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AFI opens with Johnny Cash bio Walk The Line

AFI FEST presented by Audi: AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival - has become one of the most influential film festivals in North America. Now in its 19th year as a program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST spans 10 days each November and features international competitions of brand new films from emerging filmmakers, global showcases of the latest work from the great film masters and nightly red-carpet gala premieres.

AFI FEST 2005 presented by Audi kicks off on November 3 at the Cinerama Dome with the hotly anticipated Twentieth Century Fox release WALK THE LINE. On November 13, AFI FEST will present the North American premiere of CASANOVA, directed by Oscar®-nominated Lasse Hallström (CHOCOLAT, CIDER HOUSE RULES). Other Gala Presentations include the US Premiere THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA directed by Tommy Lee Jones, and the US Premiere of THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Anthony Hopkins. Overall, 129 feature narrative, feature documentary and short films from 44 countries were culled from over 3,000 submissions. 20 World Premieres, 21 North American Premieres and 18 US Premiers are included in the line-up, which is divided into several regional global showcases, including Special Screenings, the Latin Cinema Series, Asian New Classics, the European Film Showcase, Made In Germany and the International Competition of Features, Documentaries and Shorts

In 1955, a tough, skinny guitar-slinger who called himself J.R. Cash walked into the soon-to-be-famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was a moment that would have an indelible effect on American culture. With his driving freight-train chords, steel-eyed intensity and a voice as deep and black as night, Cash sang blistering songs of heartache and survival that were gutsy, full of real life and unlike anything heard before.
That day kicked off the electrifying early career of Johnny Cash. As he pioneered a fiercely original sound that blazed a trail for rock, country, punk, folk and rap stars to come, Cash began a rough-and-tumble journey of personal transformation. In the most volatile period of his life, he evolved from a self-destructive pop star into the iconic “Man in Black” – facing down his demons, fighting for the love that would raise him up, and learning how to walk the razor-thin line between destruction and redemption.

The story of the young Johnny Cash and his incendiary love affair with June Carter Cash, comes to life in WALK THE LINE, directed by James Mangold (Heavy, Cop Land, Girl Interrupted, Identity) from a script by Mangold and Gill Dennis (Riders of the Purple Sage), based on Cash’s books Man in Black and Cash: The Autobiography. The film is produced by Cathy Konrad (Citizen Ruth, Beautiful Girls, Scream, Cop Land, Girl Interrupted, Identity) and James Keach (The Stars Fell on Henrietta),and was developed for seven years with the close cooperation of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash before their deaths in 2003.
WALK THE LINE stars Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Golden Globe nominee Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Phoenix and Witherspoon sing every note of their roles themselves in live performances that capture the spirit of the music that drove Johnny and June’s relationship.

The story begins in Depression-era Arkansas, as the film traces the origins of Cash’s sound back to his beginnings as a sharecropper’s son; moves through his wild tours with rock and roll pioneers Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Waylon Jennings; and culminates in his unforgettable 1968 concert in Folsom Prison. He became the hottest artist of the day, outselling even the Beatles. WALK THE LINE chronicles the birth of a new kind of American artist who had to move past raw anger, the ravages of addiction, and the temptations of stardom to discover the voice that would make him a hero to generations. Those early years encompass the themes that ran through Cash’s music and minimalist style: death, love, treachery, sin, hope and faith.

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