AFI Fest 2011 to be Guest Directed by Almodóvar

Ryland Aldrich, Festivals Editor

News today that Spanish legend Pedro Almodóvar will be the guest Artistic Director of this year's edition of American Film Institute's annual AFI FEST. The director of artistic triumphs such as Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Talk to Her, Bad Education, Volver and Broken Embraces will fill the shoes left by last year's Artistic Director David Lynch. Almodovar will present a 25th anniversary screening of his film Law of Desire that coincides with both the 25th anniversary of his production company El Deseo S.A. and of the festival itself. We can only assume that his latest film The Skin I Live In will also play a role in the fest which kicks off a few weeks after that film begins to roll out in limited release.

AFI also announced today that for the third consecutive year, the film festival will offer FREE tickets to each and every screening along with the option to buy patron passes for those wanting to guarantee access. More info will be coming soon on the AFI FEST site.

AFI FEST runs November 3-10 in Los Angeles at locations surrounding Hollywood's Mann Chinese Theater. More details in press release below:

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES
PEDRO ALMODÓVAR AS GUEST ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF
AFI FEST presented by Audi


2011 Marks 25th Edition of AFI FEST


LOS ANGELES, CA, August 29, 2011 - American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that internationally acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar will serve as its Guest Artistic Director at AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. AFI FEST -- celebrating its 25th year in 2011 -- will take place November 3 through 10 in Hollywood, California at the historic Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

As Guest Artistic Director, Almodóvar will present a screening of his 1986 film, LAW OF DESIRE, commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the film and his production company, El Deseo S.A. He will also curate a sidebar program of films that have inspired his work (to be announced in October), and he will be featured in the creative campaign of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Last year's Guest Artistic Director was David Lynch, an alumnus of the AFI Conservatory, named the #1 film school in the world by The Hollywood Reporter.

"I have an enormous respect for AFI FEST, which has always been very generous with me, so I am very honored to be its Guest Artistic Director this year," said Almodóvar. "This will give me the chance to present a selection of some of my favorite films along with one of my own, LAW OF DESIRE, on its 25th anniversary. I'm looking forward to being in LA this November with my AFI FEST friends."

"Pedro Almodóvar is a modern master," said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO of the American Film Institute. "His genius inspires artists and audiences alike, and it is an honor for the American Film Institute to celebrate him and his singular voice at AFI FEST."

Almodóvar has a long history with AFI, having showcased many of his award-winning films at the festival, beginning with the 1990 presentation of TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! AFI FEST screened HIGH HEELS in 1996, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER in 1999 (Closing Night), TALK TO HER in 2002 (Closing Night), VOLVER in 2006 (Tribute to Penélope Cruz), THE HEADLESS WOMAN in 2008 and BROKEN EMBRACES in 2009. AFI FEST 2004 honored Almodóvar with a Tribute and Retrospective that included a Gala screening of his film, BAD EDUCATION.

"There is a long legacy of international cinema at AFI FEST," said Jacqueline Lyanga, Festival Director of AFI FEST. "We've shown many of Pedro Almodóvar's films and we've seen the extraordinary influence that his work has had on other filmmakers over the years. Almodóvar's work embodies the cross-pollination of cinematic influences that fuel contemporary world cinema."

In addition to Audi as presenting sponsor, this year's major sponsors include AT&T, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Levi's, Stella Artois and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

Attending AFI FEST
For the third consecutive year, AFI FEST will continue its unprecedented offer of free tickets to all screenings, including galas. In addition, festival-goers can become a patron of the festival by purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Package. Festival Patrons receive reserved seating at festival galas and other benefits. AFI Members receive discounts on Patron Packages and first access to free individual tickets. AFI FEST Patron Packages go on sale in September at AFI.com/AFIFEST.

For more information about AFI Membership, visit AFI.com/membership.

About Pedro Almodóvar

Biography
Pedro Almodóvar was born in the heart of La Mancha, Spain in the 1950s. At seventeen, Almodóvar left home and moved to Madrid with very little means to pursue his dream of filmmaking. He worked many jobs until he finally landed at the National Telephone Company of Spain in 1971, which would allow him to save money for his first Super-8 camera.

In 1980, Almodóvar, self-taught, completed his first feature film PEPI, LUCI, BOM which debuted in Spain. He founded his production company, El Deseo S.A., in 1986 with his brother, Agustín. Their first project was LAW OF DESIRE. Since then, they have produced all of Pedro's films as well as supported projects directed by emerging filmmakers.

In 1988, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN brought him international recognition. His film, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, produced his first Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film, a Golden Globe, a César, three European Film Awards, the David de Donatello award, two BAFTA awards, seven Goya awards and 45 other accolades. Three years later, TALK TO HER won additional honors, including the Academy Award® for Best Script. Almodóvar's film, BAD EDUCATION, opened the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 and again garnered numerous awards, including Best Foreign Film by the New York Critics' Circle.

In 2006 his film, VOLVER, won the Best Screenplay and Best Actress Awards at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to receive a total of 72 awards that year. Lead actress Penélope Cruz was also nominated that year for an Academy Award® for Best Actress -- the first time a Spanish actress was nominated for a Spanish language film.
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