AFI Fest returns to LA

Where can you catch Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, and Jake Gyllenhaal all in one place? The American Film Institute Festival 2010 presented by Audi is in town this week boasting the biggest celebrities and, of course, some of the most notable films of the year. Throughout the week, the festival will present a total of 97 films, both features and shorts. The films are all being screened at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Mann Chinese 6, the Egyptian, and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel all conveniently located near Hollywood & Highland.

Many of the films presented have already captured Oscar-buzz such as "The King's Speech" starring Colin Firth and Tom Hooper, "Rabbit Hole" with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, and AFI's closing night feature selection "Black Swan" starring Natalie Portman.

In addition to the array of films, you can also catch special panels with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The Social Network), Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry, and Senior Vice President of the Sony 3D Technology Center Buzz Hays.

As a result of the recession, AFI is offering free tickets to this year's galas and screenings. And when something of this enormity is being offered for free, the real cost is the huge crowd you have to battle.

Bryan Rodriguez was among the lucky few to score tickets for the closing night "Black Swan" and for the L.A. Times Roundtable with Young Hollywood. "I camped online. At 9:59, I went onto the website before it crashed and managed to sign up for tickets," he said.

Young stars Carey Mulligan, Jesse Eisenberg, and Andrew Garfield all opened up about their success during last Friday's Roundtable discussion.

All three performers are stunned by their newfound success, especially Garfield, who just made two breakout roles in "The Social Network" and "Never Let Me Go."

"I don't think you ever fully think that you'll be able to make a living out of something you care about doing so much," he said. "That you see as being in the sandbox all day long – just playing, inventing, and being a child for a living."

"It's sort of criminal that certain people are allowed to do that. And on top of that, be paid for it."

Garfield is also set to star in the upcoming "Spiderman" film. Although he's playing a super-hero, the actor admits he's terrified to step into Tobey Maguire's shoes.

"There are so many versions of ‘King Lear.' Every actor will play King Lear differently, because they're all different people. That's what helps me sleep at night," said Garfield as he laughed and shamefully buried his head.

Commonly enough, Garfield and Eisenberg are harsh critics of their own work. So harsh, in fact, that they don't like watching their own films. Eisenberg said, "I sat through ‘The Social Network' only because I felt rude leaving the screening."

After last year's Oscar nomination for "An Education," Mulligan's stardom skyrocketed quickly. She says she hasn't been coached for the publicity that comes with it; she's learning as she goes.

"I learned this year that if you have a martini before you walk the red carpet, that's a very good idea," said Mulligan.

The AFI Fest is running until November 11. For tickets or more info, visit www.afi.com/afifest.

 

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