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seeafilm.jpgFor centuries the Japanese have attempted to capture the majesty of the changing seasons through art and poetry. With Fall upon us, one can’t help but be captivated by the colorful foliage, the melancholy elegance of a single leaf clinging to a threadbare tree, the raging California brushfires, and deeply discounted Halloween accessories. But, to some of us, Fall can only mean one thing- disappointing movie selections.

With the carefree days of Summer now but a sweet memory, movie goers prepare for the long haul through the Autumn line up of slash, sap, and somber until the holidays, when theaters trot out the stable of cutesy family films about celebrities with failing careers cashing in their dignity to “Jingle Bell Rock”. Where do you go when the hard-on inducing ad promotion build-up has reached a head and been spent in an evening of blockbuster nerd euphoria, and all you are left with is shame and a gallon sized soda cup emblazoned with a panda Kung-Fu fighting Christian Bale?

It’s time to hit the AFI Film Festival!

While regular theater chains are showing the same old fare, the festival circuit is in full force showing animated shorts, music documentaries, and movies from all over the world. An added bonus you don’t get with big mainstream films is the fun of getting to watch a movie where the person who made it might be sitting in the seat beside you. That’s right, you’re hob-knobbing just by stuffing your face full of popcorn. Most importantly of all, festivals are great places to go to watch films with people who genuinely enjoy movies. Tickets to most shows are even the same price as a normal flick, so what do you have to lose?

The American Film Institute holds their festival at the plush Arclight Theater in Hollywood every year. For those worried that film festivals are all about moody people in berets watching aggressively experimental art films about sexual awakening and time-lapse scenes of a decaying horse, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. AFI is no back alley film festival. With over 150 movies to choose from it’s sure to have something for you no matter what you’re into. Only some films are about dead horses.

Racket will be covering the festival, which kicks off this Thursday, Oct. 30th, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s new movie Doubt ,and runs until November 9th. See you there!

-Laura Gaddy