In a congested festival marketplace—and a tough year—the American Film Institute's 23-year-old A.F.I. Fest is offering free tickets to all festival screenings this week. A.F.I. and presenting sponsor Audi made the move this year to supply complimentary tickets to the screenings, including a limited number of seats at the evening shows and galas, including the festival's opening and closing nights.
The idea is known as “See a Film on Us," and as part of the plan, organizers reduced the number of feature films from about 100 to about 60, and short films by half to about 25; all seats are fully committed under the new plan, an attractive arrangement for sponsors.
“We were looking to make a bold move,” the festival's artistic director, Rose Kuo, told L.A. Weekly, recognizing the unprecedented nature of such a move for a major film fest. “Since last year, the conversation among indie distributors and festival programmers has been, ‘Is the sky falling?’ It was time to turn the conversation around, to do something somewhat audacious, and to get people excited about indie film.” Kuo told Rueters, “It was a crazy idea when it was thrown out, and then we started kicking it around and it started not looking so crazy after all.”
The festival is headquartered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre between October 30 and November 5, and will then move to Santa Monica for screenings presented in association with the American Film Market.