AFI Film Festival offers free tickets to movie screenings

John Michael Simko

The American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival, presented by Audi, is repeating its free pass giveaway for the second consecutive year so fans can enjoy movie entertainment without worrying about cost.

After last year’s successful launch, AFI decided to continue its novel trend of offering free tickets. In its 24th year, the American Film Institute’s successful program, AFI Fest, explores entertaining and engaging films with a fun, festive atmosphere in the heart of Hollywood.

AFI Fest will take place in Hollywood with screenings at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre, and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel from Nov. 4 to 11.

Critically acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch (“Eraserhead,” “The Elephant Man,” “Mulholland Drive”) has been named guest artistic director to usher in the film festival’s new era.

Last year, distinguished and memorable films like “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” “Precious,” “A Single Man” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” were presented. Early Academy Award buzz began at the AFI Fest.

This year’s premieres include opening-night film “Love & Other Drugs” starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, which depicts a Viagra salesman who discovers the other effective drug — love. The movie will screen Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Touted for early Academy Award consideration, leading actor Colin Firth’s performance in “The King’s Speech” is the most acknowledged selection for this year’s festival. “The King’s Speech,” which will be shown Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m, chronicles King George IV as he reluctantly assumes the British crown. Afflicted with a stuttering impediment, George employs a speech therapist to correct his speaking difficulty and confidently rules England.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams’ highly anticipated NC-17 –rated “Blue Valentine” recounts how one night might rescue a failing marriage. It will be screening Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Acclaimed actor Diego Luna’s directorial debut “Abel” materializes about father issues Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Arrogant corporate living and struggling to redefine your life after being laid off is the premise of “The Company Men,” starring Academy Award winners Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and co-starring Rosemarie DeWitt and Maria Bello. “The Company Men” will run Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The film festival concludes with one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as promising ballet stars who propel their bodies to cut-off points. The closing-night film will be shown Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Starting Oct. 27, AFI members can obtain their free tickets starting at noon; the general public can procure their tickets Oct. 28 from noon on. Tickets can be requested online at afi.com/afifest, by phone at (866) 234-3378, or at the onsite box office at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.

Patron packages guarantee reserved seats and admittance to all gala events. Rush lines will form one hour prior to screen time, and tickets will be released upon availability.

Tips for the festival:

1) ALWAYS ARRIVE EARLY
Securing free tickets does not guarantee you a seat. AFI will release your ticket if you don’t appear 15 minutes before the screening to those in the rush line. Screenings may go over their allotted time. Don’t be surprised to wait outside a theater for 15 to 30 minutes for patrons to clear out.

2) KNOW WHERE TO PARK
Parking can be a giant hassle. Figure out your parking situation before you get there. You get four hours of parking for $2 at the Hollywood & Highland parking structure if you get your ticket validated. Stop by one of the stores and purchase something to avoid a $10 maximum rate parking charge. Otherwise, simply park in an adjacent lot.

3) PLAN ACCORDINGLY
If you attend multiple days, have a clear plan of what shows you’re going to ahead of time so you don’t panic. Eat before you attend; you never know when you’ll be able to eat next. Be warned: Some tickets stipulate specific seats and you might not be happy with yours. Be prepared for ardent fans pushing and shoving.

4) ENJOY YOURSELF
Always have fun. Appreciate, experience and savor your time.

Go to afi.com/afifest for up-to-date information and details.