12 YEARS

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in "12 Years a Slave." The acclaimed historical drama kicks off the Envelope Screening Series Tuesday night. (Fox Searchlight)

The seventh annual Envelope Screening Series opens Tuesday night with the acclaimed historical drama "12 Years a Slave" from director Steve McQueen. The film, based on the account of Solomon Northrup, a free black man in the pre-Civil War North who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South, has connected with festival audiences and received a standing ovation from academy members at a screening on Sunday.

Harrowing in its depiction of slavery, the film has been called by many awards watchers an Oscar front-runner for best picture. Following the Envelope screening, McQueen and cast members Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Northrup, newcomer Lupita Nyong'o and Alfre Woodard, along with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt will join The Times' John Horn in a discussion about the making of the movie.

For the second year in a row, premium television network Epix will broadcast the invitation-only panel discussions. Check back here as well on Wednesday to watch the panel in its entirety and throughout the week for video clips of the night's highlights.

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