“Concussion” will have its world premiere as a centerpiece gala at the AFI Fest on Nov. 10, the American Film Institute announced on Wednesday.
The film will join Angelina Jolie‘s opening-night film “By the Sea” and Adam McKay‘s closing-night feature “The Big Short” as high-profile premieres at the festival, which will take place in Hollywood from Nov. 5 through Nov. 12.
Written and directed by Peter Landesman, “Concussion” stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist from Nigeria who researched incidences of traumatic brain injury in the National Football League.
The film recently found itself in some controversy when reports suggested that it had been softened to appease the NFL, charges that the filmmakers denied.
“Although the film doesn’t open until Christmas, with all of the recent debate about it, we are excited to show it sooner so that the discussion can be more informed,” said Tom Rothman, chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, which is releasing the film on December 25.
“‘Concussion’ is a great American immigrant story. An outsider, whose greatest aspiration is to belong, takes on an American corporate Goliath at incredible personal risk,” he said. “His only weapon is the knowledge that he is right and his belief that in America, truth will prevail.”
The full lineup of the AFI Fest will be announced in October. The festival will take place at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 multiplex, the Dolby Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, all within a three-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.
Ticket packages are now on sale at the AFI Fest website. Individual tickets will be offered free of charge to the public beginning Monday, Oct. 26.