Los Angeles Film Festival Unveils Lineup

'It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong'

The fest, which runs from June 10-18, has scheduled 74 feature films.

The Los Angeles Film Festival, which runs from June 10-18 in downtown Los Angeles, announced a lineup Tuesday of 74 feature films, 60 short films, and more than 50 new media works representing 35 countries.

Opening with Paul Weitz Grandma, starring Lily Tomlin, the festival will offer up such films as Ondi Timoner’s Brand: A Second Coming, the documentary about Russell Brand that bowed at South by Southwest; Marielle Heller’s Diary of a Teenage Girl, which played Sundance; and new films like Zoe Cassavetes drama about a 40-something actress, Day Out of Days; and Emily Ting’s romantic comedy It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong.

"This is a big year, our 21st, so I like to think of it as our coming of age," commented Stephanie Allain, Los Angeles Film Festival director. "We have a new team and have revamped the entire programming staff and process with one thing in mind — to embody the mission of Film Independent to celebrate artists who are diverse, innovative and have unique points of view. We also want to celebrate the fact that we're in Los Angeles, which is why we created the LA Muse section last year. And this year, we've also focused on world premieres and first-time directors."

Of the 74 features, she observed nearly half are directed by women and half by people of color, and exactly half of the 60 shorts are directed by women and by people of color. 

Added Roya Rasteger, associate director of programming, "Our programming process was based more on a democratic consensus, with our programmers all weighing in about what they ultimately thought should be in the festival. We had more programmers looking at things, so we have a more diverse slate. We really wanted to reframe the question of diversity around innovation and distinct voices."

The fest's main categories have been redefined, and a couple of new sidebars added. Where in the past, the festival offered jury awards for narrative and documentary filmmaking in both, this year it will hold a U.S. fiction competition, a world fiction competition and one documentary competition combining films from the U.S. and around the world. "With so many coproductions, it's almost impossible to separate American from international films," Rasteger explained, citing as one example The Babuskas of Chernobyl, directed by U.S. filmmakers Holly Morris and Anne Bogart but shot in the Ukraine.

In the case of the world films selected, she said, "We wanted the world films to pop. All the films are unexpected in some ways, not what you would expect from a country. For example, we have a film from Columbia but it has nothing to do with drugs."

The fest will also hand out new prizes in the Nightfall section, which is devoted to genre films, and the Zeitgeist sidebar, which looks at trends in American indie filmmaking. "What's exciting about the Nightfall competition is that a lot of these films might play genre festivals, but here they are called out with the possibility of winning a prize. And, keep in mind, that we're not programming to play films in empty houses. We're programming to play films for audiences," Jennifer Cochis, senior programmer said. In the case of the Zeitgeist films, she offered, "We kept seeing again and again these hard-knock coming-of-age stories" and so the sidebar exemplifies that theme." 

Also new to the festival this year is a section called Launch, organized by programmer Drea Clark, which is designed to showcase innovations in independent storytelling in such digital media as music videos, web series, podcasts, interactive games and digital activism shorts. 

Gala Screenings will be devoted to the first episode of the MTV series Scream as well as the features Seoul Searching, directed by Benson Lee, and The Final Girl, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Pre-festival screenings will be held of Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope on June 8 and Pete Docter’s Inside Out on June 9. This year’s guest director is Rodrigo García, Gale Anne Hurd will receive the Jaeger-Lecoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award and Tomlin will receive the Spirit of Independence Award.

The complete lineup follows:

US Fiction Competition (10)

3rdStreet Blackout,dir. Negin Farsad, Jeremy Redleaf, USA, World Premiere

A Country Called Home, dir. Anna Axster, USA, World Premiere

Bastards Y Diablos, dir. A.D. Freese, USA/Colombia, World Premiere

The Girl in the Book, dir. Marya Cohn, USA, World Premiere

How He Fell in Love, dir. Marc Meyers, USA, World Premiere

 It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, dir. Emily Ting, USA, World Premiere

Mekko, dir. Sterlin Harjo, USA, World Premiere

Out of My Hand, dir. Takeshi Fukunaga, USA/Liberia, N. American Premiere

Puerto Ricans in Paris, dir. Ian Edelman, USA/France/Czech Republic, World Premiere

Too Late, dir. Dennis Hauck, USA, World Premiere


Documentary Competition (12) 

A New High, dir. Samuel Miron, Stephen Scarpulla, USA, World Premiere

The Babuskhas of Chernobyl,dir. Holly Morris, Anne Bogart, USA/Ukraine, World Premiere

Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story), dir. Lilibet Foster, USA/Australia, World Premiere

Catching the Sun, dir. Shalini Kantayya, USA, World Premiere

In a Perfect World, dir. Daphne McWilliams, USA, World Premiere

Incorruptible, dir. Chai Vasarhelyi, Senegal/USA, International Premiere

Love Between the Covers, dir. Laurie Kahn, USA, U.S. Premiere

Maiko: Dancing Child, dir. Åse Svenheim Drivenes, Japan/Norway, World Premiere

Missing People, dir. David Shapiro, USA, U.S. Premiere

My Love, Don’t Cross That River, dir. Mo-Young Jin, South Korea, U.S. Premiere

Oriented, dir. Jake Witzenfeld, UK/Palestine/Israel, International Premiere

Treasure; From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story, dir. dream hampton, USA, World Premiere


World Fiction Competition (8)

Atomic Heart, dir. Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran, North American Premiere

Ayanda and the Mechanic, dir. Sara Blecher, South Africa, World Premiere

Elvira, Te Daria Mi Vida Pero La Estoy Usando (Elvira, I’d Give You My Life But I’m Using It), dir. Manolo Caro, Mexico, International Premiere

Flocking (Flocken), dir. Baeta Gardeler, Sweden, North American Premiere

Las Malas Lenguas (Sweet and Vicious), dir. Juan Paolo Arias, Colombia, World Premiere

A Midsummer’s Fantasia, dir. Jang Kun-Jae, South Korea/Japan, U.S. Premiere

Sin Alas (Without Wings), dir. Ben Chace, Cuba, International Premiere

White Moss (Belyy Yagel), dir. Vladimir Tumaev, Russian Federation, International Premiere


Launch (50+)

Making Cool Sh*t: The Music Videos of OK Go

Episodes: Indie Series from the Web

Movies For Your Ears: Making Picture-less Films

Interactive Storytelling: IndieCade Gaming Favorites


JASH Presents: An Evening of Buh Comedy

Funny or Die’s Make ‘em LAFF Showcase


Buzz (13)

Brand: A Second Coming, dir. Ondi Timoner, UK/USA

Chuck Norris vs Communism, dir. Illinca Calugareanu, UK/Romania/Germany

The Dark Horse, dir.James Napier Robertson,New Zealand

Diary of a Teenage Girl, dir. Marielle Heller, USA

In Football We Trust, dir. Tony Vainuku, co-dir. Erika Cohn, USA

Infinitely Polar Bear, dir. Maya Forbes, USA

Jimmy’s Hall, dir. Ken Loach, UK/Ireland/France

Manson Family Vacation, dir. J. Davis, USA

The Overnight, dir. Patrick Brice, USA

People, Places, Things, dir. James C. Strouse, USA

The Vanished Elephant, dir. Javier Fuentes León, Peru/Colombia/Spain

Victoria, dir. Sebastian Schipper, Germany

Sweet Micky for President, dir. Ben Patterson, Haiti/USA 


LA Muse (10)

A Beautiful Now, dir. Daniela Amavia, USA, World Premiere

Aram, Aram, dir. Christopher Chambers, USA, World Premiere

Can You Dig This, dir. Delila Vallot, USA, World Premiere

Day Out of Days, dir. Zoe R. Cassavetes, USA, World Premiere

The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce, dir. Baron Davis, Chad Gordon, USA, World Premiere

The Escort, dir. Will Slocombe, USA, World Premiere

Flock of Dudes, dir. Bob Castrone, USA, World Premiere

French Dirty, dir. Wade Allain-Marcus & Jesse Allain-Marcus, USA, World Premiere

No Más Bebés (No More Babies), dir. Renee Tajima-Peña, USA, World Premiere

Weepah Way for Now, dir. Stephen Ringer, USA, World Premiere


Nightfall (8)

Caught, dir. Maggie Kiley, USA, World Premiere

The Confines, dir. Eytan Rockaway, USA, World Premiere

Crumbs, dir. Miguel Llansó, Spain/Ethiopia/Finland, North American Premiere

Crush the Skull, dir. Viet Nguyen, USA, World Premiere

Dude Bro Party Massacre III, dir. Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, USA, World Premiere

Plan Sexenal (Six Year Plan), dir. Santiago Cendejas, Mexico, North American Premiere

Ratter, dir. Branden Kramer, USA, LA Premiere

Shut In, dir. Adam Schindler, USA, World Premiere


Zeitgeist (6)

A Girl Like Grace, dir. Ty Hodges, USA, World Premiere

Band of Robbers, dir. Aaron Nee & Adam Nee, USA, World Premiere

In the Treetops, dir. Matthew Brown, USA, World Premiere

Manifest Destiny, dir. Michael Dwyer, Kaitlin McLaughlin, USA, World Premiere

Stealing Cars, dir. Bradley Kaplan, USA, World Premiere

What Lola Wants, dir. Rupert Glasson, USA, World Premiere