After a 2017 festival that was woefully short on world premieres, AFI Fest has secured a major debut for its 2018 edition. Mimi Leder’s “On The Basis Of Sex” will open the festival on Nov. 8 in Hollywood. And it’s no surprise once you learn Leder is an alum of the American Film Institute.
In a statement, AFI head Bob Gazzale noted, “AFI was founded to celebrate excellence in the art form and to ensure it for future generations. ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ brings these dual mandates together as one — a story essential to our times and a triumph for one of the first female directors at the AFI Conservatory. It’s our honor to shine a proper light upon Mimi and this landmark film.”
READ MORE: Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer in the trailer for “On The Basis Of Sex”
Leder also added, “As one of the first women ever admitted to the AFI Conservatory, it’s particularly meaningful to me that ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ will open AFI FEST 2018. My time at the Conservatory was a life-changing experience and informed my creative journey. I am forever grateful. The origin story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in this 25th anniversary year of her appointment to the Supreme Court, couldn’t come at a more important moment in our history nor be shown at a more relevant place than AFI FEST, a symbol of artistic integrity and the enduring power of cinema. I hope girls and young women, in particular, will see the film and find inspiration to realize their own unlimited potential.”
The Focus Features release finds Oscar nominee Felicity Jones playing the famed Supreme Court judge beginning with her career as a young lawyer to arguing historic cases before America’s highest court. The film also stars Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Jack Reynor and Cailee Spaeny along with am Waterston and Kathy Bates. It’s set for limited release on Dec. 25.
AFI Fest 2018 runs from Nov. 8-15. Other films that could potentially debut at the festival include another Focus film, “Mary Queen of Scots,” Adam McKay’s “Vice” and James Gray’s “Ad Astra.”