Category Archives: #AFI

#AFI DOCS Announces Lineup

Ninety-four films. 30 countries. The best of documentary cinema today. This year’s lineup includes new films from Judd Apatow, Alex Gibney, Werner Herzog, Barbara Kopple and many more. Explore all of the the films you want to see at AFI DOCS 2016 right now.

Tickets to the festival are now available for AFI members exclusively through May 17, and will open to the public on May 18. Passes for the festival are now on sale. Take advantage of the early ticketing window and discounted pass prices by becoming an AFI member today.

AFI DOCS 2016 Program

Hope to see you there!

AFI_Cover_2

(Source: AFI Docs)

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Inside The AFI Awards 2015 Private Luncheon

The American Film Institute (AFI) gathered the members of the talented, creative ensembles behind the most outstanding film and television for 2015 in Beverly Hills, California, January 8, 2016 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles Hotel. There were no winners or losers at the 2015 AFI AWARDS luncheon. AFI honors the entire team behind the year’s most prolific productions. Notable guests at the event included Rooney Mara, Jon Hamm, Brie Larson, Steve Carell, Ridley Scott and Ryan Gosling.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.23.55 PMMad Men actors (from left to right): Kiernan Shipka, January Jones and Jon Hamm. (Photo courtesy of AFI)

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.54.27 PM“ROOM” Co-Stars (from left to right): Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. (Photo courtesy of AFI)

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.01.31 PMActor Ryan Gosling (Photo courtesy of AFI)

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.05.48 PMThe cast of BLACK-ISH at the 2015 AFI AWARDS luncheon. (Photo courtesy of AFI)

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.54.35 PMPictured above (left to right): Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, actress Cate Blanchett, and Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger. (Photo courtesy of AFI)

In addition, thirty-eight AFI Conservatory alumni were honored as official award recipients including the creators of “UnReal” and “Mr. Robot.” See this year’s ensemble of AFI Conservatory Alums official selections here. For highly detailed information, including jury rationale, on this year’s full slate of recipients click here.

Furthermore, each year the AFI AWARDS luncheon begins with its signature “March of Time” montage weaving the year’s most outstanding films and television into the medium’s history beginning in 1895.

Watch the AFI AWARDS 2015 “March of Time” here:

Behind The Scenes: “The Big Short”

Here’s a peek behind the scenes of the major collaborators from “The Big Short”:

The film, directed by Adam McKay, is based on the book, “The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine,” by Michael Lewis, and was adapted by McKay and Charles Randolph.

The film’s narrative is driven by four cynical, fringe Wall Street entities disgusted with the large banking institutions’ overriding greed for profits. They make the decision to capitalize on the ensuing housing market calamity and the financial meltdown of 2008 upon discovering the market frenzy is being driven by worthless “dog shit” collateral debt obligations.  viewed the film at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California as the closing night film of the 2105 AFIFEST. It was also the film’s world premiere.

McKay chooses to inject a significant dose of humor in the early scenes to condition the audience receptors for what they are about to experience. Utilizing the Martin Scorsese docu-drama style in a similar setting with “Wolf of Wall Street,” a strong narrative voice dominates particular moments. Several of these deliberately break the ‘Fourth Wall” in the style of “Wolfie,” Jordan Belfort,  as the characters, including a hilarious cameo by Selena Gomez, speak directly into the camera to explain the complexities of Wall Street financials. The overall effect adds additional humor and adds another layer in creating a sense of authenticity and truth about the film’s subject matter.

After a rather lengthy dizzying, yet delightful, character introduction, the film picks up pace as the drama begins to unfold. Dr. Michael Burry, an eccentric financial analyst, with complete autonomy of an investment fund, uncovers variables in his economic forecast indicating a massive housing market collapse.  He informs his higher up, Lawrence Fields, played convincingly by Tracy Letts, of his discovery and creates a financial prospectus. In essence, he creates a commodity of selling short on bundled mortgages.

The bankers laugh as they willingly sell Burry all the “insurance” he wants. Word quickly spreads of Burry’s perceived madness in a after-work cocktail scene. With interest piqued upon overhearing the Wall Street gossip of the day, Jarred Bennett, portrayed by Ryan Gosling, scoops up the essence of Burry’s move. Soon, he sells a group led by Steve Carell’s all-too-human, Mark Baum to buy in.

As the debacle is in full free-fall, Baum struggles with disbelief as he and his group have bet against their own umbrella entity, Morgan Stanley. The final team that has uncovered the impending financial crisis, made up of two Wall Street neophytes and veteran Ben Rickert, played by one of the film’s producers, Brad Pitt, also struggles with the imploding financial system caused by corporate greed and indifference.

With a mammoth cast, McKay draws on a plethora of talent in the likes of Hollywood A-listers including Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Selena Gomez, Christian Bale, Karen Gillan Steve Carell, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo and Finn Wittrock. McKay and Randolph create characters with witty dialogue coupled with complementary cinematography provided by Barry Ackroyd. The soundtrack carries a similar tone of “Wolf of Wall Street,” with a compilation of classic rock anthems. Nicholas Britell widely recognized for his work on Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” where Britell composed on set the on-screen violin performances, work songs, dances and spiritual songs rarely misses a beat this time out. Much like another AFI FEST 2015 film, “The Clan,” Argentina’s official entry to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Best Foreign Language Category for Oscar, “The Big Short,” musical score is often in juxtaposition to the the narrative and mise-en-scen adding a deeper visceral quality to the viewing experience.

In its most basic essence, “The Big Short,” builds on the visceral truth of Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street.” It depicts a not-so-long-ago present where a noble ideal, making home ownership a reality for Americans, is bastardized by the indifferent market forces of capitalism. Probably not what Adam Smith had in mind when he penned his treatise, “The Wealth of Nations.” Warmly Recommended.

AFI AWARDS 2015

The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced its recipients of The AFI Awards 2015: Honoring A Year Of Excellence.

Movies of the Year                             TV Programs of the Year

The Big Short                                                The Americans

Bridge of Spies                                              Better Call Saul

Carol                                                                Black-ish

Inside Out                                                      Empire

Mad Max: Fury Road                                    Fargo

The Martian                                                   Game of Thrones

Room                                                               Homeland

Spotlight                                                        Master of None

Star Wars: The Force Awakens                 Mr. Robot

Straight Outta Compton                            Unreal

 

 

AFI SPECIAL AWARD

MAD MEN

 

The award is the only national honor for each creative team as a whole documenting the year’s most artistically and culturally significant films and television programming. AFI recognizes and celebrates the collaborative nature of the art form with its AFI Awards.

This year the iconic TV series, Mad Men,  receives recognition for its contributions to America’s cultural legacy with an AFI Special Award.