Oprah convinces Ava DuVernay to screen all of ‘Selma’ at AFI Fest

For awhile,  Ava DuVernay”s “Middle of Nowhere” follow-up “Selma” looked like Paramount Pictures”s perpetually-teased-never-shown December holdout, a big question mark for Oscar season. The movie only wrapped production over the summer. Post-production was racing towards a release date. Would it be done in time? Fear not: The Martin Luther King Jr. drama will scrap its plans to screen 30 minutes of exclusive footage at the currently-running AFI Festival and let the entire feature out of the gates.

After the “Selma” trailer played like gangbusters, Oprah, the film”s executive producer, and DuVernay took to Twitter to celebrate. The result was DuVernay throwing caution to the wind:


Centered around a1965 voting equality campaign mounted by Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo), “Selma” tracks the march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery that culminated in President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a historic moment for the Civil Rights Movement. The film is a cavalcade of talent, including Wendell Pierce, Alessandro Nivola, Dylan Baker, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding Jr,, Giovanni Ribisi, Keith Sanfield, Common, Andre Holland, Jeremy Strong, Tessa Thompson, Colman Domingo and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King.

The premiere screening of “Selma” will take place at the originally scheduled time on Nov. 11. DuVernay”s surprise arrives on the heels of AFI”s announcement of a “sneak preview” of an “unknown” film that same night at 9 P.M.. Multiple reports indicate that “Selma” does not fill that slot.

“Selma” will open in limited release on Christmas Day and expand on Jan. 9, 2015.

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