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AFI closes with solid 20% public attendance growth

Standing ovations for international cinema masters like Pedro Almodóvar, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Terry George at AFI FEST 2004, which concluded Sunday at ArcLight Hollywood's Cinerama Dome with the US Premiere of New Line Cinema's SEA INSIDE. Written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar, the film stars Javier Bardem. Both filmmaker and star were in attendance.
Although attendance figures are still being tabulated, festival organizers have seen a 20% increase in Box Office receipts over the previous year, and the number of attending filmmakers – representing 40 countries – has also doubled since the 2003 edition. The increase in audiences and attending filmmakers has been attributed to the consistently strong programming featuring
dozens of US and World Premieres, the conveniently centralized "AFI FEST Village" location at ArcLight Hollywood, and critical industry alliances like the Kodak CONNECT program, the launch of European Film Promotion's "New Faces in European Cinema" program and the recently announced alliance with the American Film Market (AFM).
Director of Programming Nancy Collet said, "Over the last 10 days, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from filmmakers, audiences, sponsors and press. AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi has been extremely successful on every level.”
Added Festival Director Christian Gaines, “It’s a thrill to provide a world-class global film event for the people of Los Angeles, and to make a significant impact on the international film community.”
The 10 days of screenings included a number of sold-out films, including Ivo Trajkov’s THE GREAT WATER, Luis Mandoki’s INNOCENT VOICES, Asia Argento’s THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, Dick Rude’s LET’S ROCK AGAIN!, Terry George’s HOTEL RWANDA, Wash Westmoreland’s GAY REPUBLICANS, Robin Scovill’s THE OTHER SIDE OF AIDS, Prachya Pinkaew’s ONG BAK: THAI WARRIOR, Jonathan Kakubowicz’s SECUESTRO EXPRESS, Rafal Zielinski’s DOWNTOWN: A STREET TALE, Gurinder Chadha’s BRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Niels Mueller’s THE ASSASINATION OF RICHARD NIXON, Pete Travis’ OMAGH, Quentin Lee’s ETHAN MAO, Christophe Barratier’s LES CHORISTES, Pedro Almodóvar’s BAD EDUCATION, and the TRIBUTE TO PEDRO ALMODÓVAR. Additionally, this year’s four SHORTS PROGRAMS were extremely well-attended, many with sell-out crowds.

AFI FEST 2004 kicked off with the US Premiere of BEYOND THE SEA, directed by and starring Kevin Spacey, and showcased more than 136 films from 42 countries. In addition to opening and closing night, this year’s festival included red carpet gala presentations of HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, directed by Zhang Yimou, BAD EDUCATION, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, directed by Michael Radford, and A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. AFI FEST 2004 also featured a Tribute to internationally acclaimed director Pedro Almodóvar.

Luminaries from around the globe attended AFI FEST 2004, including, Mark Addy, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Sharif Atkins, Kevin Bacon, Eric Balfour, Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal, Thora Birch, Orlando Bloom, Kate Bosworth, Benjamin Bratt, Red Buttons, Gurinder Chadha, Don Cheadle, Lynn Collins, Kevin Costner, Penolope Cruz, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Willem Dafoe, Tim Daly, Dodd Darren, Rosario Dawson, Michael Des Barres, Stephen Dorff, Flea, Joseph Fiennes, Jodie Foster, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Goodman, Joshua Jackson, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Scarlett Johansson, Udo Kier, David Lynch, Oliver Martinez, Emily Mortimer, Brittany Murphy, Edward James Olmos, Hailey Joel Osment, Ron Pearlman, Pink, Michael Radford, Robert Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Spacey, Harry Dean Stanton, Paprika Steen, Patrick Swazye, Audrey Tautou, Marissa Tomei, Gaspard Ulliel, Deborah Kara Unger, James Van Der Beek, Leslie Anne Warren, Ziyi Zhan, and many more.


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