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Will Smith’s ‘Concussion’ to Premiere at AFI Fest

Will Smith’s drama “Concussion” will make its world premiere at the AFI Fest.

Based on a 2009 GQ article, the film tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born forensic neuropathologist who found Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in the brains of NFL players, discovering a link between football injuries and early-onset dementia that could lead to death. He became at odds with the NFL after the diagnosis.

The movie made headlines recently after the New York Times posted a story centered around emails unveiled by hackers suggesting that Sony executives made unspecified edits to avoid angering the NFL. Sony spoke out against the article, claiming it was “written by individuals who have not seen the film” and that the piece “contains many misleading inferences.”

Sony’s “Concussion”, written and directed by Peter Landesman, is produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman and Elizabeth Cantillon. It will play at AFI on Nov. 10 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

The film opens on Christmas Day and has already emerged as a potential awards season contender. Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Paul Reiser and Luke Wilson also star.

AFI Fest is the perfect stage to unveil ‘Concussion’ and we are privileged to have been chosen as the Centerpiece Gala,” Ridley Scott and Giannina Scott said. “‘Concussion’ is a powerful and uncompromising film about an issue that was ignored for far too long and continues to play out today.”

“‘Concussion’ is a great American immigrant story,” Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, said. “An outsider, whose greatest aspiration is to belong, takes on an American corporate Goliath at incredible personal risk. His only weapon is the knowledge that he is right and his belief that in America, truth will prevail.”

AFI has already announced that its opening night film will be “By the Sea,” starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt, who also directed the pic. Adam McKay’s “The Big Short,” starring Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell, will close the fest on Nov. 12.

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