By Joseph Martinez -
Mark your calendars, AFI Fest 2013 is set to begin Thursday November 7, 2013, with the opening night Gala, "Saving Mr. Banks" starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. There will be a red carpet Gala each night of the festival.
This year, 15 of the selections in its world cinema program are 2014 Oscar submissions. Organizers finalized the eight-day festival's full program, which will include 119 films from 43 countries.
The following is a list of the Galas and Special Screenings.
Opening Night - Thursday, November 7, 2013.
SAVING MR. BANKS – The extraordinary, untold story of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) proceed to turn her novel into the film MARY POPPINS. DIR John Lee Hancock. SCR Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith. CAST Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak. USA. North American Premiere.
Friday, November 8, 2013.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – In this dramatic comedy with an all-star cast, a crisis reunites the women of an Oklahoma family and reignites their dysfunction. DIR John Wells. SCR Tracy Letts. CAST Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard. USA.
Saturday, November 9, 2013.
OUT OF THE FURNACE – In this all-star, griping drama, a steel mill worker (Christian Bale) searches for his brother (Casey Affleck) in one of the most ruthless crime rings in the Northeast. DIR Scott Cooper. SCR Scott Cooper, Brad Ingelsby. CAST Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe. USA. World Premiere.
Sunday, November 10, 2013.
THE LAST EMPEROR 3D – Winner of nine Oscars®, this visually sumptuous drama has been transformed into 3-D by director Bernardo Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. This presentation will be the North American Premiere of the 3D version of the film. DIR Bernardo Bertolucci. SCR Mark Peploe, Bernardo Bertolucci. CAST John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole. China, Italy, UK, France.
Monday, November 11, 2013.
NEBRASKA (featuring a Tribute to Bruce Dern) – Bruce Dern stars as a stubborn elderly man who travels to Nebraska with his son (Will Forte) to collect sweepstakes money in this elegant, black-and-white bittersweet journey. DIR Alexander Payne. SCR Bob Nelson. CAST Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, June Squibb. USA.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013.
LONE SURVIVOR – Based on The New York Times bestselling true story of heroism, courage and survival, the film tells the incredible tale of four Navy SEALs on a covert mission to neutralize a high-level al-Qaeda operative who are ambushed by the enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan. Faced with an impossible moral decision, the small band is isolated from help and surrounded by a much larger force of Taliban ready for war. As they confront unthinkable odds together, the four men find reserves of strength and resilience as they stay in the fight to the finish. DIR/SCR Peter Berg. CAST Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, Eric Bana. USA. World Premiere.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY – Director/actor Ben Stiller adapts James Thurber’s classic story – about a daydreamer who escapes his anonymous life through his fantasies – with sweeping scope and stirring intimacy. DIR Ben Stiller. SCR Steve Conrad. CAST Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn. USA.
Closing Night - Thursday, November 14, 2013.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – This epic on an intimate scale by the Coen brothers portrays a week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. DIR Joel Coen, Ethan Coen. SCR Joel Coen, Ethan Coen. CAST Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham, Justin Timberlake. USA.
HER – From the singular perspective of Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH) comes HER, an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world. Set in Los Angeles in the near future, the film follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice (Scarlett Johansson) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. DIR/SCR Spike Jonze. CAST Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde. USA.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN – Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. DIR Ralph Fiennes. SCR Abi Morgan. CAST Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas. United Kingdom.
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE – The story of legendary cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s staggeringly ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel DUNE. DIR Frank Pavich. USA.
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM – Based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. DIR Justin Chadwick. SCR William Nicholson. CAST Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Jamie Bartlett, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Terry Pheto, Deon Lotz. South Africa.
THE PAST (LE PASSÉ) – Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)'s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad's efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past. DIR/SCR Asghar Farhadi. CAST Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet. France, Iran, Italy.
PHILOMENA – Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee,” PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock, something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of, and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. DIR Stephen Frears. SCR Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope. CAST Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Michelle Fairley, Barbara Jefford, Anna Maxwell Martin, Mare Winningham, Sophie Kennedy Clark. United Kingdom.
THE UNKNOWN KNOWN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DONALD RUMSFELD – The latest from Errol Morris focuses on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Probing and insightful, Morris is the unequalled master of unpacking and contextualizing our recent shared history. DIR Errol Morris. USA.
AFI FEST presented by Audi is an eight-day celebration of global cinema and today's Hollywood that takes place at various venues. Los Angeles' longest-running film festival, AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public. It is a unique opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to bring film-loving audiences together in the movie capital of the world.
The festival, which takes place in the very heart of Hollywood, runs from Nov. 7 through Nov. 14.