Apple TV+ First Film The Banker will close AFI Fest 2019

Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie in a scene from The Banker.

The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that AFI Fest 2019 presented by Audi will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s The Banker. The Closing Night Gala will take place on Thursday, November 21 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

Michael Lumpkin, director of AFI Festivals, said: “The Banker joins a remarkable group of films being released this year that openly confront centuries of racism and injustice in our country while celebrating the brave individuals whose activism has created real change.”

Based on a true story, The Banker centers on revolutionary businessmen Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson), who devise an audacious and risky plan to take on the racist establishment of the 1960s by helping other African Americans pursue the American dream.

Along with Garret’s wife Eunice (Nia Long), they train a working-class White man, Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult), to pose as the rich and privileged face of their burgeoning real estate and banking empire, while Garrett and Morris pose as a janitor and a chauffeur. Their success ultimately draws the attention of the federal government, which threatens everything the four have built.

The drama is directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) and produced by Joe Viertel. Brad Feinstein produced under his Romulus Entertainment banner, along producers Nolfi, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Baker, David Lewis Smith and Anthony Mackie. The executive producers are Joseph F. Ingrassia, Samuel L. Jackson, Will Greenfield, David Gendron and Ali Jazayeri.

The Banker is written by Niceole Levy, George Nolfi, David Lewis Smith and Stan Younger from a story by David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger and Brad Caleb Kane.

The Banker opens in theaters on December 6, 2019, before it debuts on Apple TV+, a new home for the world’s most creative storytellers, in January 2020.

AFI Fest 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles.  Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s Queen & Slim.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI Fest, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

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