Los Angeles Film Festival Unveils Lineup
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
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
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
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
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