The American Film Institute’s AFI Fest 2010, which runs in Hollywood from November 4-11, has announced its Centerpiece Galas to accompany the previously announced opening and closing night selections (the world premiere of Edward Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs and Darren Aronofsky’s Venice stunner Black Swan). The Centerpiece Galas are Sundance holdovers The Company Men (John Wells), Abel (Diego Luna) and Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance) and Toronto entries Barney’s Version (Richard J. Lewis) and Casino Jack (George Hickenlooper). AFI Fest will also mount a special tribute to fest circuit hit and Oscar front-runner The King’s Speech with director Tom Hooper and stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.
The fest’s Special Screenings include the U.S. premieres of Toronto debuts from John Sayles (Amigo), Werner Herzog (3-D Cave of Forgotten Dreams), John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole) and Nigel Cole (Made in Dagenham). David Lynch is serving as the festival’s first Guest Artistic Director. Synopses for the films are after the jump.
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION: November 4
Love and Other Drugs: Edward Zwick’s satiric romp through the world of cutthroat Viagra sales stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal as mismatched lovers who discover that love is the ultimate drug. DIR Edward Zwick. SCR Charles Randolph and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz. CAST Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad, Judy Greer, Gabriel Macht. World Premiere.
TRIBUTE SELECTION: November 5
The King’s Speech: Colin Firth stars as the stuttering King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his maverick Australian speech therapist. DIR Tom Hooper. SCR David Seidler. CAST Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall. UK/Australia.
CENTERPIECE GALA SELECTIONS:
Blue Valentine: Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage. DIR Derek Cianfrance. SCR Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne. CAST Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams. USA.
Barney’s Version: A wise and witty tale of a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. DIR Richard J. Lewis. SCR Michael Konyves. CAST Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre, Scott Speedman. Canada/Italy.
Abel: In his feature directorial debut, Diego Luna offers a strange, alluring fable of a disturbed child attempting to become his own father. DIR Diego Luna. SCR Diego Luna, Augusto Mendoza. CAST Christopher Ruíz-Esparza, José María Yazpik, Karina Gidi, Carlos Aragón, Gerardo Ruíz-Esparza, Geraldine Alejandra. Mexico.
Casino Jack: Notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff finds himself in bed with mafia assassins in this fact-inspired film. DIR George Hickenlooper. SCR Norman Snider. CAST Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Kelly Preston, Rachelle Lefevre, Jon Lovitz. Canada.
The Company Men: Bobby Walker is living the American dream when corporate downsizing forces him and two co-workers to re-define their lives. DIR/SCR John Wells. CAST Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Rosemary DeWitt. USA.
CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION:
Black Swan: Darren Aronofsky’s stunningly operatic film stars Natalie Portman as a rising ballet star pushing her body and soul to the limit. DIR Darren Aronofsky. SCR Mark Heyman & Andres Heinz & John McLaughlin. CAST Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder. USA.
SPECIAL SCREENING SELECTIONS:
Amigo: Parallels to current events abound in John Sayles’ compelling drama about the moral quandaries facing U.S. soldiers and local cooperators a century ago in the Philippine-American War. DIR/SCR John Sayles. CAST Garret Dillahunt, Joel Torre, Chris Cooper, DJ Qualls, Brian Lee Franklin. USA/Philippines. U.S. Premiere.
Rabbit Hole: A vivid, honest, hopeful and unexpectedly witty portrait of a family searching for what remains possible in the most impossible of all situations. DIR John Cameron Mitchell. SCR David Lindsay-Abaire. CAST Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Tammy Blanchard, Sandra Oh. USA.
Made In Dagenham: Alongside 55,000 men, 187 women work as machinists in a car assembly plant and are paid a fraction of what the men earn. The women go on strike, eventually leading to a national crisis. DIR Nigel Cole. SCR William Ivory. CAST Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Geraldine James, Rosamund Pike. UK.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Visionary director Werner Herzog takes us on a 3-D journey into the most distant past of human history as his camera encounters the 35,000-year-old paintings of the Chauvet Cave. DIR Werner Herzog. USA.