Emilio Estevez’s “The Public” will open the 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at the Arlington Theatre. Directed, written by, and starring Estevez, the film — which will make its worldwide premiere at SBIFF — also stars Taylor Schilling, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, and Jeffrey Wright.

Gabrielle Union, Christian Slater, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Jacob Vargas, and Michael K. Williams are also featured in the film. “The Public” is set in the Midwest during a brutal cold front, which prompts a group of homeless library patrons who refuse to leave Cincinnati’s downtown public library at closing time when they learn that emergency shelters have reached capacity. As a nonviolent act of civil disobedience escalates into a stand-off with law enforcement officials, issues such as homelessness, mental illness, and drug addiction are explored.

“I’ve long admired Emilio Estevez as an artist, actor, and director. With ‘The Public,’ I feel he has done his most personal and fully realized work,” said Roger Durling, executive director of SBIFF. “‘The Public’ speaks wonderfully about our current divided country, but it also does not preach – it keeps us cinematically immersed. I can honestly say this is the proudest choice for opening during my tenure at SBIFF.  I cherish the friendship with Emilio and admire his accomplishment with ‘The Public.'”

“I’m absolutely delighted, thrilled, and humbled to be chosen by Roger Durling for the great honor of kicking off SBIFF 2018 with ‘The Public,'” said Estevez. “Roger’s long standing commitment of supporting independent filmmakers makes the Santa Barbara International Film Festival a vital showcase for artists. Once again, the festival will screen a wide and wonderful variety of distinguished films and our picture has indeed, found itself in some lovely company.”

Watch the official trailer below. The 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs from Wednesday, Jan. 31 to Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.