Jon Fitzgerald Appointed Director of AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival; Discusses The Future Of Slamdance Festival

by Mark L. Feinsod and Eugene Hernandez

The American Film Institute has appointed Jon Fitzgerald to the
post of Director of the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival. He comes
to the job in the wake of co-founding and serving as the Executive Director
of the Slamdance Film Festival.

"I'm thrilled to assume responsibility for the festival and hope to bring a
new energy and direction to its second decade," Fitzgerald said in an
interview with indieWIRE yesterday. "We plan for a greater emphasis on new
directors, competitive sections and premieres. I'm gonna try to bring more
excitement to the festival."

Additionally, Fitzgerald confirmed that he would continue on the board of
the Slamdance Festival and would "help them (the festival organizers) gear up
for the Park City event." While he admitted that he would not be involved in
the day to day operations of Slamdance, he revealed that he would likely be
on the scene in January to assist with the event, and that Peter Baxter and
the other Slamdance organizers are capable of successfully continuing the
annual event -- building upon the foundation that the previous leadership

Discussing his new festival, Fitzgerald stressed that while the AFI-LA event
will try to give more exposure to first time directors, foreign filmmakers
will still be a very strong presence at the event via the competitive section
and the non-competitive world cinema section.

The AFI festival, which is entering its 11th year, drew a record attendance
of 40,000 last year and screened such films as Lars von Triers' "Breaking The
, Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade," Nick Cassavettes' "Unhook The Stars,"
and Al Pacino's "Looking For Richard." At the invitation of Los Angeles Mayor
Richard Riordan, the AFI moved the festival to Hollywood last year.