Hathaway and Gyllenhaal open AFI Fest galas

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One of the most respected film festivals in the US, the American Film Institute's AFI Fest announced on Wednesday its eight red carpet gala screenings for the upcoming 24th annual event in Los Angeles, November 4-11.

The opening night selection is the world premiere of Love and Other Drugs, directed by Edward Zwick ( Blood Diamond) and starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal as mismatched lovers. Black Swan starring Natalie Portman and directed by Darren Aronofsky ( The Wrestler) will close the eight-day event.

For the Tribute Selection, Toronto festival winner The King's Speech will honor director Tom Hooper ( The Damned United, John Adams) and star Colin Firth as the stuttering King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as the Australian speech therapist. The film will be released in theaters November 26. Firth is considered an early candidate for an Oscar for this role.

The premier film festival attracts film industry players and actors with the American Film Market occuring concurrently in nearby Santa Monica and is attended by 7,000 people from 70 countries. AFI Fest is the only US film festival with a FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films) accreditation.

Many of the films have been recent festival favorites and receive their West Coast debut, such as the Centerpiece Selections:

. Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams
. Richard J. Lewis' Barney's Version, a witty tale starring Dustin Hoffman and Paul Giamatti
. Diego Luna's Abel, a fable of a disturbed child that is Luna's directorial debut
. George Hickenlooper's Casino Jack starring Kevin Spacey
. John Wells's The Company Men starring Tommy Lee Jones and Ben Affleck

As previously announced, filmmaker David Lynch will take part as the festival's first-ever Guest Artistic Director and will specially program a series of film screenings.

The fest's Special Screening Selections include:

. US premiere of John Sayles's Amigo starring Chris Cooper
. John Cameron Mitchell's Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Dianne Wiest
. Nigel Cole's Made in Dagenham starring Bob Hoskins and Miranda Richardson
. Werner Herzog's 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the 35,000-year-old paintings of the Chauvet Cave

AFI Fest 2010 screens films in Hollywood at the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel during November. The cultural and educational organization is dedicated to the preservation of the history of film. It hosts annual awards such as the Lifetime Achievement which will next pay tribute to Morgan Freeman, and its "100 Movies" program is a respected reference.