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Woody Harrelson's 'The Messenger' to Premiere at AFI Festival

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Post-screening panel of "The Messenger" with Woody Harrelson and Director Oren Moverman from Thomas Attila Lewis on Vimeo.

The AFI Film Festival starts this Friday and while there are many excellent films to choose from, we highly recommend The Messenger which has its Los Angeles premiere at the festival.

The film stars Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster as U.S. Army officers assigned to the Army's Casualty Notification service whose duty is to deliver notification of death to the next-of-kin of fallen soldiers.

We went to the New York City premiere of the film at the CMJ Film Festival and shot the video of Woody Harrelson and the film's director, Oren Moverman, answering questions from the audience about the film and their preparation for it. This is a powerful and moving film that had us holding onto the armrests with anxiety every time these two soldiers walked up to a doorway to deliver the worst news anyone could ever receive.

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To achieve some of the realism, the actual rehearsals were shot which meant that the actors hadn't walked through the action before: there were no blocking marks, they didn't know how and where to sit down in a scene, or who was going to be standing behind who, etc. - the result of which was a gripping awkwardness that is as close to reality as we would ever want to get but was totally addicting as well. One audience member told the panel that they found themselves wanting more "notification scenes" as if they were suffering from withdrawals.