The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that the 32nd edition of AFI FEST presented by Audi will open with the World Premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” the Felicity Jones-starring Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic directed by Mimi Leder. “On the Basis of Sex” centers around Ginsburg as a young lawyer as she teams up with her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), to bring a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals that will overturn a century of gender discrimination. The supporting cast includes Justin Theroux, Sam Waterston, Jack Reynor, and Kathy Bates as civil liberties lawyer Dorothy Kenyon.
The Opening Night Gala screening will take place Thursday, November 8, 2018, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
“AFI was founded to celebrate excellence in the art form and to ensure it for future generations,” said Bob Gazzale, President & CEO, AFI in an official statement. “‘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.”
Leder added in her own statement, “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,” she said. “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 film is notable for being Leder’s first feature in nearly 10 years. The director is best known on the big screen for “The Peacemaker” and “Deep Impact,” but in recent years she has flourished on television with acclaimed work on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” on which she also served as executive producer. The movie is written by Ginsburg’s nephew, Daniel Stiepleman.
Focus Features will release “On the Basis of Sex” in theater December 25. The film is produced by Participant Media.
This year’s AFI FEST will run November 8 – 15 in Los Angeles.