AFI Announces Leadership Team for AFI FEST 2023 – American Film Institute


AFI Announces Leadership Team for AFI FEST 2023

AFI announced today that Todd Hitchcock, Director of AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, will oversee the national programming team tasked with programming the 37th annual AFI FEST in Los Angeles. Hitchcock was recently named to the position of Director of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. This move unites all of AFI’s exhibition and programming activities under his leadership. Hitchcock began his career at AFI in 2003 working on the inaugural edition of SILVERDOCS before joining AFI Silver’s year-round programming team. As Director of Programming at AFI Silver and the Associate Theatre Director, he oversaw numerous international film festivals, retrospectives, first-run engagements and special events, including planning, programming and producing the Silent Cinema Showcase, the AFI Latin American Film Festival, the AFI European Union Film Showcase and the New African Film Festival.

AFI also has announced the appointment of Ethan Caldwell to the newly created position of Director of Operations, AFI Productions. A veteran of cinema exhibition and operations, Caldwell most recently served as the Director, Theater Operations at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, CA. In his new position, Caldwell will be responsible for overseeing the planning and execution of AFI’s exhibition activities, including AFI FEST.

“Todd’s expert knowledge in programming – combined with Ethan’s deep appreciation for the art of exhibition – makes them a dynamic duo to forge the future for AFI FEST,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “This fall, we look forward to launching the 37th Annual AFI FEST – and, once again, shining a light upon stories that uplift and inspire us all.”

Celebrating the best films from around the world, AFI FEST will take place in person on October 25-29, 2023, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in the heart of Hollywood. The five-day festival will once again include a curated selection of Red Carpet galas, Special Screenings, World Cinema, Documentaries and Short Films.

“It is an incredible honor to be programming AFI FEST,” said Hitchcock. “Throughout my time at AFI, it has been a joy to be able to connect audiences with the best in world cinema, both past and present, through our programs at AFI Silver. I’m thrilled to now lead the team that will create that experience for the AFI FEST audience.”

Hitchcock will oversee a national programming team including Director of AFI Programming, Abbie Algar, Senior Programmer, Malin Kan, and programmers Josh Gardner and Javier Chavez.

“The history and impact of AFI and AFI FEST is unparalleled. I am excited to join this storied institution and to work alongside people who are just as passionate about creating unique and powerful events as I am,” said Caldwell.

As previously announced, entries for the AFI FEST 2023 Short Film Competition program are open and filmmakers are invited to submit fiction, documentary, experimental and animated short films. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for the Live Action, Animated and Documentary Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®.

Learn more about submitting to AFI FEST 2023 at or submit via Film Freeway at Filmmakers can email [email protected] for more information about the submissions process for short films.

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