(Pictured left to right: Actress Hani Furstenberg and Julia Loktev, Director of Loneliest Planet (AFI FEST 2012 Grand Jury Prize Winner) with Dilcia Barrera)
How long have you worked for AFI FEST? This is my 3rd festival working with AFI FEST.
What do you do? I am one of the festival programmers. A programmer’s job is really year-round. We are constantly researching the latest filmmaking trends, following filmmaker’s projects and progress and searching for the new emerging talent. We also travel around the world to various film festivals in search of the best films of the year. More importantly, I watch a high percentage of films that arrive in our office through our submissions process. Once we make the decisions, I assist in writing the copy for our beautiful film guide. And lastly, we are host to the many filmmakers that arrive from around the world to present their films at AFI FEST. There are, of course, many little details in between, but that’s the gist for the most part.
What do you enjoy about working for AFI FEST? I sit in a room and exchange ideas daily with some of the most provocative, funniest people I know. Our production team is seriously the most hardworking, tough yet fun team you will ever meet. I am so happy that my job entails supporting art and giving a platform to different opinions and stories. There are endless reasons why working for AFI FEST is such a great experience; for one, its an amazing event that’s completely free and accessible to everyone in LA.
What’s your most memorable AFI FEST moment? I will limit myself to three!
In 2008, I was in the audience for the AFI FEST screening of AFTER SCHOOL directed by Antonio Campos. That film blew me away. It had challenged my ideas and perceptions of American Independent films. I will never forget how inspired I was after that Q&A. In 2010, when David Lynch was our guest artistic director, he pre-recorded a video message about why AFI is so amazing. He ended his message by saying, “I love AFI.” By the end of festival, the entire audience would say “I LOVE AFI!” in unison. It truly felt like a community event in which people had attended various screenings and felt part of the family. Lastly, the AFI FEST 2011 filmmaker party on the Roosevelt Hotel penthouse and roof was epic: rooms full of international cinema lovers karaoke-ing, dancing, and celebrating this great event – a completely indescribable moment that will never again be replicated.
How long have you worked for AFI FEST? Since 2010 – this will be my third FEST!
What do you do? I’m a programmer. I work with the rest of the programming team to select which films will be playing at the festival. This involves everything from watching hundreds of movies each year to receiving DVD submissions to reading coverage from our screeners and associate programmers to scheduling the films to play at the festival.
What do you enjoy about working for AFI FEST? I love my co-workers and I love all of the films and filmmakers we introduce Los Angeles to each year.
What’s your favorite movie (of all time)? I’m going to use this spot to plug some of my favorite films playing the FEST this year. Here’s a selection from a few of our categories: World Cinema - PIETA, Kim Ki-Duk’s Golden Lion winner which is a great return to form for the Korean master; New Auteurs - NOT IN TEL AVIV, a film we found at the Locarno film festival that is reminiscent of Vincent Gallo’s BUFFALO 66 (one of my faves); Young Americans - TCHOUPITOULAS, as a New Orleans native this film is one of the best portraits of the city I used to call home I have ever seen; Midnight - HERE COMES THE DEVIL, super stylized horror from Argentinean director Adrían García Bogliano; and Breakthrough - KID, a touching portrait of a boy coming to terms with his mother’s death.
What’s your most memorable AFI FEST moment? My first year, David Lynch, my favorite living director, was our Guest Artistic Director and I got to watch him answer questions from Twitter that I helped select from the front row of the Egyptian Theatre. It was truly magical.