Year after year, cinephiles in Los Angeles eagerly await the announcement of AFI Fest’s list of award-winning titles, which encompasses the best of international cinema and presents it on a silver platter for audiences to enjoy for free. For its 2018 edition, the program’s impeccable selection is an astounding collection of West Coast premieres, star-studded affairs, and foreign language Oscar contenders. 

AFI Fest 2018 (November 8-15) is bringing together works by masters of world cinema like Hirokazu Kore-eda, Carlos Reygadas, and Nuri Bilge Ceylan; and juxtaposing them with emerging talents, both homegrown and global, for an event that truly opens its doors for anyone that can get to the heart of Hollywood to enjoy great moviemaking.  

In addition to dozens of features and shorts blocks, the inclusive event will also give viewers the opportunity to hear the artists discuss their work during exciting conversations such as The Language of Cinema: International Directors, the Doc Roundtable, or Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Oppression. Like all the screening, these panels are also open to the public. 

To guide you as you decide what to watch during the eight-day festival, MovieMaker has put together a list of 10 unmissable features. Not a definitive list by any means (plenty of other great choices), but an introduction to some of the most under-the-radar, yet most rewarding offers.  


Anchored by first-time actor Zain Al Rafeea, a teenage Syrian refugee turned star, the third feature by Lebanese director Nadie Labaki is a thought-provoking and heartbreaking look at children living in extreme poverty. Under Labaki’s direction, Al Rafeea stuns for the raw truthfulness he brings to the role of a boy who winds up taking care of an African immigrant’s baby, after escaping from his cruel and ill-equipped parents. Capernaum questions the collective responsibility of a society that allows for someone so young to suffer so much. 

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