The Beyonce collaborator Melina Matsoukas will kick off the American Film Institute’s annual festival in Los Angeles this year.
The world premiere of “Queen & Slim” at the 33rd AFI Fest tells the story of a young black couple on an awkward first date who are pulled over for a minor traffic violation.
After the situation escalates and they kill the police officer in self-defense, the pair are forced to go on the run together.
Director Matsoukas has overseen a dozen Beyonce music videos including the provocative Grammy-winning “Formation,” and was honored by the pop superstar at the AFI’s lifetime achievement gala event in June.
“She is holding up a mirror for people who look like you and me to see ourselves, saying, ‘You are beautiful, and your stories matter’,” Beyonce said of her “sister” Matsoukas.
The film also stars Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) and Chloe Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry”) and is written by Lena Waithe (“Master of None”.)
AFI Festivals director Michael Lumpkin said the movie “speaks, better than any film this year, to the effects of racism and violence in our country today.”
The AFI Fest begins November 14 in Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre.