As we draw ever closer to Hollywood’s own AFI FEST, the film festival’s little elves are hard at work issuing tantalizing press releases that clue us into some of the treats that await fest-goers this November. On the heels of announcing the festival’s Closing Night Film, Lincoln, last week, the fest has now announced which film will open the festivities, and it’s one hell of an appropriate pick.

The world premiere of Sacha Gervasi‘s Anthony Hopkins-starring Hitchcock will open the festival on Thursday, November 1. The film centers on the making of Psycho and draws from Stephen Rebello‘s book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho” with a script by John J. McLaughlin. It also stars Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Star-studded? You bet. Awards season fodder? You are two for two. Hitchcock himself was the recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1979, and four of his movies rank on AFI’s “100 Years…100 Movies” list: Vertigo (#9), Psycho (#14), Rear Window (#48), and North by Northwest (#55).

Hitchcock will open in limited release on November 23.

Past AFI FEST Opening Night films have included J. Edgar, Love & Other Drugs, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Just last year, the festival also included screenings of Shame, The Artist, Melancholia, and Haywire. It really does just get better and better with each passing year.

AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi will take place November 1st through November 8th in Hollywood, California, with events and screenings taking place at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre, and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. As ever, the intrepid Ms. Allison Loring and myself will again be on the ground at the festival, all the better to cover one of our favorite hometown festivals. Catch up on last year RIGHT HERE.

AFI FEST, quite notably, features free ticketing for all attendees. While paid packages are available now (and often provide the best tickets), free tickets for all films (including Hitchcock, though those nifty packages provide snazzy reserved seating for buyers) will be made available on October 25th. [Press Release]

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