For his part, De Abreu said it has long been his dream to host a film festival, but didn't decide to pursue it until he contacted the State of California and found that no one had ever obtained the rights to the name "Hollywood Film Festival."
A man of Portuguese descent who was raised in Mozambique and later became a U.S. citizen, De Abreu is married to Janice Pennington, a model who displays prizes on "The Price Is Right." Pennington is a co-founder of the Hollywood Film Festival, which has as its motto, "Bridging the gap between Hollywood, emerging independent filmmakers and storytellers."
De Abreu said the idea for a film festival came to him last November while he was having lunch with director Ted Kotcheff ("Weekend at Bernie's"), who had expressed an interest in two scripts from a screenplay contest organized by De Abreu, the Columbus Screenplay Discovery Awards.
"Ted asked me, 'Anything else we can do together?' " De Abreu recalled. "I said, 'Ted, I have the Screenplay Discovery Awards. What about the Film Discovery Awards?' [Ted] said, 'What do I have to do?' I said, 'You don't have to do anything. Just contact people in Hollywood. I'll do everything else.' "
While the Hollywood Film Festival and AFI festival stress their differences, each will offer an array of programs, panel discussions and awards. The AFI, for example, will hold a tribute to Jessica Lange, while the Hollywood Film Festival will give a lifetime achievement award to Kirk Douglas.
The AFI's Fitzgerald said the competition, if any exists, doesn't bother him.
"I'm not intimidated by them or worried about them," he said, "but I do think there could potentially be some confusion in town."
SNEAK PREVIEWS: A closer look at the movies and special events at both festivals. F10