AFI Fest: 8 Standouts From 2019 Indie Films Set for Hollywood Reporter Panel

Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown, Cynthia Erivo, Jimmie Fails, Jon Hamm, Florence Pugh, Kerry Washington and Alfre Woodard will discuss the challenges and rewards of making independent movies with The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg on Nov. 17.
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Clockwise from top left: Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown, Cynthia Erivo, Jimmie Fails, Alfre Woodard, Kerry Washington, Florence Pugh, Jon Hamm

Eight performers currently garnering awards buzz for their work in 2019 independent films will appear on the 33rd AFI Fest's Indie Contenders Panel: Awkwafina (lead actress, The Farewell); Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown (supporting actor, Waves); Tony and Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo (lead actress, Harriet); Jimmie Fails (lead actor, The Last Black Man in San Francisco); Emmy winner Jon Hamm (supporting actor, The Report); Florence Pugh (lead actress, Fighting With My Family and Midsommar); Emmy nominee Kerry Washington (lead actress, American Son); and Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard (lead actress, Clemency).

The 90-minute panel will take place Nov. 17 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's historic Blossom Room, the site of the first Academy Awards ceremony. Featuring clips and conversation about the challenges and rewards of making indie films, it will be presented by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by yours truly. Video of the entire gathering will exclusively appear on this blog shortly thereafter.

AFI Fest, the biggest film festival in the heart of Hollywood, is set to run Nov. 14-21, opening with the world premiere of AFI alum Melina Matsoukas' Queen & Slim (Universal), closing with the world premiere of George Nolfi's The Banker (Apple) and also featuring the world premiere of Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell (Warner Bros.).

The 2018 edition of the Indie Contenders Panel, which you can watch here, featured Willem Dafoe (lead actor, At Eternity's Gate); Richard E. Grant (supporting actor, Can You Ever Forgive Me?); Kathryn Hahn (lead actress, Private Life); Felicity Jones (lead actress, On the Basis of Sex); Joanna Kulig (lead actress, Cold War); Thomasin McKenzie (supporting actress, Leave No Trace); Rosamund Pike (lead actress, A Private War); and John C. Reilly (lead actor, Stan & Ollie and The Sisters Brothers).

The 2017 edition, which you can watch here, featured Sean Baker (co-writer and director, The Florida Project); Richard Gere (lead actor, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer); Salma Hayek (lead actress, Beatriz at Dinner); Diane Kruger (lead actress, In the Fade); Kumail Nanjiani (co-writer and lead actor, The Big Sick); Robert Pattinson (lead actor, Good Time); Margot Robbie (lead actress, I, Tonya); and Lois Smith (supporting actress, Marjorie Prime).

The 2016 edition, which you can watch here, featured Kate Beckinsale (lead actress, Love & Friendship); Adam Driver (lead actor, Paterson); Sally Field (lead actress, Hello, My Name Is Doris); Rebecca Hall (lead actress, Christine); Margo Martindale (supporting actress, The Hollars); Viggo Mortensen (lead actor, Captain Fantastic); Ruth Negga (lead actress, Loving); Chris Pine (lead actor, Hell or High Water); and Miles Teller (lead actor, Bleed for This).

The 2015 edition, which you can watch here, featured Ramin Bahrani (writer/director, 99 Homes); Blythe Danner (lead actress, I'll See You in My Dreams); Saoirse Ronan (lead actress, Brooklyn); Jason Segel (supporting actor, The End of the Tour); Sarah Silverman (lead actress, I Smile Back); Lily Tomlin (lead actress, Grandma); and Olivia Wilde (lead actress/producer, Meadowland).

And the 2014 edition, which you can watch here, featured J.C. Chandor (writer/director, A Most Violent Year); Damien Chazelle (writer/director, Whiplash); Marion Cotillard (lead actress, Two Days, One Night); Jake Gyllenhaal (lead actor, Nightcrawler); Bill Hader (lead actor, The Skeleton Twins); Michelle Monaghan (actress, Fort Bliss); Kristen Stewart (supporting actress, Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria); and Tilda Swinton (lead actress, Snowpiercer).