That’s A Wrap: AFI FEST 2015


AFI FEST Film Festival 2015 Wrap-up

by Larry Gleeson

Closing down this year’s American Film Institute Festival on Thursday, it’s hard not to imagine what might have been. The closing night film, The Big Short, drew an at-capacity crowd as Director Adam McKey took a few moments to introduce his star-studded cast. True to form, McKay bantered playfully with Ryan Gossling by saying how nice it was to finally meet him. Afterwards the audience was treated to a real big-screen viewing in the historic Hollywood TLC Grauman’s Chinese Theater.


The night before The Big Short, gala goers were treated to a Tribute to Brits, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay: followed by a screening of Andrew Haigh’s “45 Years.”


Award winners for this years AFI FEST include:
New Auteurs Grand Jury Award:  LAND AND SHADE (Director César Augusto Acevedo) for its visual eloquence and its observations of environmental degradation and economic exloitation.

Special Jury Mention for Screenplay: DESDE ALLÁ (Director/writer Lorenzo Vigas) for its keen insights into the alienation, social divides and overriding need for control that allows love to flourish and die.

World Cinema Audience Award: LANDFILL HARMONIC (Directors Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley, Juliana Penaranda-Loftus)

New Auteurs Audience Award: MUSTANG (Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven)

American Independents Audience Award: JAMES WHITE (Director Josh Mond)

(Photo courtesy of AFI FEST 2015)

Other films I found interesting all came from the World Cinema category and included: “Dheepan,” a story of a Sri Lankan man who with an unknown woman and child, flees to France to start a new life. “Dheepan,” was directed by Jacques Audiard, known for his prison drama, “The Prophet,” and “Rust and Bone,” a melodrama; “The Clan,” an Argentinian film based on the real life events of the Puccio family during the early 1980’s is Argentina’s Official entry to The Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film category; and “The Gulls,” a cinematic treat from an otherwise barren region.

Until next time….I’ll see you at the movies!