Robert Towne's Coming to Town to Get AFI Dallas Award. Also, More Films Added.

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AFI Dallas International Film Festival sends word this morning of further additions to its schedule as the fest prepares for its third year, which gets to commencing March 26. Also included in the release is the recipient of this year's AFI Dallas Star Award: the great Robert Towne, whose credits include Chinatown (for which he won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award in 1975), Shampoo, Tequila Sunrise, Days of Thunder (yes, really) and Bonnie and Clyde (his was an uncredited touch-up). To his awards shelf, Towne can now add a hunk of Steuben crystal, courtesy Neiman Marcus. Chinatown will screen at the AFI, after which Towne will be Q&A'd by Time's Richard Schickel.

Among the films added to the schedule are The Garden, among this year's Best Documentary Feature Oscar nominations, about the battle over a 14-acre community garden in Los Angeles; and James Toback's documentary about Mike Tyson titled, simply, Tyson, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last month. Also added: movies starring Alec Baldwin (who's sucking in the '70s in Long Island) and Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, reunited with the writer of Y tu mamá también. The full release follows.
2009 AFI DALLAS International Film Festival Presented by NorthPark Center, Founding Sponsor Victory Park Announces Robert Towne to Receive AFI DALLAS Star Award Ten Titles in Official Selections

Dallas, TX, February 16, 2009--AFI DALLAS 2009 International Film Festival Presented by NorthPark Center, Founding Sponsor Victory Park announces that Academy Award® winner Robert Towne will be presented with the prestigious AFI DALLAS Star Award in recognition of his career as a filmmaker and screenwriter on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the cinema classic, CHINATOWN.

AFI DALLAS also announces ten films that will screen at this year's festival. Those films include an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature (Scott Hamilton Kennedy's THE GARDEN); and the Jury and Audience winner for Best Documentary at last year's AFI FEST as well as the SILVERDOCS Award (Kief Davidson's KASSIM THE DREAM). Adding to the list of films making their US premiere at AFI DALLAS, will be Topaz Adizes's AMERICANA and Charles Binamé's THE AMERICAN TRAP.

Adizes's AMERICANA is a documentary following the experiences of two young men from a small town in Arizona as they prepare to join the military to fight in Iraq. That preparation involves travel abroad and encounters with people from other countries with varying views on what America means to them, as well as how their close-knit community handles their imminent deployment.

Also making its US premiere will be Binamé's dramatic thriller, THE AMERICAN TRAP. Set in a world of global intrigue and corruption, the film stars Rémy Girard, Gérard Darmon and Colm Feore in a tension-filled story of a man attempting to uncover the truths behind the JFK assassination.

The first selection in the Environmental Visions Competition, UPSTREAM BATTLE was also announced. Ben Kempas's documentary chronicles the battle between Native Americans and an energy corporation as they seek to protect the salmon they depend on for their survival. Their struggle may trigger the largest dam removal project in history. The film will vie for the Current Energy Filmmaker Award and the $10,000 unrestricted cash prize that comes with that award.

The first 2009 AFI DALLAS Star Award honoree announced, Towne will be presented with the Festival's AFI DALLAS Star Awards (the award is designed from Steuben crystal, courtesy of Neiman Marcus) prior to a screening of CHINATOWN, for which he won an Academy Award for his original screenplay in 1974. Towne was also nominated in the same category for SHAMPOO (1975) and for his screenplay adaptations for THE LAST DETAIL (1973) and GREYSTROKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES (1984). The prolific writer's credits include notable titles such as PERSONAL BEST (1982) which he also directed, TEQUILA SUNRISE (1988), DAYS OF THUNDER (1990), THE FIRM (1993), LOVE AFFAIR (1994), MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (1996), WITHOUT LIMITS (also written and directed - 1998), MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II (2000) and ASK THE DUST (2006).

Following the screening of CHINATOWN, Towne will participate in a special Q&A moderated by TIME Magazine's Richard Schickel.

"It is a thrill to honor an accomplished artist like Robert Towne," said Michael Cain, AFI DALLAS Artistic Director. "This is someone that had a hand in creating some of the signature films of the 70s--one of the legendary fertile periods in American film history, not to mention the other major films within his body of work. And to have an opportunity to see a classic like CHINATOWN on the big screen and then have one of the architects of that film discuss it afterward? That's a date you automatically mark on your calendar."

The ten announced selections include:

AMERICANA (USA)
Director: Topaz Adizes
Documentary follows the experiences of two young men from a small town in Arizona as they complete their last semester of high school and enlist in the Army to join the fight in Iraq.

THE AMERICAN TRAP (Canada)
Director: Charles Binamé
Cast: Rémy Girard, Gérard Darmon, Colm Feore, Joe Cobden, Janet Lane
Thriller set in a world of global intrigue and corruption, as a man attempts to uncover the truths behind the JFK assassination.

EVANGELION 1.0 YOU ARE NOT ALONE (Japan)
Director: Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki
Film is the first in a four-part series adapted and re-imagined from the legendary NEON GENESIS EVANGELION anime series.

THE GARDEN (USA)
Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Documentary traces the events that led to the creation of a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles and the struggle between the urban farmers, the City of Los Angeles and a powerful developer who sought to evict them and build warehouses on the property.

KASSIM THE DREAM (Uganda/USA)
Director: Kief Davidson
Documentary profiles Kassim 'The Dream' Ouma, who survived being a child soldier in Uganda to becoming a champion boxer.

LIKE DANDELION DUST (USA)
Director: Jon Gunn Cast: Mira Sorvino, Barry Pepper, Cole Hauser
Drama pits a couple versus a parolee father who seeks to take custody of their six-year-old adopted son.

LYMELIFE (USA) Director: Derick Martini
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Kieran Culkin, Rory Culkin, Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts
Drama set in Long Island during the late 1970s, follows the intertwining lives of two families focusing on the teenaged children and their attempts to cope with the times.

RUDO Y CURSI (Mexico)
Director: Carlos Cuarón
Cast: Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal
Drama about the turmoil between two brothers who compete against each other in the world of professional soccer.

TYSON (USA)
Director: James Toback
Documentary takes an unvarnished view of the controversial former heavyweight champion boxer.

UPSTREAM BATTLE (USA)
Director: Ben Kempas
Documentary chronicles the battle between Native Americans and an energy corporation as they seek to protect the salmon they depend on for their survival.


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