While Hollywood turned out in force for Thursday’s AFI Fest closing-night gala screening of Fox Searchlight’s “Black Swan,” it’s likely no one was more excited to be there than pic’s director and AFI alum Darren Aronofsky.

Aronofsky bounded to the podium at the Chinese to introduce the film, saying, “This is my favorite theater in the world … and when I went to the AFI, I would always make sure to be here whenever a movie opened. …We’re showing this movie for the first time in L.A., so try to be a good audience.”

He then brought out Vincent Cassel and femme co-stars Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder and Mila Kunis — all wearing black — followed by the pic’s black swan, Natalie Portman, clad in pink.

At the Hotel Roosevelt, Aronofsky continued to tubthump the film and his collaboration with Portman, who wasn’t feeling well and ducked out early. The helmer admitted that he was never much of a ballet aficionado. “But I saw ‘Swan Lake’ and thought it was pretty amazing.”

– — Andrew Stewart