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AFI Fest 2016: Moana, Miss Sloane, The Comedian to world premiere

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Disney; Kerry Hayes; Sony Pictures Classics

As the fall movie season heats up, the AFI Fest announced Tuesday afternoon it will host world premieres of three of the year’s most anticipated titles: Disney’s animated adventure story Moana, the Jessica Chastain gun control drama Miss Sloane, and the Robert De Niro-fronted The Comedian.

All three films will screen as part of the annual festival’s Special Screenings section, which also includes Garth Davis’ Lion, Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, and the documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in its 2016 lineup.

Moana, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first major release since 2014’s Big Hero 6, follows a young girl (Auli’i Cravalho) who sets sail for a fabled island alongside a demi-god named Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). The film additionally features the voices of Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk.

Miss Sloane, which also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Alison Pill, and John Lithgow, revolves around a lobbyist (Chastain) who exits a law firm so she can focus on passing a gun control bill.

Alison Cohen Rosa

The Comedian sees De Niro playing an aging stand-up comic whose well of inspiration dries up after he gains popularity on a TV sitcom. Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Keitel, Edie Falco, Patti LuPone, and Hannibal Buress co-star.

“It’s a movie that was made by older guys,” De Niro previously told EW with a laugh, referencing himself, director Taylor Hackford, and producer Art Linson, who also co-wrote the film’s script. “And it’s about getting older — seen through this very interesting form of expression, stand-up, which is a lot of work even when you’re old.”

Previously announced titles playing at the Oscar precursor festival include Warren Beatty’s directorial comeback Rules Don’t Apply, Natalie Portman’s buzzed-about Jacqueline Kennedy biopic Jackie, and the likely best picture contender La La Land. In recent years, the AFI Fest has launched Oscar competitors like Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln into the awards race with high profile world premiere screenings.

Tickets for the Special Screenings presentations will be available on AFI’s website beginning Nov. 1. Moana opens nationwide on Nov. 23; Miss Sloane and The Comedian follow with theatrical bows on Nov. 25 and Jan. 13, respectively.

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