6 Must See Films of AFI FEST 2012

By  · Published on October 24th, 2012

As 2012 begins to wind down, your trusty LA Rejects, Kate Erbland and myself, plan to take on one final film festival – Los Angeles’ AFI FEST. AFI FEST differs from June’s Los Angeles Film Festival as the cooler temperatures (cool, not cold, I know it’s LA) of November seem to bring out slightly heavier fare. Plus, AFI FEST is located in the heart of Hollywood with many screenings taking place at the historic Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian Theaters, giving further weight and importance to the selections shown during the festival.

This year, AFI FEST brings us some of the year’s most talked-about films while also getting in a few last world premieres. The festival boasts an impressive list of titles on its roster, but we have rounded up the six must-see films that should be on the radar (and schedules) of all festival attendees. And for those who cannot attend, make note to track these films down when they come to you. AFI FEST runs from November 1st until November 8th.


A movie about making movies may seem a bit meta, but in the hands of Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) and Helen Mirren (Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville), it is bound to be a masterpiece in its own right. Hitchcock takes us behind of the scenes of bringing the director’s Psycho to the screen and it seems the story behind the film was just as compelling and wrought with suspense as the thriller itself.

Silver Linings Playbook

Director David O. Russell had his last film, The Fighter, premiere as the surprise screening at AFI FEST 2010 to a packed house (with yours truly in attendance!) and left festival goers anxiously waiting his next project. We finally get it with his latest, Silver Linings Playbook where Bradley Cooper seems to secure his leading man status playing a man whose life seems to be falling apart and is only further complicated (or improved?) when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Equal parts funny and touching, Silver Linings Playbook looks to leave audiences laughing as much as fighting off lumps in their throats – a perfect transition from summer’s lighter stories to fall’s more intense plotlines.


One of the main subjects of art – whether expressed through film, music, painting or dance – is love. That universal feeling we all strive for and can relate to. Rather than show us this feeling through the excitement of young lovers or a couple struggling to make their marriage last, director Michael Haneke gives us the story of a retired couple working against forces they cannot control to keep their love alive (literally). A new view on relationships, Amour promises to leave audiences with a new perspective on (and appreciation for) that feeling that ties us all together.

Holy Motors

According to AFI FEST’s Associate Director of Programming, Lane Kneedler, Holy Motors embraces almost all film genres as the film’s lead, Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant), travels to complete different assignments which has him morph into various roles throughout the narrative. While it appears Holy Motors and its characters give audiences no easy answers, the questions the film brings to light through its many situations sound like they are well worth the ride.

All the Light in the Sky

Best known for her role on HBO’s Hung, Jane Adams returns to the big screen in Joe Swanberg’s latest film, All the Light in the Sky. Swanberg is known for working with people he has collaborated with before, but he always brings them back for very different projects. Here he selects former cartoonist Kent Osborne (who played the slight goofy lead in Swanberg’s film Uncle Kent) and horror director Ti West (who Swanberg worked with on the horror compilation film V/H/S) to round out his latest production, a character piece about an actress struggling with the end of her career, along with her inability to sleep.


From the moment the first photo of Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln was released, the anticipation for what is bound to be an undeniably memorable moment in cinema was born. Lincoln looks to be Day-Lewis’ most transformative performance since There Will Be Blood and he is joined by an impressive cast that includes John Hawkes, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Sally Field (as Mrs. Lincoln, no less) all helmed by director Steven Spielberg. Any film fan can tell you, this film is the definition of a must-see.

For more AFI FEST 2012 coverage, keep it locked right here at Film School Rejects.

What are you seeing at this year’s AFI FEST? Let us know in the comments below.