The 2005 New York Film Festival will kick off with the North American premiere of George Clooney‘s “Good Night, and Good Luck,” according to Richard Peña, chairman of the New York Film Festival selection committee. David Strathairn stars as CBS News’ Edward R. Murrow and Clooney, who co-wrote the film with Grant Heslov, stars as CBS producer Fred Friendly. The cast includes Robert Downey, Jr. and Patricia Clarkson as Joe and Shirley Wershba, Frank Langella as Bill Paley, Ray Wise as Don Hollenbeck, Grant Heslov as Don Hewitt, and Jeff Daniels as Ted Church.
“For his second film, George Clooney has taken on a challenging subject and succeeded brilliantly,” said Richard Peña in a statement. “Shot in beautiful black and white, ‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ superbly captures the look and feel of the era while delivering a stirring story with striking contemporary relevance.”
The 43rd New York Film Festival, from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is set to run from September 23rd to October 9th in Manhattan.
The film, set in the CBS newsroom of the 1950s, is described as “a suspenseful war of nerves set in the high-stakes environment of the 1950s news room, at a time when the social, cultural, and commercial influence of television was rapidly growing, together with a Cold War atmosphere of fear and paranoia stoked by the infamous investigations of Senator Joseph McCarthy.”
Warner Independent Pictures will release “Good Night, and Good Luck” in October. Co-writer Heslov produced the film, working with Section Eight, 2929 Entertainment, and Participant Productions in association with Davis Films, Redbus Pictures and Tohokushinsha. The film’s executive producers are Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban, Marc Butan, Steven Soderbergh, Jennifer Fox, Ben Cosgrove, Jeff Skoll and Chris Salvatarra.
“Good Night, and Good Luck” explores Edward R. Murrow’s battle against U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s. Murrow, balancing corporate pressures and enlisting the support of Fred Friendly and others, sought to challenge McCarthy with a nationally broadcast news program that would eventually lead to the Senator’s downfall.
The lineup for the 2005 New York Film Festival will be unveiled during the week of August 15th; this year’s selections were chosen by Richard Peña from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Film Comment editor-at-large along with Kent Jones (also from The Film Society), author and critic Phillip Lopate, author and critic-at-large for NPR John Powers, the Village Voice, and the L.A. Weekly; and Entertainment Weekly film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum.