Ricardo de Montreuil's 'Lowriders' to Open LA Film Festival

Courtesy of Los Angeles Film Festival

Ryan Coogler will serve as guest director and Ava DuVernay will be honored with the Spirit of Independence Award.

Ricardo de Montreuil’s Lowriders has been selected to open the LA Film Festival, which is set to run June 1-9 at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood.

Set against the backdrop of East Los Angeles' car culture, the film tells the story of Danny, a talented young street artist caught between the lowrider world inhabited by his old-school father and ex-con brother and his need for self-expression.

Film Independent, which produces the festival, also announced Tuesday that Ryan Coogler, who most recently directed Creed, will serve as the event’s 2016 guest director.  It also said that helmer Ava DuVernay and Array Releasing, which she founded in 2010, will receive the fest’s Spirit of Independence Award. And it unveiled its 2016 poster, featuring artwork by Carolyn Castano.

Produced by Brian Grazer and Jason Blum, Lowriders stars Eva Longoria, Demian Bichir, Melissa Benoist, Theo Rossi, Tony Revolori and Gabriel Chavarria.

“We are thrilled to open with Lowriders, a culturally vibrant film that explores familial relationships within a second-generation Mexican family in East LA. Made by filmmakers of color, Lowriders embodies our mission of shining the light on unique voices,” festival director Stephanie Allain said, adding, “Spirit Award winner Ryan Coogler honors us as guest director — we had Fruitvale Station at the festival in 2013 and are so happy to have him back this year as our guest director.”

As guest director, Coogler will attend the 15th annual Filmmaker Retreat, which will introduce filmmakers at the fest to Film Independent board members.

Film Independent president Josh Welsh also commented, “We can’t imagine a more fitting recipient of the Spirit of Independence Award than Ava DuVernay and her distribution company Array Releasing. In addition to being a brilliant filmmaker, Ava is a passionate, forward-thinking distributor, helping unique and diverse voices find their audiences. Array bought Takeshi Fukunaga’s Out of My Hand at last year’s festival, a film that we celebrated at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.”

The LA Film Festival’s full lineup will be announced April 26.