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AFI Opening Night Film Announced! Apocalyptic thriller with Julia Roberts!

Leave the World Behind also stars Ethan Hawke and Mahershala Ali

LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND (2023) Mahershela Ali as G.H., Myha’la Herrold as Ruth, Julia Roberts as Amanda and Ethan Hawke as Clay CR: JoJo Whilden

Now this is exciting.

With all the gloomy news swirling around the industry at the moment it’s nice when something puts a smile on ya’ dial.

AFI Fest 2023 has announced that Leave the World Behind, written and directed by AFI Conservatory Alum Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004), will open the 37th edition of AFI FEST.

Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam, the highly anticipated apocalyptic thriller stars Academy Award® winner Julia Roberts, Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali, Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke, Myha’la, Farrah Mackenzie, Charlie Evans and Kevin Bacon, and is produced by Esmail Corp, Red Om Films and Higher Ground Productions from Netflix Studios.

The Opening Night Red Carpet Premiere screening will take place Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

In this apocalyptic thriller, Amanda (Julia Roberts) and her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke), rent a luxurious home for the weekend with their kids, Archie (Charlie Evans) and Rose (Farrah Mackenzie). Their vacation is soon upended when two strangers — G.H. (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha’la) — arrive in the night, bearing news of a mysterious cyberattack and seeking refuge in the house they claim is theirs. The two families reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.

“Sam Esmail is a commanding voice in the new generation of cinematic storytellers, and we are proud to present the World Premiere of his new film at AFI FEST,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “That he is a graduate of the AFI Conservatory only adds to the pride we feel in celebrating this accomplishment – which is both powerful and profound.”

AFI FEST 2023 will take place on October 25-29 at the TCL Chinese Theatres in the heart of Hollywood. The five-day festival will once again include a curated selection of Red Carpet Premieres, Special Screenings, World Cinema, Documentaries and Short Films.

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