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AFI Fest 2014 To Run November 6-13

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT

AFI-Fest-LogoThe American Film Institute said today that its 28th annual AFI Fest will be held November 6-13 in Hollywood. Early submissions for narrative, documentary, experimental, animated and short films are being accepted through June 27, with a final deadline of August 8.

Related: 2013 AFI Fest Audience And Jury Award Winners

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Deadline Awards Watch 54: The SAG and Globes Nominations Podcast

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 6:38pm PST
Pete Hammond

Deadline Awards Watch ep 54Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond talks with host David Bloom about this week’s film nominations for the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, plus the American Film Institute’s picks for the year’s best, and what they all might portend for an increasingly complicated and competitive Oscar race. And though ’tis the season for film awards, they also take a look at the three organizations’ picks for best TV shows and performances of 2013.

Pete also gives his take on this week’s new movies, led by Peter Jackson’s eagerly awaited The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment in his J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy; the fine tale of Walt Disney’s prickly relationship with the Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks; and the cross-dressing Christmas comedy Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.

Deadline Awards Watch episode 54 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch episode 54 (.M4A version)
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AFI Awards 2013: Top 10 Films List Is Good News For Major Studios

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 12:01pm PST
Pete Hammond

The American Film Institute jumped into the movie awards season today with the release of their annualThe-logo-for-this-years-AFI-Awards_event_main Movies of the Year list. 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle , Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf Of Wall Street are the 10 films that made the cut. And based on the recent track record AFI has had for correlation between its list and the ultimate Oscar choices for Best Picture, these films should start popping the champagne corks. Last year, AFI matched 8 of 9 Oscar nominees with Amour being the only one it did not have (foreign films are not eligible for AFI’s list). In 2011, there were the same number of matches — though eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture The Artist was a separate “honorable mention” since it also was not eligible due to its French origins. In fact, I would go on to say the AFI list is fast becoming one of the most reliable precursors in predicting the way the Academy will eventually go.

Related: AFI’s Top 10 TV Programs: ‘Homeland’ & ‘Modern Family’ Out

slaveThis year’s list seems to reflect the frontrunners for the most part indicating consensus in a very competitive year. The list is also extremely good news for the major studios, which appear to be very strong in this year’s race with two entries from Sony, two from Paramount, two from Warner Bros and one from Disney. Fox is repped through their Searchlight division by 12 Years A Slave. CBS Films also made the cut for the first time with Inside Llewyn Davis.  The Weinstein Company, usually a larger force , is repped only by their small very indie summer release Fruitvale Station, which so far has been doing very well in the initial awards races.  The Weinsteins’ higher-profile eligible films such as August: Osage County and Lee Daniels’ The Butler are missing from the lineup along with Mandela: Long Walk To Freedominsideellewyn1 and Philomena (which were not eligible —  neither was Weinstein’s Best Pic champ The King’s Speech in 2010, though it got a special mention). Other notable contenders that were eligible that were AWOL at AFI:  All Is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club, Rush , Lone Survivor, Prisoners, Blue Jasmine and Mud to name a few whose Best Picture prospects may have just taken a hit. Well that is if you take these important precursors seriously and it seems by the strong correlation that at least when it comes to AFI the Academy definitely does.

Unlike other groups, AFI does not divide its list which also includes one for the top TV programs of the year into winners and losers but rather as an “almanac documenting works of excellence that mark a moment in time”. AFI also is the only organization honoring the entire creative ensemble of the films which qualify as those that “best advance  the art of the moving image, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form, inspire audiences and artists alike, and /or make a mark on American society”.

The awards-giving season is now in full swing with weekend results from numerous critics groups including L.A. and Boston and the New York Online Critics with disparate choices that indicate this is a wide open race and anybody’s ballgame as we move into the bigger arenas of the SAG and Golden Globe nominations later this week. Here’s the official AFI  list for film: Read More »

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AFI Awards 2013: ‘Orange Is The New Black’, ‘Masters Of Sex’, ‘House Of Cards’ Among Top 10 TV Programs, ‘Homeland’ & ‘Modern Family’ Out

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 12:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The-logo-for-this-years-AFI-Awards_event_mainThere are no hard rules for AFI‘s list of Top 10 programs of the year as the film institute tends to mix critical darlings with crowd pleasers, series, miniseries and TV movies. (Cable ratings juggernauts The Walking Dead and American Horror Story: Asylum made the AFI Awards list last year, along with the HBO movie Game Change). No longform entries on this year’s list, which features one major surprise — the omission of ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family, KERRY WASHINGTONwhich had been among AFI’s  Top 10 programs each of the past four years. Also MIA this season is Showtime’s drama Homeland, which made the cut the last two years. This is the most drama-heavy AFI list I can remember, with only one half-hour series, HBO’s Veep. (Netflix’s hourlong Orange Is The New Black was nominated as a comedy by the WGA but is competing as a drama for the Golden Globes and the Emmys.)

Related: AFI’s Top 10 Films: Good News For Majors

The guilty pleasure on the roster is ABC’s hot sophomore drama Scandal, landing its first major best series awards recognition.  The rest of the series have been in top awards consideration and received WGA noms last week, with the exception Game Of Thrones, which was not in the running due to a submission error. Returning from last year are Game Of Thrones, Emmy winner Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Here is the full list: Read More »

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AFI Fest 2013 Reveals ‘New Auteurs’ And ‘Shorts’ Titles

By | Tuesday October 15, 2013 @ 11:08am PDT

Two Oscar Foreign Language entrants  - Georgia’s In Bloom and Slovak Republic’s My Dog Killer are both featured in the New Auteurs section of this year’s AFI Fest. The American Film Institute today announced the films that will be featured in both the New Auteurs and Shorts sections at this year’s festival, presented by Audi, which runs November 7-14 in Hollywood. New Auteurs highlights first and second-time feature film directors from around the world and the Shorts selections present diverse points of view from a variety of countries. Click over for the complete list: Read More »

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AFI Awards Will Be Handed Out January 10

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 12:00am PDT

The American Film Institute‘s annual top 10 lists of films and TV shows will be unveiled December 9 and the AFI Awards will be handed out January 10 at an invite-only luncheon in Los Angeles. The awards honor the entire teams and are voted on by industry experts and AFI trustees. The TV submission deadline is October 25, and the film deadline is October 31.

Related: AFI Awards: A Moment Of Sanity During Oscar Madness

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AFI Honors “Art And Farts” Of American Film With Laugh-Filled Mel Brooks Tribute

Pete Hammond

It was completely appropriate that AFI‘s 41st Life Achievement Award honoree Mel Brooks made his entrance at the Dolby Theatre to the Steven Sondheim song, “Comedy Tonight”.  It set the tone immediately for a very different evening than any that had come before at this annual event. Look at the list of the 40 previous AFI honorees, and there’s not a single solely comedic filmmaker or actor in the whole bunch. Yes, there are some — like Billy Wilder, Mike Nichols, Shirley MacLaine and Tom Hanks — who have made a few classic comedies but no one whose whole screen career is built on laughs. The AFI finally corrected that glaring omission Thursday night.

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the American Film Institute honors the art — and the farts — of American film,”  said AFI Board Of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer in welcoming the star-studded crowd. “When I telephoned Mel to tell him the AFI had voted him in as the 2013 recipient, he responded instantly, ‘What took you so long?’ Fair enough. Comedy is routinely short-changed at many awards ceremonies , particularly the Oscars. It is often said comedy is harder than drama because funny is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. That makes  Mel, without question, Hollywood’s principal lightning conductor.” Read More »

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AFI Fest 2013 Sets Dates: Nov. 7-14

By | Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 2:22pm PST

The American Film Institute announced today that AFI Fest 2013 Presented by Audi is set for November 7-14 at TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s Chinese), the Chinese 6 Theatres at the Hollywood & Highland Center, the Egyptian Theatre of the American Cinematheque and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Submissions are now open for narrative, documentary, experimental, animated and short films, with the shorts deadline August 2 and the feature deadline August 16. This past year, the festival featured the world premieres of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Hitchcock from Sacha Gervasi, Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, and the secret screening of Skyfall from Sam Mendes.

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AFI Awards: Hollywood Power Players Turn Out For A Moment Of Sanity During Oscar Season Madness

Pete Hammond

Between the roller-coaster ride of Thursday’s 85th Academy Award Nominations and Critics Choice Awards and this weekend’s Golden Globes mania, Friday’s annual AFI Awards Luncheon was not only a breath of fresh air in this busy season. It was a much needed event to put everything in perspective and show not only the impressive group of creative heavyweights from the year’s best movies and TV programs, but also a strong turnout of studio power players, exactly what this should all be about. It’s a celebration of the year’s best work, not another televised awards show that simply tries to divide everything into groups of winners and losers, bad jokes and nervous nominees. “Our wish for today is that this room become a respite from the noise, for us to carry you away as you carry us away. Think of it as when the lights go down in a movie theatre or a story beginning on television. We want you to feel good about your work and feel good about the people you work with because together you have created something beautiful, and in the weeks to come and the years that will pass nothing can take that away from you,” said AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale in his opening remarks that set just the right tone. With tables for each of AFI’s 10 movies of the year (Argo, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained, Read More »

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AFI Fest 2012 Reveals ‘Young Americans’ And ‘New Auteurs’ Titles

By | Wednesday October 3, 2012 @ 12:02pm PDT

The American Film Institute’s AFI Fest 2012 has announced the films that will be featured in the Young Americans and New Auteurs sections at this year’s festival. Young Americans features works by emerging U.S. filmmakers and New Auteurs highlights first and second-time feature film directors from around the world. The films in the Young Americans section are eligible for an Audience Award while the films in the New Auteurs section are eligible for a Grand Jury Award. AFI Fest, presented by Audi, will take place November 1-8 in Hollywood. Here’s the list:

All The Light In The Sky: DIR/SCR Joe Swanberg.
Ape: DIR/SCR Joel Potrykus.
Electrick Children: DIR/SCR Rebecca Thomas.
The International Sign For Choking: DIR/SCR Zach Weintraub.
Kid-Thing: DIR/SCR David Zellner.
Only The Young: DIR Jason Tippet, Elizabeth Mims.
Pearblossom Highway: DIR Mike Ott. SCR Mike Ott, Atsuko Okatsuka.
Somebody Up There Likes Me: DIR/SCR Robert Byington.
Starlet: DIR Sean Baker. SCR Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch.
Sun Don’t Shine: DIR/SCR Amy Seimetz.
Tchoupitoulas: DIR Turner Ross, Bill Ross.

After Lucia: DIR/SCR Michel Franco. Mexico.
Antiviral: DIR/SCR Brandon Cronenberg. Canda/USA.
Clip: DIR/SCR Maja Miloš. Serbia.
Eat Sleep Die: DIR/SCR Gabriela Pichler. Sweden.
Here And There: DIR/SCR Antonio Mendez Esparza. Mexico/Spain/USA.
A Hijacking: DIR/SCR Tobiaas Lindholm. Denmark.
In The Fog: DIR Sergei Loznitsa. Germany/Russia/Belarus/The Netherlands/Latvia.
Not In Tel Aviv: DIR/SCR Nony Geffen. Israel.
Simon Killer: DIR/SCR Antonio Campos. USA.

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‘Lincoln’ To World Premiere At AFI Fest; Set As Closing-Night Film Nov. 8

By | Thursday September 20, 2012 @ 11:24am PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 20, 2012 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that LINCOLN, directed by AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg, and released by DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox, in association with Participant Media, will have its Official World Premiere on Thursday, November 8, as the Closing Night Gala of AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi. 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.

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Tony Scott’s Family Sets Up AFI Scholarship Fund In His Honor

By | Monday August 27, 2012 @ 10:50am PDT
Mike Fleming

To honor the life and work of filmmaker Tony Scott, the Scott family has created The Tony Scott Scholarship Fund at AFI to celebrate his creative legacy. The family ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the fund to help encourage and engage future generations of filmmakers.

AFI is a non-profit educational and cultural organization whose key aims are to preserve the history of the motion picture, honor 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.

Contributions to the Tony Scott Scholarship Fund may be sent to:

American Film Institute

Tony Scott Scholarship Fund

2021 North Western Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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AFI Board Of Trustees Adds Coca-Cola’s Katie Bayne

By | Wednesday July 11, 2012 @ 11:30am PDT

Bayne is president and general manager of sparkling beverages for Coca-Cola North America. She joins Sony’s Howard Stringer, who chairs the 55-member AFI Board of Trustees. Former Warner Bros boss Robert Daly is chair of the 17-member AFI Board of Directors, who also sit on the trustees board. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s the complete Board of Trustees roster:
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Mel Brooks, David Lynch Receive Honorary Degrees At AFI Commencement

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 5:25pm PDT
Pete Hammond

June is  the season for graduations around the nation and the American Film Institute is no different. After handing out their 40th Life Achievement Award less than a week ago to Shirley MacLaine today the focus was on those just embarking on a career in the entertainment industry (in addition to two very well-known veterans).

This AFI Commencement stood out as a purely Hollywoood affair taking place not on their own campus, but rather a short distance away inside Grauman’s Chinese theatre. In addition to the 121 graduates receiving their AFI diplomas in fields including screenwriting, directing, producing, production design, cinematography and editing, the undisputed highlight of the 90-minute ceremony (presided over by AFI CEO and President Bob Gazzale) were the two Honorary Degree recipients Mel Brooks and David Lynch.

It was actually appropiate the two receive these honors together because Mel, through his production entity Brooksfilm actually gave Lynch his first big directing job on 1980′s much-acclaimed Best Picture nominee The Elephant Man resulting in a Best Director Oscar nomination for Lynch. After a funny intro from “best friend” Carl Reiner and a clip reel covering such Brooks classics as The 2000 Year Old Man, The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein among others, Brooks stepped up to tell Reiner he was confused by it all. “I’m very honored and I’m very happy but bitterly disappointed. When I was offered this award I thought I was gonna become a doctor. And in fact I was … Read More »

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Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Adventures Of Tintin’ To Close AFI Fest

Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’ To World Premiere As AFI Fest Opener

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 31, 2011 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures’ THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, directed by AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg, will have its North American Premiere as the Closing Night Gala of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. The film is based on the internationally beloved and irrepressible characters created by Hergé and stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. It is produced by Academy Award® winners Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy. From an original screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the story follows the unquenchably curious young reporter Tintin and his fiercely loyal dog Snowy as they discover a ship carrying an explosive secret that may hold the key to vast fortune…and an ancient curse. Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams scored the film, with 2011 marking a collaboration between Spielberg and Williams that has enriched 25 of their films together.

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AFI Fest Announces Centerpiece Galas And Special Screenings

Pete Hammond

With just a little more than two weeks to go before its opening-night world premiere gala of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar on November 3, the American Film Institute has just announced the long list of Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings for its 25th edition — AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Unlike the Eastwood coup, the lineup doesn’t include any other world or North American premieres and instead is made up of films recently seen in Toronto, Venice, Telluride or New York or combinations of all of the above festivals.

The AFI Fest, which runs November 3-10, is becoming known as the festival of galas, with at least one big red-carpet event every night of the week. Slated as Centerpiece Galas this session are Luc Besson’s The Lady (November 4), which played the Mill Valley Film Festival last week in a version now several minutes shorter than its well-received Toronto Film Festival premiere; Roman Polanski’s Carnage (November 5); My Week With Marilyn (November 6); The Artist (November 8); and Steve McQueen’s controversial Shame (November 9). Also on November 7, the fest will present an evening with Pedro Almodovar, this year’s Guest Artistic Director, who will be presenting his 25-year-old classic Law of Desire and participating in a special onstage conversation. All will be presented at the Chinese theater in Hollywood. Read More »

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AFI Board Of Trustees Adds MPAA’s Dodd

By | Wednesday October 5, 2011 @ 10:06am PDT

LOS ANGELES, October 5, 2011 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that Chris Dodd, former United States Senator of Connecticut and Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), and David Rips, President of Verizon Digital Media Services, have been elected to the AFI Board of Trustees, which will next meet on Thursday, October 6 in Los Angeles.

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Pedro Almodovar To Be Guest Artistic Director At AFI Fest

By | Monday August 29, 2011 @ 6:04am PDT
Mike Fleming

The American Film Institute has set Pedro Almodovar to be Guest Artistic Director at AFI Fest 2011. The 25-year-old festival runs Nov. 3-10. Almodovar will present a screening of his 1986 film Law of Desire, which is also 25 years old, and his production company El Deseo SA will curate a sidebar program of films that have been inspirations to his work. Last year’s Guest Artistic Director was David Lynch. Almodovar’s latest, The Skin I Live In, makes its North American debut next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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2011 AFI Awards Scheduled For January 13

By | Wednesday August 24, 2011 @ 1:25pm PDT

LOS ANGELES, August 24, 2011 – AFI AWARDS 2011 records each year’s most outstanding achievements in film, television and other forms of the moving image arts. The honorees-only gathering is the only form of national recognition that honors the creative ensemble as a whole — those in front of and behind the camera — and is popular with talent because there are no winners or losers. The private luncheon is sponsored by Verizon Digital Media Services, at which AFI will honor the talented teams that created the 10 most outstanding films and 10 most outstanding television programs of the year. Marking the 12th chapter in the American Film Institute’s 21st century almanac, AFI AWARDS honorees are selected by a unique jury process comprised of experts from across the moving image communities — including scholars, critics, film and television artists and AFI Trustees. For more information, go to

Television Submission Deadline
October 28, 2011

Film Submission Deadline
November 4, 2011

Honorees Announced
December 11, 2011

January 13, 2012

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