Paramount to tease ‘Selma’ at AFI Fest

One of the shoes left to drop this season is Ava DuVernay's “Selma,” but it looks like there will be an earlier peek at the film than originally anticipated. AFI Fest has announced a “first look” at 30 minutes of exclusive footage from the Martin Luther King Jr. film on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

While not a greatest hits “biopic” by the strictest definition, “Selma” tells the story of the epic march from Selma to Montgomery that culminated with President Lyndon B. Johnson (played by Tom Wilkinson in the film) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. David Oyelowo stars as King with Carmen Ejogo as his Wife, Coretta Scott King. Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey, among others, also star.

Previously a footage presentation was held in New York during the Urbanworld Film Festival in September. So I guess the AFI Fest event is more of a “second look” than a “first look,” eh? Meanwhile, footage presentations seem to be all the rage. Fox has put on a couple for “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” Whatever happened to just showing the movie when you have it ready?

That said, it's probably a good idea to get the conversation percolating on this film, rather than leave it to be potentially devoured by late drops like “Unbroken” and “American Sniper” (both of which, it should be noted, are stirring some problematic buzz behind the scenes). A24 made a similar decision by premiering “A Most Violent Year” at the festival rather than wait too long for the Dec. 31 release. Also premiering at AFI Fest is Rupert Wyatt's “The Gambler.”

“Selma” opens in limited release on Christmas Day before going wide on Jan. 9, 2015.