Peter Weir's 'The Way Back' Kicks Off Inaugural Museum of Tolerance Film Fest

Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" will be a Special Presentation screening.

The first Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival will kick off Nov. 13 with a screening of opening night film The Way Back, directed by Peter Weir.

The festival will also present its first Tolerance Award on Nov. 14 to Clint Eastwood, whose film Gran Torino will receive a Special Presentation screening.

Taking place at Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance, the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the festival will run through Nov. 18 and screen 22 films.

Inspired by Slavomir Rawicz’s novel, The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom as well as other real life accounts, Way, which stars Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess and Saoirse Ronan, tells the story of a small group of multi-national prisoners who escaped a Siberian gulag in 1940 and made their way across five countries.

Newmarket Films and Wrekin Hill Entertainment will release the film Jan. 21, following an Academy-qualifying run in December.

"We are proud that the Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival will open with The Way Back, a timeless story of man’s eternal struggle for freedom,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founding director of the MOTIFF and founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said.

The festival line-up includes other current awards hopefuls like Made in Dagenham, starring Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Miranda Richardson, as well as classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and awards winners like Boys Don’t Cry.

Craig Prater, who has overseen both the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Bangkok International Film Festival, will serve as executive director of the fest. His company currently directs The Coachella Valley Latino International Film Festival, Southeast Premieres Film Events of Tampa, Florida and Grande International in Belgrade, Serbia.

“There is no better place for a film festival dedicated to human dignity and mutual respect than the Museum of Tolerance, where every day, people from diverse backgrounds and religions come to learn the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man and the desperate need for a more tolerant society,” Rabbi Hier said. “Cinema leaves a lasting impression on its audiences and is a valuable way to instill the museum’s vision in a new audience.”

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