The American Film Institute International Film Festival celebrated its 14th year with an eight-day marathon of symposiums, conferences, parties, and--of course--movies on October 19-26. The largest international film festival in Los Angeles, AFI Fest 2000 stretched over three theatres located in the heart of Hollywood: the recently refurbished Egyptian Theatre (the festival's central locale); the lavish, Disney-owned El Capitan; and the desperately-in-need-of-a-remodel Vogue Theatre. On their screens ran more than 90 films, all falling under specific categories: the International Competition, the European Film Showcase, New Directions from American Independents, the Documentary Competition, the Latin Cinema Series, and the newly launched Asian New Classics series.
A film festival would not be complete without gala events, and a trio of big West Coast premieres highlighted AFI Fest 2000. The big curtain-raiser on October 19 was the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, starring George Clooney. Filling the film's centerpiece spot on October 23 was Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, a biography of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. The festival--and its week-long retrospective of the work of filmmaker Philip Kaufman--came a close with the premiere of Kaufman's latest film, Quills, about the life of the Marquis de Sade (played by Geoffrey Rush).
There was more to AFI Fest 2000 than just watching movies; two special events focused on the creative process of filmmaking. The AFI and the Writers Guild of America held a day-long Screenwriters Forum held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, featuring roundtable discussions with notable screenwriters and directors. The event culminated with a screening of American Beauty, followed by a Q&A with producer Dan Jinks and the writer of the film's Oscar-winning screenplay, Alan Ball. Reelplay.com and Intel presented the two-day Digital Symposium, which featured panel discussions with digital video filmmakers and presentations of the latest DV technology.
AFI Fest 2000 Award Winners
AFI Fest 2000 Reviews
AFI Fest Official Site
AFI Fest 2000/© Michael Dequina