Press Releases



Passes on Sale Now for AFI FEST November 7-14

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 4, 2013 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today early details of its AFI FEST 2013 presented by Audi.  The programming unveiled epitomizes the vision of the festival – a celebration of Hollywood today where icons and emerging artists bring audiences together to experience global cinema in the movie capital of the world.  The North American Premiere Gala of Disney’s SAVING MR. BANKS will open the festival on Thursday, November 7.  The World Premiere Opening Weekend Gala of Sony Picture Classics’ FOXCATCHER on Friday, November 8 will launch a slate of independent and auteur films that will unspool over the course of the festival.  Agnès Varda, considered “the Mother of French New Wave cinema,” will serve as Guest Artistic Director. 

“The American Film Institute honors the past, the present and the future of the motion picture arts.  Now in its 27th year, AFI FEST remains the place to experience Hollywood now – a place that lives in the mythology of the movies, but also the dynamic global stories of today,” said AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

“Our line-up of programming, from opening to closing, reflects what Hollywood is today:  a broad spectrum of stories from studio and independent filmmakers, and having Agnès Varda as Guest Artistic Director was a conscious decision to recognize the global influence of an icon of the French New Wave,” said Festival Director Jacqueline Lyanga.  “The blending of studio, independent, foreign and auteur films and the artists who made them is the embodiment of AFI FEST.”

SAVING MR. BANKS, starring Academy Award®-winning actress Emma Thompson, and AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award®-winning actor Tom Hanks, will have its North American Premiere on Thursday, November 7, as the Opening Night Gala.  Inspired by true events, SAVING MR. BANKS is the extraordinary, untold story of how Walt Disney’s classic MARY POPPINS made it to the screen – and the testy relationship between the legendary Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it.  John Lee Hancock (THE BLIND SIDE) is the director, and Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith wrote the screenplay.  SAVING MR. BANKS also stars Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell. 

MARY POPPINS premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1964 with both Walt Disney and P.L. Travers in attendance.  The film was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture and garnered 12 more Oscar® nominations.  Out of the 13 nominations, MARY POPPINS won five, including Best Actress for its star, Julie Andrews.  The song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest movie songs of all time.  MARY POPPINS is ranked among the top ten of AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals.  Bridging the present and the past, AFI FEST celebrates SAVING MR. BANKS and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Disney classic with a screening of MARY POPPINS during the festival’s opening weekend at the renowned movie palace where it first debuted to the world.

FOXCATCHER, a psychological drama directed by Academy Award® nominee Bennett Miller (MONEYBALL) and starring Golden Globe® winner Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Academy Award® nominee Mark Ruffalo, Academy Award® winner Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller, will have its World Premiere on Friday, November 8 as the Opening Weekend Gala.  The film was written by E. Max Frye and Academy Award® nominee Dan Futterman.  FOXCATCHER tells the story of Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum), who sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Ruffalo) and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Carell) to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  Desperate to gain the respect of his disapproving mother, du Pont begins “coaching” a world-class athletic team and, in the process, lures Mark into dangerous habits, breaks his confidence and drives him into a self-destructive spiral.  Based on actual events, FOXCATCHER is a gripping and profoundly American story of fragile men who pin their hopes for love and redemption on a desperate obsession for greatness that was to end in tragedy.

As AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director, Agnès Varda, often called the mother of the French New Wave movement, will present a program of films that have inspired her work.  Details will be announced in later this month.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, written and directed by Academy Award® winners Joel and Ethan Coen (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), was produced by Scott Rudin and Joel and Ethan Coen and will be the Closing Night Gala on Thursday, November 14.  The film stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake and follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.  Llewyn Davis (Isaac) is at a crossroads.  Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles ­ some of them of his own making.  Brimming with music performed by Isaac, Timberlake and Mulligan (as Llewyn’s married Village friends), as well as Marcus Mumford and Punch Brothers, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – in the tradition of O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? – is infused with the transportive sound of another time and place.  An epic on an intimate scale, it represents the Coen Brothers’ fourth collaboration with multiple-Grammy and Academy Award®-winning music producer T Bone Burnett.  Marcus Mumford is associate music producer.  INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS recently won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival.  The film will be distributed by CBS Films in the U.S.

Festival passes are on sale now at  For the fifth 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 today’s three announced galas – Opening Night, Opening Weekend and Closing Night.  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 available now.

Free individual tickets to AFI FEST screenings and galas will be available to AFI members on Monday, October 28 and Tuesday, October 29 in a 48-hour advance window before they become available to the general public on Wednesday, October 30 and Thursday, October 31.  In addition, AFI members at the Two-Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all AFI FEST Patron Packages and Passes.  Information about AFI Membership is available at

For the 10th year, Audi returns as the festival’s presenting sponsor.  Additional sponsors include American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; AT&T; The American Film Market (AFM); Coca-Cola; The Egyptian Theatre; Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Stella Artois; and TCL Chinese Theatre, among many others.

About Agnès Varda
Agnès Varda is often called both the mother and the grandmother of the French New Wave movement.  Trained as an artist yet without any formal cinematic training, she created her film production company Ciné-Tamaris in 1954 to write and direct her first feature film, LA POINTE COURTE, which is often considered the unofficial first New Wave film.  After releasing several documentaries, she released the influential nouvelle vague film CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 (CLÉO DE 5 À 7) in 1962 that brought her much acclaim.  Over the years, Varda continued to be a force in art cinema, directing over 30 films and receiving many accolades, including the César Award for best documentary for THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS (LES PLAGES D’AGNÈS) and the Golden Lion for VAGABOND (SANS TOIT NI LOI).  In 2003, Varda went back to her artistic roots and has been focusing on the visual arts, including installations, videos and photography.  In 2013 she became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

About Audi 
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles.  AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally.  Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S.  Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products, facilities and technologies.  Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues. 

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
A program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a celebration of global cinema and today’s Hollywood – a showcase for the best festival films of the year and an opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to come together with audiences in the movie capital of the world.  AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for both Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®.  This year’s edition takes place November 7-14, 2013.

Additional information about AFI FEST is available at  Connect with AFI FEST at, and


Ashley Tecson, AFI FEST, 323.856.7709 or [email protected]