Beatty) on Thursday, November 10. Isabelle Huppert will be honored with a Tribute on Sunday, November 13, followed by a Centerpiece Gala screening of ELLE (DIR Paul Verhoeven). Annette Bening will be honored with a Tribute on Wednesday, November 16, followed by a Centerpiece Gala screening of 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (DIR Mike Mills).

In celebration of the 30th edition of the festival, a trio of diverse female trailblazers are featured in both the festival's 2016 key art and programming lineup. AFI FEST will spotlight Dorothy Dandridge, the first African American nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award®; Ida Lupino, a pioneering director, writer, producer and actress who became the first woman to direct a film noir; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American actress to rise to international prominence.

AFI FEST takes place November 10–17, 2016, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.

For the 13th consecutive year, AFI FEST will showcase the very best in global cinema thanks to the visionary support of presenting sponsor Audi.

Patron Packages ensure reserved seats for Gala screenings, and all proceeds benefit the educational programs of the American Film Institute. A limited number of individual tickets to all of the Galas and other screenings are also made available at no charge thanks to the event sponsors. Go to AFI.com now to purchase Patron Packages, which can include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events. Individual tickets will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.

As part of their membership benefits, AFI members will receive a complimentary AFI FEST Cinepass, which allows access to all regular screenings and special offers 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.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2016, once again championing innovative filmmakers from around the globe through its steadfast support of the festival and AFI's mission.

Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.

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 movies and TV series 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, instagram.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. Celebrating its 30th edition, 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 10–17, 2016. 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/AFI.

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 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th 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 http://www.audiusa.com or http://www.audiusa.com/newsroom for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.


CONTACTS:
Shari Mesulam, American Film Institute, 323.856.7672 or festpublicity@AFI.com
Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, 323.856.7885 or LAmeen@AFI.com