Post(s) tagged with "AFI FEST"

Catching Up With AFI FEST Alumni: Mike Ott, Director of LITTLEROCK

Mike Ott

What’s your favorite AFI FEST memory?

My favorite moment from 2010 was the night of our screening.  Not only was it packed with no seats left, there were a bunch of people who were still in line waiting outside of the theater.  I remember seeing a woman in particular who had a gigantic bucket of popcorn in her hands, screaming at the top of her lungs at a volunteer at the door: “I need to see this f***ing movie!  What am I supposed to do with all this God damn popcorn???”  It’s an image I will never forget.

What are you working on now?

I just finished post on my new feature, PEARBLOSSOM HWY, which like my last film takes place in the Antelope Valley.  I call it a loose sequel to LITTLEROCK.   I’m also currently developing my next film, which will be the third installment in the trilogy of desert films.   This one deals with mostly new characters and is centered on the militia movement in the U.S.

World Premiere of Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN at AFI FEST 2012


We are thrilled to announce the closing night film of AFI FEST 2012 will be the World Premiere of LINCOLN, directed by Steven Spielberg. The gala screening event will take place on Thursday, November 8 at the Historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

The film stars Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role; Academy Award® winners Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones; Academy Award® nominees David Strathairn, Jackie Earle Haley, John Hawkes and Hal Holbrook; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader and Jared Harris.  Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams scored the film, with 2012 marking a collaboration between Spielberg and Williams that has enriched 26 of their films together.  From an original screenplay by Academy Award® nominee Tony Kushner based in part on the best-selling book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the revealing drama explores our 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office during the Civil War.

”Steven Spielberg is an American master, enriching the cultural legacy of our nation with each new film in his extraordinary career,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO.  ”We are honored he has chosen AFI FEST for the World Premiere of LINCOLN, an historic cinematic event in itself as it brings the most dramatic American history to life for new generations.”

“Steven Spielberg epitomizes American filmmaking,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, Director, AFI FEST, “and who better to tell the story of one of the most significant figures in our country’s history.  In this important presidential election year, Spielberg’s LINCOLN reminds us that the challenges of the past remain as relevant today.”

For the fourth 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 the Official World Premiere closing night gala of LINCOLN.  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 on sale now at  The American Film Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and cultural organization, and Patron Packages are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Free individual tickets to AFI FEST screenings and galas will be available to AFI members on Wednesday, October 24 in a 24-hour advance window before they become available to the general public on October 25.  In addition, AFI members Two Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all Patron Packages and Passes.  Information about AFI Membership is available at

Meet the AFI FEST Staff: Brendan Early, Volunteer Manager

How long have you worked for AFI FEST?

This is my third year.

What do you enjoy about working for AFI FEST?  

I love working with festival staff who’ve become my best friends and getting to know on a personal level the hundreds of people who volunteer their time at AFI FEST.  They’re great people with a passion for film.

What’s you favorite movie (of all time)?  

I never like answering this one out loud…too many different films for many different reasons.  But if I have to name one game-changer, I’ll go with Spike Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING. 

What’s your most memorable AFI FEST moment?  

Getting an umbrella and walking in a theater team volunteer who was insistent upon keeping her post in the pouring rain.  She was the last one out there, in all of Hollywood!  Talk about commitment!

AFI FEST Program Guides (1987-1996)

Meet the AFI FEST Staff: Derek Call, Festival Producer

How long have you worked for AFI FEST?

I started working in the Box Office in 2002 and in 2004 took a full-time position as the Operations Manager.  From there I moved to AFI Campus Operations from 2007-2008.  I then returned to the festival in 2010 as the Festival Producer.  This will be my third festival as Festival Producer.

What do you do?

As Festival Producer I oversee all operations and logistics for the festival.  This ranges from overseeing the budget and the hiring of our 80+ seasonal employees to executing venue contracts to implementing systems that affect the day-to-day operations (i.e., our Box Office system and volunteer database system) to something as simple as ordering event wristbands.  One day I could go from planning a high-class gala after-party for A-list guests to being a bartender’s assistant or security at the very same event.

What do you enjoy about working for AFI FEST?

It’s amazing to see our wonderful staff come together for a few short months to create this remarkable event.  We hire people who are so good at what they do and their dedication and hard work on behalf of the festival is inspiring to me and I love getting to work with them every day.  

What’s your most memorable AFI FEST moment?

There are a few: Getting the news nine years ago that Audi had signed on as our Presenting Sponsor; playing football with the staff as we loaded out the Festival Village on the top of the parking structure at the Arclight Theaters in 2007; watching a crane lifting an Audi over the Roosevelt Hotel and placing it in the pool area for display; the rush of watching the red carpet go down every year on the Grauman’s forecourt in preparation for Opening Night arrivals.

Cinema Trends: Eye on Chile


Screening their films at influential film festivals around the world, Chilean filmmakers are dazzling audiences with innovative stories, fascinating characters, and a unique look into a country that was silenced for many years.  Last year, AFI FEST screened two Chilean films including BONSAI directed by Christian Jimenez.  BONSAI is the story of Julio, a man forced to confront his failures by revisiting and reinventing his memories. Jimenez is part of group of filmmakers that were born into the Pinochet regime, the first generation to become adults in post-dictatorship Chile - a new country in which they were left to deal with a very sudden sense of individualism.  This seems to have manifested itself in different ways.  Some filmmakers like Pablo Larrain choose to tell stories like the Cannes award winning film NO that examines Chile’s past with an edgier and more open approach.  Others, like Jimenez, have chosen not to focus on the political turmoil of their country, but rather spotlight the journey of the individual.

Last November, during a Q&A at AFI FEST 2011, Jimenez explained that in the ‘90s, the focus of Chilean filmmakers was primarily political.  In the early 2000s, the goal of filmmaking in Chile shifted to creating revenue.  However, Jimenez’ generation simply wants to take advantage of new technologies and governmental support in order to exploit the expressive elements film offers.  Whatever is inspiring these filmmakers, their contributions to the current explosion of Chilean cinema are noteworthy.  Pushing boundaries and producing outstanding work that is unique to their time and their country, this small group of filmmakers surely has captured the world’s attention.

Dilcia Barrera

Programmer, AFI FEST 2012 

Vintage FILMEX Catalogs from 1972 through 1984. The Los Angeles International Film Exposition launched in 1972 and ran through 1985. FILMEX is the precursor to AFI FEST Presented by Audi. 

Catching Up With AFI FEST 2011 Filmmakers

Michael Roskam

Michael Roskam (BULLHEAD): AFI FEST 2011 New Autuers Audience Award Winner and 2012 Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

Favorite AFI FEST Moment: I enjoyed the whole festival the whole time; the people of the festival, the audience, the guests and colleagues - the atmosphere. But as a director, being in Hollywood with your movie, visiting the theaters, and meeting your audience was, in this case, very special. I assume that winning the Audience Award has something to do with it.

Project Update: I can’t really reveal too much about it but I’m writing my new feature called THE FAITHFUL.

Alex Ross PerryAlex Ross Perry (THE COLOR WHEEL): AFI FEST 2011 Young Americans program. Perry will be on the competition jury of the 2012 Locarno Film Festival

Favorite AFI FEST Moment: Really, one of my favorite moments of my whole festival year was standing on the roof of the amazing Roosevelt Hotel my second night there, looking down at Hollywood Boulevard and realizing that I was surrounded by so many of my best friends and fellow filmmakers. People with whom I had shared rough cuts of THE COLOR WHEEL months earlier (such as Sophia Takal, Larry Levine and Joe Swanberg, as well as some of my oldest friends and favorite collaborators like Kate Sheil) had all been invited to this amazing place to present our small personal films in a tremendously welcoming environment. It felt as though we had all arrived at this point together and it really was satisfying and rewarding to be invited to screen at a festival where Clint Eastwood was on page 10 of the program, Spielberg was on page 20, and me and all my friends were on page 40 or 45 or so.

Project Update:  I have a new feature script that I am trying to get producers and stuff lined up for. It is an intimate epic about success and betrayal set in New York. I hope to shine a hilarious light on the way phonies and jealous types try to ruin and destroy others who are busy self destructing anyway. It is huge, definitely the biggest thing I have ever done and I really want to make it soon. I am also working on creating a TV series for a network you have heard of that is going to be announced soon, I hope.

Clay Liford

Clay Liford (WUSS): AFI FEST 2011 Young Americans Audience Award Winner

Favorite AFI FEST Moment: We met so many lovely filmmakers at the FEST. AFI encourages interaction in a manner that many festivals don’t. We had dinner with Nacho Vigalondo (Director, EXTRATERRESTRIAL) one night.

Project Update: I’m currently in the final stages of post-production on my new film, SLASH. It’s about a pre-teen who writes erotic Harry Potter fan fiction. I’m also in the developmental stages on several features, one of which is a fairly direct follow up to WUSS.

AFI FEST presented by Audi Announces 2012 Festival Dates and Call For Entries

We are thrilled to announce the dates of AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi are set for November 1 - 8, and we are now open for submissions!

AFI FEST is the American Film Institute’s annual celebration of artistic excellence, and brings the audience and the entertainment community together to explore the year in global cinema through the new works of film masters, moving image icons and breakthrough talents. It is the only film festival of its stature that is free to the public, and will take place in Hollywood, California, the movie capital of the world, at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres at the Hollywood & Highland Center, the Egyptian Theatre of the American Cinematheque and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

“Each year, the festival brings over a hundred filmmakers from around the world to Los Angeles to present their films, and to spend eight days with among the most discerning public audiences of movie-lovers in the world and leaders in the entertainment community. We bring filmmakers to Los Angeles, some for the first time, and it all begins with the call for entries,“ said Jacqueline Lyanga, Director, AFI FEST.

Filmmakers are invited to submit narrative, documentary, experimental, animated and short films at or through The final submission deadline for short films (under 30 minutes) is July 27, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards®. The final deadline for feature-length films is August 10.

“As a programmer, the thrill of watching a blind submission new entry and discovering a new filmmaker is such a rewarding experience. Through our submission process last year, we found new filmmakers in every corner of the globe, including Chile, Iran and Sweden, and we look forward to the talent that awaits us this year,” said Lane Kneedler, Associate Director of Programming, AFI FEST.

Filmmakers can e-mail or call 1.866.AFI.FEST for more information about the submissions process.


AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.

As a non-profit educational and cultural organization open to the public, AFI relies on the generous financial support from moving arts enthusiasts like you to provide funding for its programs and initiatives. Become a member today and support your American Film Institute!


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