Even if you've read that AFI FEST presented by Audi is the totally free film festival where free tickets are totally free, you can still find yourself double-checking and online-searching and asking friends and asking again at the box office, just to make sure.
It can't be true, can it?
Because the idea that you might plunk down in the TCL Chinese Theatre, or The Egyptian, as in-person stars from the film wave from in front of the screen, the film you're about to see for free, doesn't quite compute. So we must call this stellar cinematic party a vibrant study in opposites: You get to play at being oh-so-Hollywood for a night, possibly while attending a U.S. or world premiere, and you don't have to pay a nickel to do so.
The only effort you must expend, beyond getting to Tinseltown from Thursday, Nov. 5 through Thursday, Nov. 12, is procuring your free ticket, which can be done starting on Monday, Oct. 26.
Let's chant in a full-throated fashion a few more times, for good measure. Monday. Oct. 26. It's a Monday. The 26th day of October. Monday morning. October 26th.
There's more effort ahead, but entirely pleasurable, as it involves perusing the 127 movies, short and long and fictional and documentary, that generously and thoughtprovokingly fill out the 2015 class picture.
The full lineup of films and happenings was unveiled on Wednesday, Oct. 21. "Concussion" with Will Smith is on the slate, and "Carol" with Cate Blanchett, and "By the Sea," which is directed by and stars Angelina Jolie Pitt (and Brad Pitt, too). "The Lobster," a sci-fi heart-stirrer with Colin Farrell, looks to make ripples, too.
Smaller, shoestring-made flicks also, as always, have found space on the slate. This is the American Film Institute, after all, a nearly-50-year-old organization that has been known for shepherding some unlikely projects and can't-catch-a-break innovators to greatness, or at least the next level.
Audi, by the by, is the reason behind the gratis tickets.
If you can't wait on the free ticket dealie, and you're the kind of film goer who is going to gobble up a few movies every day during the run, a more comprehensive pass is probably for you. They're on sale now, ahead of Free Ticket Day.
Can we just call it that? Make it a Hollywood holiday? AFI Fest Free Ticket Day? Somebody contact the important group that decides which new official holidays we observe, because this one feels very LA.
As LA as the multitude of red carpets and paparazzi flash bulbs and big-name actors and big-name directors that is part and parcel of this autumn party. Awards season is nigh, and we've got a free seat for the kickoff, if we happen to be online at the right time on Oct. 26, which is the 26th day of October.