Clint Eastwood's Film 'J. Edgar' Opens AFI FEST 2011

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The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that the highly anticipated film, "J. Edgar," will have its world premiere as the Opening Night Gala film for the AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi on November 3. Directed by Clint Eastwood, an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and four-time Academy Award winner (as director and producer for "Million Dollar Baby" and "Unforgiven"), "J. Edgar" stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer, and Judi Dench. The film is from an original screenplay written by another Oscar winner, Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"). With this type of talent attached, it's no wonder that "J. Edgar" is already receiving strong advance buzz.

"J. Edgar" explores the public and private life of J. Edgar Hoover who was the founding director of the FBI and the face of law enforcement for almost fifty years. Hoover was also controversial. He played a large part in the founding of the FBI in 1935 and was its director until his death in 1972. Although there were great strides made in law enforcement through the FBI, in later years Hoover was criticized for abusing the agency's powers and harassing political activists, creating secret files and using illegal methods in evidence collecting. He also is said to have led a secret life that would have destroyed his career and public image.

Celebrating its 25th year, the AFI FEST runs from November 3-10 in Hollywood. Festival screenings and events will take place at the famed Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Patron Packages for the festival are on sale now, with individual tickets to screenings and galas becoming available October 26 (for AFI members) and October 27 for the public. For the third year, AFI FEST will also offer a select number of free tickets to all screenings.

AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi is already shaping up to be an exciting festival to kick off the Awards Season. Last week Pedro Almodovar ("The Skin I Live In," "Law of Desire") was announced as Guest Artistic Director. And now the excitement continues with the world premiere of Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" starring Leonard DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench. As we continue into autumn, AFI FEST promises more announcements of film screenings and events. Check out their website at AFI.com/AFIFEST for details.

For other reviews and interviews by Lori Huck, check out:

Pedro Almodovar Announced as Guest Artistic Director of AFI FEST 2011

'Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life' Film Review: A Wildly Creative Tribute

Interview: Vera Farmiga Discusses Faith, Directing, and 'Higher Ground'

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