Steve McQueen, Madonna

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Add Madonna to the long list of moviegoers walking away from 12 Years a Slave in tears.

The megastar was the surprise guest at the film's premiere last night during the New York Film Festival.

"She was wiping away tears after the movie," a fellow festivalgoer says. "She said she loved the movie."

Madge didn't hit the red carpet during the evening's celebrity arrivals. Instead, she took photos with 12 Years director Steve McQueen backstage before slipping into the theater right as the movie began.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave, Twelve Years a Slave

Fox Searchlight

The movie tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York who was abducted and sold into slavery in 1841. He survived working on plantations in Louisiana for 12 years before he was released. Chitwetel Eliofor stars as Solomon with Michael Fassbender as his brutal slave owner. Both are already big Oscar contenders, as is Lupita Nyong'o, the film's breakout star who plays a slave named Patsey. Brad Pitt, who has a small role in 12 Years, is one of the movie's producers.

It was not an easy film to shoot.

"For me, the rape scene was most difficult to film and probably the most difficult to watch was the whipping scene," Fassbender told E! News last month at the Toronto International Film Festival. "There are heavy, intense moments when you're on set and filming. But we had a lot of support within each other, a lot of respect, a lot of love on that crew and amongst the actors, so we were looking after each other, you know."

12 Years will be in theaters on Oct. 18. It opens the New Orleans Film Festival tomorrow night.

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