By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D.
The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi will close with the World premiere of Apple’s The Banker, Apple TV’s first original film, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie.
Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI Festivals shared, “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), who also co-wrote and co-produced the film along with Anthony Mackie, Joe Viertel, Brad Feinstein, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Baker and David Lewis Smith.
The film is executive produced by Samuel L. Jackson, Joseph F. Ingrassia, Will Greenfield, David Gendron and Ali Jazayeri. Niceole Levy, David Lewis Smith and Stan Younger co-wrote the screenplay which was adapted from a story by David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger and Brad Caleb Kane.
AFI Fest 2019 opens November 14 with the highly anticipated film Queen & Slim written by Lena Waithe and starring Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner Smith, Chloë Sevigny and Bokeem Woodbine. The Closing Night Gala will take place on Thursday, November 21 at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
The Banker opens in theaters December 6, 2019, before it debuts on Apple TV+ in January 2020.
This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., entertainment and culture editor for NNPA/Black Press USA. Nsenga is also founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news blog The Burton Wire, which covers news of the African Diaspora. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.