L.E.S. Film Festival: Lizzie Velasquez Doc, Eliza Dushku Rom-Com Among Highlights

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Lizzie Velasquez

The downtown New York festival, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, unveiled its full lineup Wednesday, with tickets going on sale the same day.

The Lower East Side Film Festival announced its full lineup Wednesday, including its closing night film, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, which won the documentary spotlight audience award at SXSW.

That film follows Lizzie Velasquez — born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, bullied as a child for looking different, and later labeled "The World's Ugliest Woman" — as she becomes an anti-bullying activist. A Brave Heart, directed by Sara Hirsh Bordo, will make its New York premiere on Sunday, June 21.

The rest of this year's slate of more than 25 movies, highlighting the best in low-budget filmmaking, includes 10 more New York premieres, four world premieres, two North American premieres and three U.S. premieres.

Eliza Dushku stars in another movie making its New York premiere at the festival, Jane Wants a Boyfriend, a romantic-comedy about a young woman on the autism spectrum who turns to her older sister to help her find her first boyfriend. Louisa Krause, Gabriel Ebert and Amir Arison co-star in the William C. Sullivan-directed film.

Other feature-length films screening on New York's Lower East Side include Travis Gutierrez Senger's debut feature Desert Cathedral, starring Lee Tergesen (Oz, Generation Kill, Monster) and Chaske Spencer (The Twilight Saga); Isabel Castro's transgender immigration documentary Crossing Over: Stories of Immigration and Identity; the world premiere of the live-action-animation hybrid Pop Meets the Void, about a daydreaming musician, starring Nick Bixby (Welcome to Nowhere) and Joel Marsh Garland (Orange is the New Black); and the New York premiere of Party Time Party Time, an absurd ensemble comedy directed by Marty Schousboe and Morgan Lord, about a sad man whose wife asked him to move out and who's being dragged to a party to recapture the optimism of his youth.

As previously reported, the festival will open with the New York premiere of Life in Color, directed by Katharine Emmer and starring Josh McDermitt (The Walking Dead), Adam Lustick (The Office) and Fortune Feimster (Chelsea Lately, Last Comic Standing).

The festival will also screen 23 short films, including Truckin' starring Monica Potter and Pamela Adlon and music videos from Little Boots and Jamie XX. There will also be a panel with the Writers Guild of America East and New York Women in Film and Television titled, "Women Writers Redefining The Landscape of Television." The festival will have Ladies Night, featuring films by and about women; Gay Night: Pool Party & Dive-in movie (sponsored by Out Magazine and Patron); Mind F— Night; and the first Lasagna Night/Filmmaker Reception

Judges for this year's festival include Laverne Cox, Parker Posey, Rachael Horovitz, Michael Trim, Mike Love and Jacob Blackstock.

The Lower East Side Film Festival runs from June 11-21 at various downtown venues. For more information, and to purchase tickets, check out the festival's website.

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