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‘Lions’ opens AFI Fest

Redford drama, festival share launch party

UA and the AFI Fest shared a kickoff Thursday: the studio’s first release under new management, “Lions for Lambs,” was the opener for the 21st annual festival.

Fest artistic director Rose Kuo said there’s been a debate between the efficacy of docus and dramas regarding the Iraq war and “by opening with this, we’re saying with a loud voice that fictional films have a key role to play in the dialogue.”

In his pre-screening remarks at the Cinerama Dome, helmer-star Robert Redford said the film shows “the effect and consequences of the last six years on our country and should provoke some debate, something we’ve been denied for some time.”

In the context of describing the film, one guest at the Social after-party said it was “making a statement for a price film,” and the comment was not meant to be pejorative.

Pic had a major turnout of stars on the red carpet with stars Tom Cruise with Katie Holmes and Meryl Streep joined by the likes of Will Smith and David Beckham. However the stars and top tier MGM/UA execs exited pre-screening leaving the after-party lacking in filmmakers.

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