AFI film festival connects with This Is It 'director and Film Market

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The Independent Culture

Hollywood is reserved for independent filmmakers this week between the AFI Film Festival featuring plenty of buzz-worthy films and the American Film Market focused on distribution deals for films around the world.



Director Wes Anderson opened the AFI Fest October 30 in Hollywood with The Fantastic Mr. Fox to a full house at the 23rd annual American Film Festival 2009.

On Monday night, November 2, the director of this weekend's huge box office smash, earning $101,009,000 worldwide, Michael Jackson's This Is It, will join the festival for a ‘An Evening with Kenny Ortega.' Ortega will discuss the making of the documentary and his career as a choreographer and director.

Ortega's credits include iconic dance performances, from Matthew Broderick's ‘Twist and Shout' number in Ferris Bueller's Day Off to the hit film Dirty Dancing. He's also introduced musicals to a new generation, directing all three High School Musical movies.

Among the other 80 films screened, AFI Fest will present the premier of Everybody's Fine with Robert DeNiro and Drew Barrymore on November 3, Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Road with Viggo Mortensen, and The Last Station, starring Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, and Paul Giamatti,

The closing film, A Single Man, is Tom Ford's directorial debut, starring possible Oscar contender Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, who will be present for the gala evening event. The film releases December 11.

The last two days of the festival, which runs through November 7, AFI moves its screenings to Santa Monica in association with the American Film Market (AFM).


The 30th annual AFM (November 4-11)will screen 455 films for the consideration of distributors and exhibitors around the world. With 8,000 attendees from 70 countries, film buyers and producers meet and greet to buy and sell at this insider event.

The largest forum for independent filmmakers, not affiliated with the major studios, the expanding industry is able to access bigger stars and venture into new avenues on cable television and international markets.

Conference panels will cover topics such as marketing strategies and the new digital world.

With more than 5,000 films from the catalogue under consideration for distribution, in pre-production through to completion, there will be 400 films screened.

Here are some titles expected to create a buzz for 2010 releases:
 -Fantasy time travel drama From Time To Time reunites actress Maggie Smith with the writer/director of Gosford Park, Oscar winner Julian Fellowes.
- Stay Cool, a comedy with Winona Ryder, Hilary Duff and Chevy Chase by independent filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish.
- The Next Three Days, directed by Paul Haggis ( Crash) and starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, this thriller based on the French film Pour Elle.
- In The American, George Clooney in an adaptation of Martin Booth's novel A Very Private Gentleman, plays an assassin on assignment in Italy.