AFI FEST 2020 Presented by Audi: Cultural Partners – American Film Institute

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AFI FEST 2020 Presented by Audi: Cultural Partners

AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class annual event, showcasing the best films from across the globe. This year’s online edition took place Oct. 15-22. This diverse program of cinematic excellence, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices to enthusiastic audiences was made possible in part by our national and global cultural sponsors: SAGindie, the Consulate General of Switzerland, the Consulate General of France, European Languages and Movies in America (ELMA), Istituto Italiano di Cultura (IIC), Luce Cinecittà and the Polish Film Institute.

“In these unprecedented times when people are in lockdown and borders are closed, it is more important than ever for us to keep supporting the AFI FEST which constitutes an amazing window to the world,” said Julie Duhaut-Bedos, Consul General of France in LA. “This online edition allows us to discover at home, some very powerful and beautiful movies that will move you, make you smile or cry. I hope they will inspire all of us to build a better future.”

The Swiss Consulate in San Francisco returned as partners this year, with their entry for the Oscars® this year, MY LITTLE SISTER.

Our partner for all European titles, ELMA, was happy to support all films from the region and to participate in this year’s reimagined festival.

Among the newest partners, the Polish Film Institute participated in FEST for the first time this year, supporting APPLES, a Polish-Slavic-Greek co-production. They were excited to begin their journey with AFI FEST with our unique online edition, a great first step to a fruitful partnership.

And the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, who presented NOTTURNO, the most recent documentary by Academy Award® nominated director Gianfranco Rosi, said, “Thank you AFI and Gianfranco Rosi for this unique opportunity to experience the emotions of contemporary Italian cinema at home!”

We were happy to welcome back Luce Cinecittà as well, supporting the Italian filmmaker and his groundbreaking documentary in this year’s edition.

In celebration of all their support, we’d like to look back and highlight the films and important conversations brought to you by our cultural partners.

Watch now:

À L’ABORDAGE
Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the Consulate General of France

AFI Festivals Programmer Malin Kan leads a conversation between filmmaker Guillaume Brac and actor Salif Cissé.

Film Synopsis: Left lovelorn after the whirlwind one-night romance he shared with the beautiful Alma, Felix must do something bold if he wants to hold onto her. Knowing she is leaving the next morning to vacation at a small riverside town over 300 miles away, Felix intends to follow and surprise her there.

APPLES
Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the PFI (Polish Film Institute)

AFI FEST Lead Screening Committee Member Jesse Knight leads a conversation with filmmaker Christos Nikou.

Film Synopsis: Thousands of cases of amnesia are spreading across Greece. The malady isn’t deadly, but there is no cure, and no one has recovered. The lucky amnesiacs are claimed by family members. The unclaimed ones are hospitalized indefinitely or offered a recovery program to help them establish a new identity. Taciturn Aris (Aris Servetalis) and ebullient Anna (Sofia Georgovassili) tentatively navigate the world, trying to piece together who they might have been before their memories were wiped clean.

COLLECTIVE (COLLECTIV)
Cultural support provided by: ELMA

AFI Festivals Senior Programmer Ken Jacobson leads a conversation between filmmaker Alexander Nanau and subject Cătălin Tolontan.

Film Synopsis: In 2015, a fire roared through the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, killing 27 people and leaving over 100 injured. Following the tragedy, the Romanian Health Minister declared that the burn victims would receive the highest quality treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Due to a corruption scandal as horrifying as the fire itself, the treating hospitals used diluted disinfectant leading to 37 additional deaths. Alexander Nanau’s riveting exposé follows the investigative journalists at Gazeta Sporturilor as they unpeel the scandal, layer by layer.

DOWNSTREAM TO KINSHASA
Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the Consulate General of France

AFI Festivals Senior Programmer Ken Jacobson leads a conversation with filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi.

Film Synopsis: In June 2000, the brutal Six-Day War between Uganda and Rwanda swept through the city of Kisangani, Congo, leaving 1,000 Congolese dead and 3,000 injured. Filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi (KINSHASA MAKAMBO, NATIONAL DIPLOMA) follows a group of severely injured survivors of the war on a truly epic journey down the Congo River as they seek to appeal directly to the national government in Kinshasa for the compensation that they are owed.

FAREWELL AMOR
Cultural support provided by: SAGindie

Film critic KJ Matthews leads a conversation between filmmakers Ekwa Msangi and actors Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson and Ntare Mwine.

Walter and Esther were once deeply in love, but when Walter left Angola for the states to build a more stable life for their family in Brooklyn, neither could have anticipated that their reunion would be 17 long years later. While the couple finds they’ve drifted apart and no longer see the world in the same light, their teenage daughter assimilates with little effort. At home she is the remaining link to their African community and that weight of obligation to her tradition-bound mother begins to strain their relationship. An assured debut from filmmaker-to-watch Ekwa Msangi, FAREWELL AMOR is a profoundly mature and complex look at relationships, the ocean-wide distances that form between us and the heartrending pain of attempting to bridge them.

JUMBO
Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the Consulate General of France

AFI FEST Senior Programmer Claudia Puig leads a discussion of the film JUMBO with filmmaker Zoe Wittock and actress Noémie Merlant.

Film Synopsis: Forbidden love is not a new theme to cinema. But Jeanne’s love is like no other. When the new amusement park “attraction,” The Move It, arrives at the local carnival where she works, Jeanne’s life is forever changed.

MY DONKEY, MY LOVER & I
Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the Consulate General of France

AFI Festivals Programmer Malin Kan leads a conversation with filmmaker Caroline Vignal.

Film Synopsis: Antoinette, a schoolteacher, has a secret. She is having an affair with Vladimir, the father of one of her students. When Vladimir cancels their romantic getaway for a hiking vacation planned with his wife and daughter, Antoinette impulsively decides to change her trip to follow and surprise him. Since Antoinette is not the avid hiker, she also hires a partner – Patrick, the donkey – to join her on this six-day journey through the sunny, French mountains.

MY LITTLE SISTER
Switzerland Official International Feature Film Oscar® Submission
Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the Consulate General of Switzerland

AFI Festivals Director of Programming Sarah Harris leads a conversation between filmmakers Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond and actor Nina Hoss.

Film Synopsis: Dramas exploring adult brother-sister relationships are rare in cinema. And when told well, they resonate in powerful ways. Bored by the way her cloistered existence revolves around the international school her husband heads, Lisa re-evaluates her life. When her twin brother develops leukemia, the pair bond even more profoundly over their shared passion for theater.

NASIR
Cultural support provided by: ELMA

AFI FEST Lead Screening Committee Member Julia Kipnis leads a conversation with filmmaker Arun Karthick.

Film Synopsis: For textile salesman Nasir, the minor setbacks of the day to day are surmountable. Despite his meager pay, he is grateful to be able to support his wife and adopted son Iqbal, who is disabled. But Nasir is Muslim in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India where Hindu nationalism is pervasive and violent extremism is on the rise. Customers treat him with disdain and propaganda erupts through loudspeakers on the streets, but the words he holds important are in the love letters he writes to his wife and in the poems he quietly recites. This carefully composed and critically important sophomore feature from Tamil filmmaker Arun Karthick, which won the NETPAC Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, issues a powerful and globally resonant statement on the dangers of presumed safety as an oppressed minority.

NOTTURNO
Cultural support provided by: Istituto Italiano di Cultura (IIC) and Luce Cinecittà

AFI Programmer Ken Jacobson leads a conversation with director Gianfranco Rosi.

Racked by war, the bordering areas of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria and Lebanon have, in recent years, seen untold human suffering and devastation. But, even as a return to normal remains elusive, if not unattainable, life goes on. With this beautiful assemblage of arresting images and intimate character moments, Academy Award®-nominee Gianfranco Rosi (FIRE AT SEA) manages the cinematic equivalent of alchemy. He focuses his lens on the disassembled pieces of these war-torn societies and shows how simple acts of everyday life, ritual and performance can bridge the gap between despair and some measure of inner peace. The culmination of a three-year journey across the region, the symphonic brilliance of NOTTURNO firmly establishes Rosi as a bona fide master in the documentary world.

PINK SKIES AHEAD
Cultural support provided by: SAGindie

AFI Festivals Director of Programming Sarah Harris leads a conversation between filmmaker Kelly Oxford and actors Jessica Barden, Odeya Rush and Devon Bostick.

Los Angeles, 1998. After dropping out of college and moving back home to live with her parents, Winona is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Skeptical of her doctor’s opinion — she hasn’t had a panic attack after all —Winona carries on with her wild lifestyle. Only when things begin to truly unravel around her, does she reluctantly decide to see a therapist and face her truths.

RIVAL (RIVALE)
Cultural support provided by: ELMA

Film critic Tyra Martin leads a conversation between filmmakers Marcus Lenz and Gunter Hanfgarn and co-writer Lars Hubrich.

Film Synopsis: From the opening scenes of a little boy brandishing a huge gun, the audience is immediately drawn in. Bolstered by beautiful cinematography and an evocative score, nothing is predictable about this suspenseful tale of young Roman, his Ukrainian mother working illegally in Germany and Gert, the employer with whom she becomes romantically involved.

SHOULD THE WIND DROP (SI LE VENT TOMBE)

Cultural support provided by: ELMA and the Consulate General of France

AFI FEST Director of Programming Sarah Harris leads a conversation between filmmaker Nora Martirosyan and actor Grégoire Colin.

Film synopsis: Alain, an airport auditor, is sent to evaluate the airport in a small breakaway country and becomes enmeshed with the lives of the local people, making his job more complicated than he anticipated.

WILDLAND
Cultural support provided by: ELMA

AFI FEST Senior Programmer Claudia Puig leads a conversation between filmmaker Jeanette Nordahl and actor Sandra Guldberg Kampp.

Film Synopsis: Families come in all shapes, sizes and career inclinations. After her mother dies suddenly in a car accident, introverted 17-year-old Ida (Sandra Guldberg Kampp) is welcomed with open arms by her overbearing aunt and druggy grown cousins, who live together in the Danish countryside. Unfortunately for Ida, her aunt is the head of a criminal debt collection enterprise overseeing her trio of gangster sons.

WOLFWALKERS
Cultural support provided by: ELMA

AFI Festivals Director of Programming Sarah Harris leads a conversation with filmmakers Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.

Film Synopsis: In 17th-century Ireland, a magical friendship takes shape. Young Robyn and her wolf-hunter father, Bill, are sent from England tasked with ridding the woodland outside of town of wolves. After being told to stay within the city walls, Robyn sneaks out to explore the magical world of the forest where she meets Mebh, a wild girl raised by wolves. Robyn undergoes a secret transformation, turning into the very thing her father is sent to destroy and creating a final battle between the wolf pack and townsfolk.

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