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AFI Dallas: Opening Night in Review


by Stephen Becker 27 Mar 2009

Now that three AFI Dallas opening nights have come and gone, a familiar pattern is starting to emerge: There’s never enough room on the red carpet. That’s partly due to the large number of media members covering the event. But part of the reason is that the crew in charge of AFI publicity knows what […]

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Can you find Adrien Brody? Hint: He's the person everyone is looking at.

Now that three AFI Dallas opening nights have come and gone, a familiar pattern is starting to emerge:

  1. There’s never enough room on the red carpet. That’s partly due to the large number of media members covering the event. But part of the reason is that the crew in charge of AFI publicity knows what it’s doing. Thursday night’s red carpet at NorthPark was stationed right under the escalator that leads up to the movie theater. It ran for maybe 100 feet or so, and every foot was jam-packed with media. But it could’ve run all the way to Neiman Marcus if they wanted it to. The point is: a super packed red carpet looks better than a fire-code friendly one.
    Dallas actress Arianne Martin fields questions on the red carpet.

    Dallas actress Arianne Martin fields questions on the red carpet.

  2. The movie never starts on time. This one I don’t mind so much. It actually sort of builds anticipation for the start of the festival. Thursday night’s feature, The Brothers Bloom, was scheduled for 7:30. But after a couple of dignataries spoke, a highlight reel of Star Award recipient Adrien Brody was shown and Brody accepted his award, my watch said 8:39 by the time the first frame hit the screen. Still, there was palatable excitement in the room – the kind that builds further with a little waiting.
  3. The afterparty is fab. This year’s event was the first at NorthPark, and the courtyard behind the theater proved to be a welcome venue. Drinks flowed freely, appetizers were passed and filmmakers and filmgoers got a chance to meet. And hey, even the stars of the night – Brody and co-star Rinko Kikuchi – had to wait in line at the bar like the rest of us.

While we’re discussing all things Adrien Brody, a quick recap of his Star Award presentation. AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale introduced the star, calling him, “an artist who rises above it all through his silence.”

Once Brody stepped to the mic to say a few words, he kept it brief. But he opened with a timely thought.

“There’s something extra special about receiving an award during a recession. It almost makes it feel safe to go out and shop.”

Before the movie started, The Brothers Bloom writer and director Rian Johnson spoke briefly about the film, which I thought had the welcome eccentricity of Wes Anderson minus the self-indulgence. As he left the podium, he couldn’t resist throwing a quick zinger toward AFI artistic director Michael Cain.

“I loved your work in Zulu. It never gets old.”

He was referring, of course, to this guy.

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