AFI FEST 2013 presented by Audi ANNOUNCES SAVING MR. BANKS IS OPENING NIGHT GALA and AGNÈS VARDA WILL SERVE AS GUEST ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Passes on Sale Now for AFI FEST November 7-14

The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today early details of its AFI FEST 2013 presented by Audi. The programming unveiled epitomizes the vision of the festival – a celebration of Hollywood today where icons and emerging artists bring audiences together to experience global cinema in the movie capital of the world. The North American Premiere Gala of Disney’s SAVING MR. BANKS will open the festival on Thursday, November 7. Agnès Varda, considered “the mother of French New Wave cinema,” will serve as Guest Artistic Director. 

“The American Film Institute honors the past, the present and the future of the motion picture arts. Now in its 27th year, AFI FEST remains the place to experience Hollywood now – a place that lives in the mythology of the movies, but also home to the dynamic global stories of today,” said AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

“Our line-up of programming, from opening to closing, reflects what Hollywood is today: a broad spectrum of stories from studio and independent filmmakers, and having Agnès Varda as Guest Artistic Director was a conscious decision to recognize the global influence of an icon of the French New Wave,” said Festival Director Jacqueline Lyanga. “The blending of studio, independent, foreign and auteur films and the artists who made them is the embodiment of AFI FEST.”

SAVING MR. BANKS, starring Academy Award®-winning actress Emma Thompson and AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award®-winning actor Tom Hanks, will have its North American Premiere on Thursday, November 7 as the Opening Night Gala. Inspired by true events, SAVING MR. BANKS is the extraordinary, untold story of how Walt Disney’s classic MARY POPPINS made it to the screen – and the testy relationship between the legendary Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it. John Lee Hancock (THE BLIND SIDE) is the director, and Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith wrote the screenplay. SAVING MR. BANKS also stars Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell. 

MARY POPPINS premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1964 with both Walt Disney and P.L. Travers in attendance. The film was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture and garnered 12 more Oscar® nominations. Out of the 13 nominations, MARY POPPINS won five, including Best Actress for its star, Julie Andrews. The song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest movie songs of all time. MARY POPPINS is ranked among the top 10 of AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals. Bridging the present and the past, AFI FEST celebrates SAVING MR. BANKS and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Disney classic with a screening of MARY POPPINS during the festival’s opening weekend at the renowned movie palace where it first debuted to the world.

As AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director, Agnès Varda, often called the mother of the French New Wave movement, will present a program of films that have inspired her work. Details will be announced later this month.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, written and directed by Academy Award® winners Joel and Ethan Coen (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), was produced by Scott Rudin and Joel and Ethan Coen and will be the Closing Night Gala on Thursday, November 14. The film stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake and follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis (Isaac) is at a crossroads. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, ­ some of them of his own making. Brimming with music performed by Isaac, Timberlake and Mulligan (as Llewyn’s married Village friends), as well as Marcus Mumford and Punch Brothers, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – in the tradition of O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? – is infused with the transportive sound of another time and place. An epic on an intimate scale, it represents the Coen Brothers’ fourth collaboration with multiple-Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning music producer T Bone Burnett. Marcus Mumford is the Associate Music Producer. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS recently won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival. The film will be distributed by CBS Films in the U.S.

Festival passes are on sale now at AFI.com/AFIFEST. For the fifth consecutive year, AFI FEST will continue its unprecedented offer of free tickets to all screenings, but only the Star Patron Package and Marquee Patron Package will provide reserved seating at today’s three announced galas – Opening Night, Opening Weekend and Closing Night. These and other AFI FEST Patron Packages and Passes – which can include access to sold-out galas and other high-demand films and events – are available now.

Free individual tickets to AFI FEST screenings and galas will be available to AFI members on Monday, October 28 and Tuesday, October 29 in a 48-hour advance window before they become available to the general public on Wednesday, October 30 and Thursday, October 31. In addition, AFI members at the Two-Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all AFI FEST Patron Packages and Passes. Information about AFI Membership is available at AFI.com/membership.

For the 10th year, Audi returns as the festival’s presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors include American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; The American Film Market (AFM); AT&T; Coca-Cola; The Egyptian Theatre; Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Stella Artois; and TCL Chinese Theatre, among many others.

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