American Film

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December 2012


    AFI Fest 2012 presented by Audi has the film world abuzz – online and in print. “This final event on the world cinema calendar can lay legitimate claim to being the ‘Fest of Fests,’ its selections representing the cream of 10 months of international hoopla,” cheered Variety. “AFI Fest has a reputation for launching new films that will be the shining stars of 2013,” wrote Indiewire.

    Adding it all up,141 films screened from 35 countries for eight days and nights – with 37 AFI Conservatory alumni represented by 16 films. The week featured critically acclaimed work that spanned the globe, cutting-edge narratives from new filmmakers and even an appropriately “secret” screening of the latest 007 spy film, SKYFALL, before its official opening later in the week. And speaking of openings, the festival kicked off with the World Premiere of Sacha Gervasi’s HITCHCOCK starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. And it wrapped with the perfect Hollywood ending – the Closing Night Gala featured the World Premiere of AFI Trustee Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN. The full cast attended the event, including Academy Award®-winning actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, among many others.


    AFI Fest was proud to host the winner of September’s Membership Month Red Carpet Getaway Sweepstakes, Jill Zahner from Northern California. She and her daughter, Jorden, enjoyed their stay at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and attended the Opening Night Gala festivities at the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where a packed house enjoyed the World Premiere of HITCHCOCK. Mom and daughter looked perfectly at home on the red carpet! Congratulations, Jill!


    Another year is coming to an end and, as a film lover, you’ll probably be spending time enjoying the holiday movie season with your friends and family. AFI is grateful for the support that our members and insiders – our family of movie enthusiasts from around the world – have shown throughout the year and we sincerely appreciate your contributions that enable our vital work to continue.

    As you consider your end of the year donations, we hope you will remember the American Film Institute’s year-end fund. Your tax-deductible contributions always play a vital role in AFI’s mission – our promise to America to engage the past, present and future of film through preservation, celebration and education. It is because of supporters like you that we can keep this promise. And it is because of supporters like you that we can build on that promise. So as we roll credits on 2012, we once again sincerely thank you for your support in helping make your American Film Institute the place where movies matter.

    Please make your tax-deductible year-end contribution here.


    Each year, the American Film Institute honors the most outstanding achievements in film and television with the AFI Awards. Celebrating excellence both in front of and behind the camera, on big screen and small, the AFI Awards juries vote on the top 10 films and television programs of 2012 – and as America’s voice, AFI members get a vote, too! AFI Awards honorees will be announced in mid-December and will be celebrated at an invitation-only luncheon with their peers in January. Members of AFI can participate in what America says were the most exemplary achievements in cinema and television of 2012, so check your e-mail for your link to the online ballot and let your voice be heard!


    On December 6, join AFI, Academy Award®-winning director Peter Jackson, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum and a whole lot of dwarves as they return to Middle-earth on the first of a new trilogy of epic quests in the U.S. premiere of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY.

    A Gala event to be held at the historic Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, the U.S. premiere is a benefit to support the education and preservation initiatives of the American Film Institute. A very limited number of individual tickets are still available.


    AFI honored filmmaking duo Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky at its AFI Silverdocs 2012 Guggenheim Symposium for their collective and individual excellence in documentary film. Past Guggenheim honorees have included Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Albert Maysles and Martin Scorsese. The pair's landmark documentary trilogy, starting with PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS and concluding with the Oscar®-nominated PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, sparked an international movement to free the West Memphis Three teens accused of the 1993 murder of three eight-year-old boys.

    The PARADISE LOST Trilogy is now available on DVD and, to mark the occasion, we’re giving away copies, courtesy of the filmmakers, to five of our readers chosen at random from among those who e-mail us. Write “Trilogy” in the subject line and include your phone number and mailing address, and you could be the owner of this powerful collection. Don’t delay – entries must be received by 5:00 p.m. PT December 7, 2012 to qualify for the random drawing. Only one entry per household allowed. We'll randomly draw five entries on December 10 and the lucky recipients will be notified no later than December 17.

    And for the rest of you, a discount of 20% is now available on the purchase of this DVD through December 31, 2012. Simply go to, click the blue "Add to Cart" button on the right side of the screen.  On the next screen, type the code PLAFI20 in the "Discount Codes" box on the left side of the page, then select the blue "Apply Coupon" button. The discounted price will be confirmed and you can complete your purchase by selecting the blue "Proceed to Checkout" button on the right side of the screen.  The Trilogy makes a great holiday gift for any cinephile!



    As a designer in the AFI Creative Services department, a beehive of graphic design activity on the second floor of The Manor House at the American Film Institute, Christine Comstock is accustomed to crunch time and used to juggling many projects at once. It took more than one try to arrange our interview during the hectic run-up to AFI Fest 2012, but it was worth the wait.

    1. Where are you from? I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland, but I lived in Philly for about 15 years after that. Then I lived in Denver for a little bit and now I’m in LA.

    2. Where did you go to school? I went to school in Philly. I went to Moore College of Art and Design, a small private visual art college that was female only. It’s actually the only one in the States that’s like that and it’s the oldest higher learning institution for females in the world. I have my degree in Communication Arts and Art History, a double major.

    3. What did you do before you came to AFI? I was a creative director for an advertising agency in Philadelphia. I started the agency with two other colleagues and we built it from four people to a mid-size agency of about 30 people in the course of about seven years. It was really successful, but I just chose to move on and sold my shares in the company and moved to Denver.

    4. How long have you been at AFI? Since August 2010.

    5. What do you do at AFI? As part of the creative team, I am responsible for the design work involving messaging activities across the Institute. We oversee how everything is put together visually and how it translates throughout many different applications and media sources.

    6. How does that affect our members and insiders? We provide a consistency throughout the organization as far as the AFI brand and look, and we create the materials that make members and insiders aware of all the great programs and events that AFI offers. We create the “AFI personality,” including the look of American Film™. It took all of my 11-plus years of experience as a creative director and a communicator to develop a holistic online user experience for our members.

    7. What was your best day at AFI? I’d have to say my first AFI Fest, when I actually got to experience the fruits of our hard work, all the amazing signage and marketing that went into it. My first red carpet experience! I really discovered what the festival is all about, which is connecting people with the art form. That was extremely cool.

    8. What are you working on today? I’m working on the festival today! I am wrapping up all the environmental signage for Grauman’s Chinese Theatre as well as our other venues and creating the environmental experience that people will have at the festival. It will be really amazing to see the work of the team – because we are very much a team – displayed at Grauman’s Chinese. That’s pretty wonderful.

    9. What don’t your colleagues know about you? I’m actually a professionally trained singer. I’ve gone on tour a couple of times. In my youth, I did a lot of punk rock stuff, then later on I segued to surf music, then ‘40s jazz.

    10. What’s your favorite film? Oh, gosh! I’m the one who works on the membership calendar and our calendar for 2013 will be great films from the ‘20s through the ‘50s. I grew up watching classic black and white movies because of my grandparents, so when I first saw Marilyn Monroe on screen, my mouth dropped. I think that SOME LIKE IT HOT is one of my most favorite films of all time. I’m just so in awe of her and the funniness of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. They just create such magic together on screen. It’s such a beautifully done film and my grandmother loved it. And I love it, I own it, I watch it still – all the time.