Director Steve McQueen follows the acclaimed Hunger and Shame with this shocking, based-on-fact story of a 19th-century freeman kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South.Programer's Note
The enormously talented Chiwetel Ejiofor leads an extraordinary cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard and Benedict Cumberbatch.
by Steve McQueen
USA, 2013, Feature Film, Biopic, 133 minutes, English, Rating: 18A
starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong'o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard
Screenplay: John Ridley
adapted from Solomon Northup (novel)
First with Hunger
and then with Shame
, Steve McQueen established himself as a director of the highest order, and a filmmaker in keen pursuit of truth. Drawing on a shocking real-life story, 12 Years a Slave
illuminates, like no other film before it, what it must have been like to live as an American slave.
In Saratoga Springs, New York, 1841, Solomon Northup is a free man making his living as a musician. After accepting a job offer from two men to play for a circus, he soon finds himself kidnapped, transported to the South and sold into slavery. Forced to take a new name, he is thrown together with other enslaved African Americans, each suffering the horrors of gruelling labour, daily humiliations, and families torn apart. But for Northup, there is the added nightmare of remembering the freedom and identity he so recently enjoyed.
Working with the enormously talented Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup, McQueen crafts a portrait of a man who refuses to let slavery extinguish his spirit. Denied the most basic human expression and subjected to brutal punishments whenever he asserts his freedom, he holds onto his dignity, writing down his story in secret.
Supporting Ejiofor are extraordinary performances from Alfre Woodard, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o. There's even a small role for Brad Pitt, a producer on the film, as a Canadian abolitionist.
Powerful, visceral, and often heartbreaking, 12 Years a Slave
communicates the horrors of slave society and the physical experience of slavery in one unforgettable film.CAMERON BAILEY (TIFF 2013, Toronto)
Principal Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong'o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard
Orig. Work Title: Twelve Years A Slave
Runtime: 133 minutes
Director: Steve McQueen
Screenplay: John Ridley
Source Author: Solomon Northup
Cinematographer: Sean Bobbitt
Editor: Joe Walker
Music: Hans Zimmer
Prod. Designer: Adam Stockhausen
Exec. Producer: Tessa Ross, John Ridley
Producer: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas
Production Co.: River Road, Plan B Entertainment, New Regency
U.S. Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Int. Sales Agent: Summit Entertainment, a Lionsgate company
Release Date: US Oct. 18, 2013
Release Date: UK Jan. 24, 2014
2013 | 38th Toronto International Film Festival | TORONTO, Canada | September 5 to 15, 2013.* World Premiere
* Selection: Festival - Special Presentation
* Screening: Friday September 6 / Princess of Wales / 6:00 PM
* Screening: Saturday September 7 / Ryerson Theatre / 11:30 AM
* Screening: Saturday September 14 / Visa Screening Room (Elgin) /