‘Hitchcock’ World Premiere to Open AFI Fest

Sacha Gervasi film "Hitchcock," with Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson, will world premiere on Nov. 1 to open festival

 "Hitchcock," the Sacha Gervasi film starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitcock and Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma Reville, will have its world premiere on the opening night of the 2012 AFI Fest, the American Film Institute announced on Thursday.

HitchcockThe film, which was recently scheduled for a November release by Fox Searchlight, will premiere at AFI Fest on Thursday, Nov. 1.

"Hitchcock" focuses on the making of the 1960 film "Psycho," and also features Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins.

Also read: 'Hitchcock' to Open in Nov. 2012, in Heart of Awards Race

“This film pulls back the curtain and takes us behind-the-scenes of his lifelong collaboration with his wife Alma during the making of his 1960 masterpiece 'Psycho,'" said  AFI Fest director Jacqueline Lyanga in a release announcing the selection. "It’s the perfect film to welcome our audience of movie-lovers with on opening night.”

AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale called the film "a bloody valentine to [Hitchcock's] creative genius and the inspired woman at his side."

Hitchcock conducted a master seminar at the AFI in 1970, and received the organization's Life Achievement Award in 1979. Four of his films, including "Psycho," appear on the AFI's list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. ("Vertigo," "Rear Window" and "North by Northwest" are the others.)

The film marks a change of pace for co-writer and director Gervasi, whose last film was the music documentary "Anvil! The Story of Anvil." Although he wrote the films "The Big Tease" and "The Terminal," "Hitchcock" marks his narrative directorial debut.

The recent decision by Fox Searchlight to give it a Nov. release in the heart of awards season was seen as a sign that the studio expects "Hitchcock" to be a factor in this year's Oscar race.

The AFI Fest 2012, which is sponsored by Audi, will kick off on Nov. 1 with the "Hitchcock" gala and will run through Nov. 8, when it will close with the premiere of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."

Tickets are free to the public, though only paid patron passholders will receive reserved tickets to high-profile events like the "Hitchcock" premiere. Tickets will be made available to AFI members on Oct. 24, and to the general public on Oct. 25.