AFI Fest Kicks Off With "Saving Mr. Banks"

AFI Festival Saving Mr. Banks

The North American Premiere Gala of Disney’s SAVING MR. BANKS will open the AFI festival today Thursday, November 7. Agnès Varda, considered “the mother of French New Wave cinema,” will serve as Guest Artistic Director. 

“The American Film Institute honors the past, the present and the future of the motion picture arts. Now in its 27th year, AFI FEST remains the place to experience Hollywood now – a place that lives in the mythology of the movies, but also home to the dynamic global stories of today,” said AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

Inspired by true events, SAVING MR. BANKS is the extraordinary, untold story of how Walt Disney’s classic MARY POPPINS made it to the screen – and the testy relationship between the legendary Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it. John Lee Hancock (THE BLIND SIDE) is the director, and Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith wrote the screenplay. SAVING MR. BANKS also stars Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell. 

MARY POPPINS premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1964 with both Walt Disney and P.L. Travers in attendance. The film was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture and garnered 12 more Oscar® nominations. Out of the 13 nominations, MARY POPPINS won five, including Best Actress for its star, Julie Andrews. The song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest movie songs of all time. MARY POPPINS is ranked among the top 10 of AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals. Bridging the present and the past, AFI FEST celebrates SAVING MR. BANKS and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Disney classic with a screening of MARY POPPINS during the festival’s opening weekend at the renowned movie palace where it first debuted to the world.

As AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director, Agnès Varda, often called the mother of the French New Wave movement, will present a program of films that have inspired her work.

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