AFI Fest offers festival favorites, free tickets [Updated]
The lineup for this year’s Hollywood-based AFI Fest will include a spate of prestige movies that generated buzz at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals.
On offer will be the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams relationship drama “Blue Valentine,” Kevin Spacey's Jack Abramoff biopic “Casino Jack,” Ben Affleck’s recession drama “The Company Men,” the Paul Giamatti dramedy “Barney's Version” and Diego Luna’s feature directing debut, “Abel.”
In addition, the Tom Hooper-directed period drama “The King's Speech,” which is earning early Oscar attention, will be given a special tribute, as stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush join Hooper on stage at the event.
A special screening series will include new movies from directors Werner Herzog, John Cameron Mitchell and John Sayles, among others.
As with last year, festival organizers said that they would distribute free tickets to all screenings on a first-come, first-served basis starting Oct. 28 for the general public. But those who want guaranteed entry to various events can buy special passes. Several tiers are available, with prices for the packages ranging from $90 for AFI members wishing to attend one of the special screenings to a $5,000 AFI Fest star package for non-members that includes a raft of benefits, such as 12 gala tickets and a private reception.
The festival takes place at a number of theaters in Hollywood -- including Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Mann Chinese 6 theaters and the Egyptian Theatre –- and runs Nov. 4-11. (For more information on the schedule and ticket packages, you can check out the AFI site here.)
AFI Fest previously announced that Edward Zwick's character study “Love and Other Drugs” would open the festival while Darren Aronofsky's supernatural ballet drama “Black Swan” would be the closing-night film.
AFI Fest is coming off of a turbulent period that saw several top staff members resign last year. [Updated: The original version of this post said several members of the AFI Fest board resigned last year. Three top organizers did resign, but AFI Fest does not have a board.]
Its free-pass program, however, was a success in 2009. Festival organizers hope to maintain momentum by drawing crowds through the free ticket plan, while corporate sponsors such as Audi help underwrite the program.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: "The King's Speech." Credit: The Weinstein Co.
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