Hollywood Film Festival Gets a Socially Conscious Makeover

"My Name Is Water"

The event will feature films bearing the names of Sharon Stone, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson

Socially conscious films bearing the names of Sharon Stone, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson will take center stage at the 18th annual Hollywood Film Festival, which will run Oct. 16-19 at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. Jon Fitzgerald, whose advocacy organization CineCause acquired the festival from its founder Carlos de Abreu earlier this year, is planning to remake the festival by focusing on social activism.

The film lineup includes the world premiere of the documentary My Name Is Water, about a college student's search for answers, written and directed by Justin Arana and produced by Stone; Sold, a drama about sex trafficking starring Gillian Anderson and David Arquette, written and directed by Jeffrey D. Brown and exec produced by Thompson; and Love Thy Nature, a doc about the natural world from director Sylvie Rokab, narrated by Neeson.

The four-day festival will include the CineCause Summit, which will present a series of films, presentations and tech demonstrations with the aim of using “the power of film and technology to create change,” according to the fest’s announcement. The festival will also feature what it calls its Network Program to bring industry professionals together with participating filmmakers.

Fitzgerald, a veteran festival director who co-founded the Slamdance Film Festival in 1995, took over as executive director of the Hollywood Film Festival last year, introducing two new sections — the CineCause Spotlight for cause-related films and Celebrate Hollywood, which highlights films either shot in Los Angeles or referencing show business.

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