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Apple pulls movie from film festival on unspecified concerns

[SAN FRANCISCO]  Apple Inc cancelled the premiere of the movie "The Banker" at the American Film Institute's annual festival, citing unspecified concerns.

Apple acquired worldwide rights to the film in July, and scheduled its release for December, in the thick of the Hollywood awards season. The picture stars Anthony Mackie as Bernard Garrett, an African-American who built a small financial business using a white man as a front.

"Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention," Apple said Wednesday in a statement. "We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps. In light of this, we are no longer premiering ‘The Banker' at AFI Fest."

According to a report late Wednesday by the Hollywood Reporter, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett, daughters of the film's protagonist, have accused their half-brother, Bernard Garrett Jr, of sexually assaulting them when they were children.

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The sisters also criticised the film, of which their half-brother is a producer, for omitting their mother's role in building Bernard Garrett Sr's business. Cynthia Garrett tweeted the allegations about the assault and the storyline on Saturday.

Apple hasn't announced any changes to the planned commercial release. "The Banker" is scheduled to be one of the company's very first original films, along with "Hala," which is also due out next month.

Apple has told producers that it's sensitive to programming that could tarnish its brand, and has in the past delayed the release of shows due to foul language or other concerns.

"We purchased ‘The Banker' earlier this year as we were moved by the film's entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy," the company said.

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