Elvis Mitchell Named Film Independent Curator

1:48 PM PST 07/10/2014 by Gregg Kilday
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Elvis Mitchell

In his expanded role, Mitchell will oversee the organization's year-round programming, including the Los Angeles Film Festival, where he will take over for David Ansen, who is stepping down as artistic director.

Elvis Mitchell, who has been programming Film Independent's screenings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has been named to a new year-round position as Film Independent Curator. In that role, he also will be responsible for programming the Los Angeles Film Festival as well as Film Independent's other programming initiatives.

In taking over programming for LAFF, Mitchell will succeed David Ansen, who is stepping down after five years as artistic director of the festival.

"I am thrilled to announce Elvis Mitchell as our new Film Independent curator," Film Independent president Josh Welsh said. "For the last three years, Elvis has done a phenomenal job programming the Film Independent series at LACMA, and we're excited that he will now oversee the festival's programming as well. I would also like to acknowledge the enormous contribution of David Ansen who, as the festival's artistic director for the past five years, brought so many incredible films and filmmakers to Los Angeles — new films by such filmmakers as Pedro Almodovar, Nicholas Winding Refn, Richard Linklater, Costa-Gavras, Woody Allen, Lisa Cholodenko and Bong Joon-Ho, to name but a few. He leaves an indelible mark on this festival, and a legacy of excellent programming that we will work to uphold."

"I'm grateful to David for bringing his critical eye and international taste," LAFF director Stephanie Allain commented. "Unifying the festival and our year-round programming under Elvis' remarkable vision will facilitate Film Independent's mission to support a community of diverse, innovative and unique-minded artists. I can't wait to deepen our collaboration and am excited about the future of the festival."

Ansen, who served as Newsweek's movie critic from 1977 to 2010 before becoming artistic director at LAFF, said, "These five years as artistic director of the Los Angeles Film Festival have given me great joy, and I'm very proud of the way the festival has grown since our move downtown. Working alongside my sterling programming team, led by the incomparable Doug Jones and Maggie Mackay, and getting the chance to bring so many terrific movies and filmmakers to the Los Angeles audience has made this a dream job. Now it's time to turn over the reins to make way for a new vision of the festival's future, and I look forward to getting back to writing and pursuing new prospects."

"I've been cheered by the reaction to what I've done with Film Independent at LACMA and the organizational support I've received in pursuing it," Mitchell said. "I'm honored to be asked by Stephanie Allain — whom I've long admired — to add to the scope of my programming purview at Film Independent. I salute David Ansen for his work with the festival and look forward to continuing to follow his example. "

Mitchell, who has overseen the Film Independent program at LACMA for the past three years, also hosts The Treatment at KCRW, served as the film critic at The New York Times from January, 2000 to May, 2005, and previously has written as a film critic at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Detroit Free Press.

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