AFI Fest head on pic prowl at Cannes

Fitzgerald looking for films to showcase in L.A.

CANNES — The American Film Institute Los Angeles Intl. Film Festival will unspool from Oct. 22 to 31. Scouting for potential films for the upcoming event at Cannes, fest director John Fitzgerald ranked Cannes as a must stop in prepping for the L.A. film showcase.

“Last year I managed to line up a couple of films including ‘Character’ from the Critics Week,” Fitzgerald said. “Basically, I hope to find a handful of movies out of Cannes. But it’s also important because of the contacts you establish. We’re talking to the European Union about setting up a showcase that we could have going for October.”

Advisory panel named

Fitzgerald also announced the formation of an advisory committee that includes former Palme d’Or winner Steven Soderbergh, actress Julianne Moore, Filmmaker magazine publisher Karol Matesko, Film Finders’ Sydney Levine, specialized exhib Greg Laemmle and reps from the acquisition and agency sectors.

He said that it will serve as both a sounding board and scouting group for fest sections.

Fitzgerald, a co-founder of Slamdance, took the reins of the AFI Fest last year, instituting competitive sections for world cinema and American indies.

He also propped up its profile with special events and allied media programs that resulted in boosting attendance by 30%. Roughly 100 features are screened during the weeklong event.