The US premiere of Tom Ford’s A Single Man starring Oscar contender Colin Firth and Julianne Moore will close the slimmed down 23rd AFI FEST on November 5.
Artistic director Rose Kuo and her team also unveiled the remaining titles in the line-up of around 60 films that will screen from October 30-November 7, down from approximately 100 last year as top brass respond to the economic downturn. An upbeat Kuo said the move had forced her team to curate “a survey of the most prestigious and significant films of the year.”
The US premiere of Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus on November 2 is the centerpiece and the line-up is heavy on hot button awards contenders like Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire and internationally acclaimed fare such as Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet and Bong Joon-ho’s Mother, the respective French and South Korean Oscar submissions.
With audiences in mind, as previously announced the festival launches its See A Film On Us initiative, which will allow film-goers to obtain up to 20 free tickets to screenings, galas and tributes – two per person for galas – on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“Given the challenges we all face right now, the festival and the city of Los Angeles wanted to give people an opportunity to see a film they would not otherwise see,” Kuo said, adding that the face value of tickets still applied to those who felt comfortable supporting the festival as patrons. “Once we scaled down the festival and knew we had our major sponsors behind us, we knew we could do it.”
Audi returns as title sponsor, and there is sponsorship in part from, among others, American Airlines, Absolut Vodka, Little Black Dress Wines, Stella Artois, the Los Angeles County Board Of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Department Of Cultural Affairs, and the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
In a third major change that reflects a desire to support the commercial link between the festival and the AFM, for the first time the festival will relocate to Santa Monica’s Laemmle 4 for its final two days, sparing buyers what has often been an arduous and unpopular cross-town trek.
Christopher Plummer and Viggo Mortensen will each receive a tribute. Plummer stars in The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus and The Last Station, which will screen on November 3, while Mortensen plays the lead in The Road, which gets its US premiere on November 4.
“Viggo Mortensen and Christopher Plummer are two actors and film artists of the highest order,” Kuo said. “They share that rare trait of being looked up to by audiences and film fans around the world as well as being greatly respected by their peers.”
Among the anticipated highlights are Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans, the thriller After.Life with Liam Neeson, and Jonathan Demme’s music documentary Neil Young Trunk Show.
The international roster includes Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, Claude Chabrol’s crime mystery Bellamy, Claudia Llosa’s Spain-Peru drama The Milk Of Sorrow, Chuan Lu’s Chinese epic City Of Life And Death, Jiri Barta’s Czech Republic-Slovakia-Japan entry In The Attic, and Bahman Ghobadi’s Iranian film No One Knows About Persian Cats.
Two films will commemorate the career and 100th birthday of art director and lecturer Robert Boyle – Daniel Raim’s documentary Something’s Gonna Live, which profiles Boyle, and the 50th anniversary screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest on which Boyle worked.
As previously announced, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox opens the festival on October 30.