My Picks for AFI FEST 2018


by Tom Nguyen

AFI FEST 2018 presented by Audi is one of the largest annual film festivals in Los Angeles and the only one of its stature that is free to the public. The 32nd edition of the festival runs from November 8-15, 2018, and opens on Thursday, November 8, with the film ON THE BASIS OF SEX. Directed by AFI Conservatory alumna Mimi Leder, the inspiring drama tells the story of young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg before she became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

The festival features upcoming filmmakers from all over the world with 18 films in its New Auteurs section, with 12 helmed by female filmmakers, and 10 films by independent filmmakers in its American Independents section, half of which are directed by women. The World Cinema section features 28 titles from 27 countries, 7 of which are official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entries.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are Galas and Special Screenings and Short Films too! The festival closes on Thursday, November 15, with the world premiere of MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. Directed by Josie Rourke and written by Academy Award® nominee Beau Willimon, the historical drama is based on John Guy’s biography, “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart.”  The film stars Academy Award®nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.

There is something for everyone in this immense festival of films, and it can be pretty overwhelming deciding what to see — Here are my top picks for AFI FEST 2018. Be sure to secure your FREE tickets online! Tickets go FAST! Continue Reading →

AFI FEST 2017 opens Nov. 9 with Mudbound. Here are my Top Picks!


by Tom Nguyen

AFI FEST 2017 is one of the largest annual film festivals in Los Angeles and the only one of its stature that is free to the public. This year’s festival opens on Thursday, November 9, with the film MUDBOUND, about two families, one black, one white, in post-World War II Jim Crow South. With the rise of white nationalism and supremacy emboldened by Trump’s presidency, I think it’s an important and timely statement to open the festival with a film directed by a woman of color, Dee Rees, and set during one of the most disgraceful chapters in this country’s history. Read the insightful Variety interview with Rees about the challenges she faced as a black filmmaker in finding a distributor and support the film when it’s released by Netflix on November 17.

The festival features upcoming filmmakers from all over the world with 11 films in its New Auteurs section, 9 of which are made by women directors, and 11 films by independent filmmakers in its American Independents section. The World Cinema section features 30 films from 39 countries, 13 of which are official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entries.

AFI FEST 2017 will also screen 2 animated films for public middle and high school students as part of their Youth and Family Programming. The program expands this year with AFI FEST Storytelling Bootcamp to guide underserved high school students in screenwriting and storytelling.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings and Short Films too! The festival closes on Thursday, November 16, with the world premiere of ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, directed by Ridley Scott. There is something for everyone in this immense festival of films, and it can be pretty overwhelming deciding what to see — Here are my top picks for AFI FEST 2017 with trailers. Be sure to secure your FREE tickets online starting on Wednesday, November 1! Tickets go FAST!

OPENING FILM:

MUDBOUND – Directed by Dee Rees and co-written by Virgil Williams and Rees, the historical period drama features cinematography by AFI Conservatory alumna Rachel Morrison (Class of 2006). The film stars Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan.

CENTERPIECE GALA:

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Top 10 Picks at AFI Fest 2015!

15 Film Picks (1)
by Tom Nguyen

AFI Fest presented by Audi, hands down the most anticipated film festival each year in LA, returns to Hollywood November 5-12! The festival will kick off with the world premiere of Angelina Jolie’s By the Sea, which stars her and her partner Brad Pitt, as a couple in crisis in 1970s France. All told, there are 127 films (74 features, 53 shorts), representing 45 countries, in all kinds of categories.

It’s a one-of-a-kind festival where the general public can get free tickets to attend star-studded gala screenings, catch the films everyone is buzzing about on the festival circuit, and be among the first to see the work of emerging and first-time filmmakers from around the world. Here are the top 10 films I’m excited to see: Continue Reading →