Los Angeles, CA, September 16, 2009—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi announces 12 films that will screen at this year’s Festival (October 30-November 7) including Lee Daniels’ PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, Werner Herzog’s THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS and Bong Joon-ho’s MOTHER.


The film festival, which will debut it’s groundbreaking “See a Film on Us” initiative featuring complimentary tickets to all films including a limited number of seats at each Gala Presentation, will be headquartered at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel between October 30 and November 5. AFI FEST will then move to Santa Monica for the final two days of screenings presented in association with the American Film Market (AFM).


Lee Daniels’ PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE is the first announced Gala Presentation at this year’s AFI FEST. Set in 1980’s Harlem, the film tells a story of salvation through education against all odds as it follows the hopeful trajectory of ‘Claireece Precious Jones (played by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight and illiterate teen pregnant with her second child and abused by her poisonously angry mother. The film also stars Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sheri Shepherd and Lenny Kravitz. PRECIOUS will be released by Lionsgate on November 6.


AFI FEST 2009 will also mark the return of Werner Herzog to the Festival after Herzog’s celebrated panel appearance two years ago. Herzog’s THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS is a loosely interpreted re-imagining of Abel Ferrara’s gritty classic starring Nicolas Cage as a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is to scoring drugs. Complicating his tumultuous life is the prostitute he loves (played by Eva Mendes). The film also stars Val Kilmer.


The Festival also welcomes back Bong Joon-ho (following the screening of THE HOST in 2006). The South Korean entry for the Academy Awards, Bong’s MOTHER is an inventive thriller that follows a woman’s personal investigation into a murder in order to clear the name of the accused – her son.


Two French/Italian co-productions, A PROPHET and VINCERE will also be presented to Los Angeles audiences for the first time. Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET traces the journey of a young Arab man, who becomes a mafia kingpin after he is sent to a French prison. Marco Bellocchio’s VINCERE is a biographical drama that tells the story of Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dalser and their son Albino. 


Also included in the list of film titles announced today are the latest work by such noted auteurs as acclaimed French New Wave director Claude Chabrol (BELLAMY), Ken Loach (LOOKING FOR ERIC) and Harmony Korine (TRASH HUMPERS).


“These first dozen titles offer a wonderful preview to our lineup which is a survey of the year’s significant films. They represent a diversity of voices and we take great pride in being able to bring them to Los Angeles audiences for the first time,” said Rose Kuo, AFI FEST Artistic Director.


The twelve official selections include:



Director: Werner Herzog

Set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Nicolas Cage plays a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is to scoring drugs — while playing fast and loose with the law. With the prostitute he loves, the couple  descends into a world marked by desire, compulsion and conscience. The film also stars Eva Mendes and Val Kilmer.


BELLAMY (France)

Director: Claude Chabrol

A famous French detective (played by Gerard Depardieu) on vacation in Languedoc investigates a mystery man who approaches him claiming to have killed someone. The film also stars Clovis Cornillac and Jacques Gamblin.



Director: Maren Ade

Drama follows the volatile relationship resulting from the psychological and emotional ties between two young lovers.



Director: Michael Hoffman

A historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things. The film stars Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer and Paul Giamatti.



Director: Ken Loach

Eric, a football fanatic postman whose life is descending into crisis, receives some life-coaching from a poster of the famously philosophical footballer, Eric Cantona.


MOTHER (Madeo) (South Korea)

Director: Bong Joon-ho

This thriller follows the investigation of a murder by a mother desperate to find the killer who framed her son for the crime.



Director: Corneliu Porumboiu

This drama follows the impact on a young policeman’s life after he refuses to arrest another man for offering drugs to his friends.



Director: Lee Daniels

In Harlem, an overweight and illiterate teen pregnant with her second child and abused by her domineering mother is invited to enroll in an alternative school with the dream to move her life in a new direction. The film stars Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz, and introducing Gabourey Sidibe.


A PROPHET (France/Italy)

Director: Jacques Audiard

A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.



Directors: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker

Three inter-connected films set in the years 1974, 1980 and 1983 trace the crime and corruption in West Yorkshire, England. The films star Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Paddy Considine, Andrew Garfield and Rebecca Hall.



Director: Harmony Korine

A cinema verite look at a fringe cult-freak collective with a penchant for anti-social behavior and activities.


VINCERE (Italy/France)

Director: Marco Bellocchio

This drama tells the story of Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dalser and their son, Albino.


Free tickets are available to all festival screenings – in advance at, at the Mann Theatres (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) on October 26, or on the day of scheduled screenings via rush lines. Reserved seating can be secured by becoming a patron of the film festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit



AFI is a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media. Celebrating its 23rd year as a program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi will take place October 30-November 7. Kicking off the awards season each year, AFI FEST offers a crucial avenue of exposure to the entertainment community, while providing appreciative audiences with a festive atmosphere and the very best of world film, right in the center of the film capital of the world.


AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Community Redevelopment Agency, City of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign Trust. AFI FEST is made possible in part by a grant from the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AFI FEST is proud to continue its collaborative partnership with the Skirball Cultural Center.


AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi is sponsored in part by American Airlines, Absolut Vodka, Little Black Dress Wine, Stella Artois, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Mann Theatres, RR Donnelly, Los Angeles Times and American Film Market (AFM). Entertainment Weekly as the Presenting Media Sponsor.

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