This week's big local film story is the launch of AFI Fest 2010, which begins tonight with a gala screening of the naked Anne Hathaway movie Love and Other Drugs, and will screen over 60 features over the next seven days, including the local premieres of the latest provocation from Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog's 3-D cave painting movie, and Oscar hopefuls such as Black Swan, The King's Speech, and Rabbit Hole.

You may have heard that tickets to AFI Fest films are free. But how do you get your hands on them? Follow our easy, three-point plan after the jump.

AFI released an initial batch of tickets to their screenings via their website on October 27-28. That tickets were then unavailable on the website has led some to infer that screenings are sold out. On the contrary: ample tickets for most screenings are still available. There are three ways to get your hands on them:

1. Check the website at 10 A.M. the day before the screening.

AFI is releasing what they call “a significant amount tickets” to each screening online, at 10 A.M. the day before the screening. Go to AFI's website, find your desired film, and if tickets are available, you'll see an “Add” button. To exercise this option, you've got to act fast — I checked the website today at noon, and all of the available tickets for tomorrow's shows had already been snatched up. If you see “Check Back” instead of “Add,” you're too late. In which case, you can…

2. Come to the AFI box office at 10 A.M. the same day as screening

Let's say you want to see the insane killer tire flick Rubber (and, trust me–you want to see the insane killer tire epic Rubber). If you don't have a ticket for tomorrow's 9 p.m. screening, you can swing by the festival box office at Hollywood and Highland, where more tickets will be released at 10 A.M. tomorrow morning. But let's say you, like, have a job, and can't make it there then. In that case, you can…

3. Wait in the Rush line an hour before the screening

AFI's spokespeople have stressed to me that they're holding back a lot of tickets for each screening, and they're encouraging the ticketless to show up and stand in the Rush line an hour before their desired screening's scheduled start time. It's not a total guarantee that you'll get in — the number of tickets held back varies depending on the screening venue and the film — but last year, the Rush line was a pretty reliable option, so this year it's probably worth a shot.

Questions/complaints/thoughts about AFI Fest and/or their free ticketing process? Leave them in the comments.

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