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Pedro Almodóvar to Guest Direct AFI Fest

Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar will be the latest big name filmmaker to guest direct the AFI Fest. Almodóvar’s formal title will be “Guest Artistic Director” for the festival’s 25th anniversary in November. As part of his duties, Almodóvar will curate a series of films that have inspired his work. He’ll also screen his 1986 film Law of Desire.

Almodóvar takes over for David Lynch, who manned the post last year.

Press release after the jump:

LOS ANGELES, CA, August 29, 2011 – American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that internationally acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar will serve as its Guest Artistic Director at AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. AFI FEST — celebrating its 25th year in 2011 — will take place November 3 through 10 in Hollywood, California at the historic Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

As Guest Artistic Director, Almodóvar will present a screening of his 1986 film, LAW OF DESIRE, commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the film and his production company, El Deseo S.A. He will also curate a sidebar program of films that have inspired his work (to be announced in October), and he will be featured in the creative campaign of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Last year’s Guest Artistic Director was David Lynch, an alumnus of the AFI Conservatory, named the #1 film school in the world by The Hollywood Reporter.

“I have an enormous respect for AFI FEST, which has always been very generous with me, so I am very honored to be its Guest Artistic Director this year,” said Almodóvar. “This will give me the chance to present a selection of some of my favorite films along with one of my own, LAW OF DESIRE, on its 25th anniversary. I’m looking forward to being in LA this November with my AFI FEST friends.”

“Pedro Almodóvar is a modern master,” said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO of the American Film Institute. “His genius inspires artists and audiences alike, and it is an honor for the American Film Institute to celebrate him and his singular voice at AFI FEST.”

Almodóvar has a long history with AFI, having showcased many of his award-winning films at the festival, beginning with the 1990 presentation of TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! AFI FEST screened HIGH HEELS in 1996, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER in 1999 (Closing Night), TALK TO HER in 2002 (Closing Night), VOLVER in 2006 (Tribute to Penélope Cruz), THE HEADLESS WOMAN in 2008 and BROKEN EMBRACES in 2009. AFI FEST 2004 honored Almodóvar with a Tribute and Retrospective that included a Gala screening of his film, BAD EDUCATION.

“There is a long legacy of international cinema at AFI FEST,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, Festival Director of AFI FEST. “We’ve shown many of Pedro Almodóvar’s films and we’ve seen the extraordinary influence that his work has had on other filmmakers over the years. Almodóvar’s work embodies the cross-pollination of cinematic influences that fuel contemporary world cinema.”

The creative campaign for AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi celebrates the 25th edition of the festival and Pedro Almodóvar’s participation as Guest Artistic Director. To download the poster image, go to AFI.com/AFIFEST/releases.aspx. Additional photos are available on Flickr.

In addition to Audi as presenting sponsor, this year’s major sponsors include AT&T, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Levi’s, Stella Artois and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

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