Denzel Washington Drama ‘Flight’ to Close New York Film Festival

50th New York Film Festival will close with world premiere of Robert Zemeckis' "Flight," featuring Denzel Washington as airline pilot

The Robert Zemeckis drama "Flight," with Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Don Cheadle, has been named closing-night film at the New York Film Festival.

The announcement was made on Thursday by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which produces the NYFF. This year's festival, the 50th, will begin on Sept. 28; "Flight" will have its world premiere on the festival's closing night, Oct. 14.  

Denzel WashingtonLast year, the festival closed with Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," which went on to receive several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

"Flight" will become the first Zemeckis film to play at the festival. The dramatic thriller stars Washington as a pilot who saves everyone on board his airplane with a successful crash landing following a mid-air catastrophe — but his heroic actions are called into question by information that comes out after the crash. Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood and Kelly Reilly are among the other cast members in the film, which opens on Nov. 2.

The film marks Zemeckis' return to live-action filmmaking after a dozen years spent exploring the world of motion-capture with "The Polar Express," "Beowulf" and "A Christmas Carol." His previous films include "Forrest Gump," "Back to the Future" and "Cast Away."

“Robert Zemeckis has shown his diversity as a storyteller in comedies, dramas and has skillfully translated narratives into special effect environments, said Rose Kuo, the executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in a press release announcing the selection. "It is a pleasure to see him bring to life this complicated, tragic-comic portrait of a man in crisis, with an exceptional and poignant performance by Denzel Washington.”

Additional films in the NYFF will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets will be available to the public beginning Sept. 9.