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AFI Fest Announces 2016 Dates, Seeks Submissions

The 30th annual AFI Fest will be held Nov. 10 to 17, promising to again be a launch pad/showcase for awards hopefuls, as well as an assembly of international films for movie lovers.

Starting Tuesday, the fest will accept submissions from filmmakers for documentary, experimental, feature, narrative and short films at AFI.com/AFIFEST or through Withoutabox.com.  The official submission deadline is May 6 and July 15 is the final submission deadline. The fest’s early submission deadline for short films (under 30 minutes) and feature films is April 1. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI Fest as a qualifying festival for live-action and animated short films for the Oscars.

Last year, Paramount’s “The Big Short” had its world premiere at the fest; two years ago, WB’s “American Sniper” and Paramount’s “Selma” bowed. All three films won Oscars.

In addition, the November berth has proven a good showcase for eventual nominees. Last year’s salutes included Charlotte Rampling of “45 Years” (who participated in a Q&A with costar Tom Courtenay) as well as “Carol,” “The Martian,” “Sicario” and “Youth,” as well as three foreign-language entries that wound up with Oscar nominations: Denmark’s “A War,” France’s “Mustang” and Hungary’s “Son of Saul” (which won).

Last year’s event included 77 feature films and 53 shorts, representing 45 countries. It opened with the Angelina Jolie Pitt-directed “By the Sea” and wrapped with “Big Short.”

The film festival is unusual because screenings are free to the public thanks to its sponsor Audi.

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