AFI FEST 2011: Kate’s 10 Most Anticipated Films

By  · Published on October 27th, 2011

Earlier this morning, my partner in LA film festival crime, the lovely Ms. Allison Loring, posted her list of Most Anticipated Films from this year’s upcoming AFI FEST presented by Audi. Of course, many of our choices overlap (Shame, Butter, Rampart), but we part ways when it comes to some of the smaller films at the festival. For all the big, Oscar bait flicks (J. Edgar) or the wang- and soul-baring Fass-outings (Shame again, always Shame), there are a few films that I’ve been positively rabid to see (Alps, Michael) that might not yet have the cache value and audience awareness of those other films.

From the festival’s incredible list of 110 films, I’ve narrowed down my list to ten films that are my bonafide Most Anticipated Films of the festival. Like any list, I am sure that some of you perusing it will be displeased, weighing in on titles I’m a fool to miss. But hold your wrath for a few days, because many of the best titles of the fest are ones I’ve already seen, and those films might just crop up in an unexpected place (like, oh, another list).

AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE.

After the break, check out my list of my top ten most anticipated films of this year’s AFI FEST. Which ones are on your top ten?

Le Cercle Rouge

Guest Artistic Director Pedro Almodovar has put together his own program of five essential horror films and thrillers. While some of you may have jumped at Eyes Without a Face first, but the chance to see Jean-Pierre Melville’s stylish and cerebral heist flick got me going like a runaway train.

Carre Blanc

Wait, wait, a Soylent Green-reminiscent French film that comes highly recommended by my very own mentor, James Rocchi? Sold. So sold. Package me up in a cute paper wrapper and ship me to the theater now.


There’s nothing quite like getting inside the head of a sick, twisted, and perverted character by way of film. Markus Schleinzer’s Austrian film has been quietly making its way around the festival circuit since Cannes, with some people deriding it as “Haneke lite,” while others use that very same terminology to praise it. Schleinzer actually served as Haneke’s casting director, so all of that may not be very off.


Oren Moverman’s The Messenger was a finely tuned drama that starred Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster. Rampart is…maybe a finely tuned drama that stars Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster? Set in the world of (possibly) corrupt cops, with a story by James Ellroy. So, yeah, required viewing.

Kill List

Yes, okay, yes, I’ve missed Kill List as its played its way through the festival circuit. Ben Wheatley’s latest apparently involves hammers and blood and a former hit man. And I say “apparently,” because while my ears have been open to all the praise that’s been heaped on it, most of that praise also recommends going into it somewhat cold, which is what I plan to do until I start freaking out and crying and hiding my face in my hoodie. Not…um, not that I do that. At all.


A favorite from this year’s Fantastic Fest, Bullhead focuses on a man and his meat. No, actual meat, he’s a cattleman. But there’s much more underneath this simmering stew of a Dutch drama, making it a can’t-miss.


The latest from Dogtooth director Giorgos Lanthimos, Alps could have been called Happy Super Fun Totally Not Layered With Any Sort of Other Meanings and Also Really Digestible to the Entire Moviegoing Public and I would be completely on board. Dogtooth is one of my favorite films from the past few years, a dark as night black comedy about the modern world and the lies people tell us, and Alps looks to only continue that tradition, but hopefully with less violence towards cats.


I mean, come on. Michael Fassbender, Steve McQueen, Carey Mulligan, sex addiction, what do you people want from me?

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

The Duplass brothers’ last foray into using big name comedic talent (Cyrus with Jonah Hill) ended up with some unexpectedly vibrant, fun, and hauntingly sad outings. This next film sees Jason Segel in the titular role, a schlub who doesn’t do much, but is forced to step up to the plate and make an actual trip out of the house. With a supporting cast that include Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, and Katie Aselton, the brothers Dup look to be making their next big step forward.


Butter kept me up at night. The film was announced seemingly years ago (fine, it was months), but little news leaked out about it until it popped up at this year’s TIFF. A political satire set in the world butter-carving (no, really), word has been positive, and now I can sleep somewhat better.