Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biopic 'On the Basis of Sex' to Open AFI Fest

The film, in which Felicity Jones plays Ginsburg, will have its world premiere at the festival Nov. 8.

Mimi Leder’s On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will have its world premiere as the opening night film of the 32nd edition of AFI Fest on Nov. 8 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Produced by Participant Media in association with Alibaba Pictures, the film recounts the early career of the Supreme Court Justice and also stars Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Jack Reynor, Cailee Spaeny, Sam Waterston and Kathy Bates. The film, which Focus Features is releasing Dec. 25, also boasts AFI credentials since Leder was a member of the AFI class of ’73, and Robert W. Cort, who produced along with Participant’s Jonathan King, is an AFI Conservatory lecturer. Its screenplay is written by Daniel Stiepleman.  

"AFI was founded to celebrate excellence in the art form and to ensure it for future generations," Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO, said in announcing the opening night film. "On the Basis of Sex brings these dual mandates together as one — a story essential to our times and a triumph for one of the first female directors at the AFI Conservatory. It's our honor to shine a proper light upon Mimi and this landmark film."

"As one of the first women ever admitted to the AFI Conservatory, it's particularly meaningful to me that On the Basis of Sex will open AFI Fest 2018," Leder said. "My time at the Conservatory was a life-changing experience and informed my creative journey. I am forever grateful. The origin story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in this 25th anniversary year of her appointment to the Supreme Court, couldn't come at a more important moment in our history nor be shown at a more relevant place than AFI Fest, a symbol of artistic integrity and the enduring power of cinema. I hope girls and young women in particular will see the film and find inspiration to realize their own unlimited potential."

AFI Fest will run Nov. 8-15 at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt.