In an unprecented move for a major U.S. film festival, AFI Fest in Los Angeles will offer free tickets to all screenings at this year’s event, set for October 30th to November 7th. Also, the festival is moving from the Arclight to Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood this year, while also featuring a weekend of showings in Santa Monica, pegged to the annual AFM.
Organizers are touting a celebration of sponsor Audi’s centennial as a hook for the shift. “Presenting the screenings compliments of AFI and Audi is our way of reaching out to film lovers in these challenging times and inviting them to see a movie on us,” AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale said in a statement.
Fest patrons who buy passes will still gain priority access at evening showings and gala events, which are the biggest draw for the festival, but even those popular screenings will feature a limited number of complimentary spots. Other than those patron spots, all tickets will be free, organizers said.
Submissions for AFI Fest ’09 are being accepted through the end of July. For more information, visit the festival website. The event is being programmed by AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo, with film writer Robert Koehler and AFI FEST programmer Lane Kneedler.