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AFI Fest 2013: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

AFI Fest is one of the top film festivals annually presented in the capital of world cinema and, to use movie parlance, its 2013 “sequel” was a blockbuster hit that did boffo box office.

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Headquartered at the Roosevelt Hotel, located on Hollywood Boulevard’s fabled “Walk of Fame”, where the first Oscar ceremony took place in 1929, the week-long AFI Fest’s 100-plus commercial features, foreign films, classics, indies, shorts, animated works, documentaries and more were screened at the 1920s-built TCL Chinese and Egyptian movie palaces, as well as at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres at the Hollywood & Highland complex, with its Babylonian themed architecture inspired by D.W. Griffith’s 1916 masterpiece Intolerance.

85-year-old Agnes Varda, the so-called “Godmother of the French New Wave,” was AFI Fest’s Guest Artistic Director, and she presided over an overwhelming motion picture panoply of screenings and personal appearances, including by Bernardo Bertolucci, who presented a 3D conversion of The Last Emperor to commemorate its 25th anniversary. Here then are your critic’s personal highlights -- and letdowns -- of the 2013 AFI Fest in L.A.

Films Reviewed:

Jodorowky's Dune -- The Doomed Dune

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom -- The Epic Sweep of Revolution

The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld -- Crimes Against Humanity Are Us

Nebraska -- An Alexander Payne State of Mind

The Invisible Woman -- AFI Fest’s Stinkeroo

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Drones -- A Probing Look at Pres. “Barrage” Obama’s Weapon of Choice

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Machsom -- This Checkpoint Charlie’s Got the Blues

My Afghanistan: Life in the Forbidden Zone -- Home Movies from the Frontlines

Caucus: Welcome to the Iowan Monkey House

In Bloom: Let 1,000 Films Bloom

Ed Rampell

The new book co-authored by L.A.-based reviewer Ed Rampell, “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book”, published by Honolulu’s Mutual Publishing, drops Nov. 25.

AFI Fest 2013’s Awards go to:

  • New Auteurs Critic’s Award: NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN.
  • New Auteur Special Award for Personal Storytelling: IN BLOOM.
  • New Auteur Special Award for Direction: SELFISH GIANT. The jury has also selected a Special Award for Direction to Clio Barnard.
  • Grand Jury Award, Live Action Short: BUTTER LAMP. DIR Hu Wei. France, Tibet.
  • Grand Jury Award, Animated Short: THE PLACES WHERE WE LIVED. DIR Bernardo Britto. USA.
  • Special Jury Award: BALCONY. DIR Lendita Zeqiraj. Kosov.
  • Special Jury Award for Outstanding Achievement in Direction: SYNDROMEDA. DIR Patrik Eklund. Sweden.
  • Special Jury Mention for Best Datamosh: DATAMOSH. DIR Yung Jake. USA.
  • Audience Awards, World Cinema: THE ROCKET. DIR Kim Mordaunt. Australia.
  • Audience Award, New Auteurs: THE SELFISH GIANT. DIR Clio Barnard. UK.
  • Audience Award, American Independents: WE GOTTA GET OUTTA THIS PLACE. DIR Zeke Hawkins, Simon Hawkins. USA.
  • Audience Award, Breakthrough: B FOR BOY. DIR Chika Anadu. Nigeria.