LA Film Festival Unveils Competition Lineup

Courtesy of Los Angeles Film Festival
LA Film Festival director Jennifer Cochis

The Film Independent-produced event, which is moving to a new fall slot, is offering a diverse slate of works, many of which are directed by women and by people of color.

With an emphasis on introducing a diverse array of new filmmakers, the LA Film Festival on Tuesday unveiled a competition lineup in which 42 percent of the films are directed by women and 39 percent are helmed by people of color.

The fest, produced by Film Independent, will be held Sept. 20-28 in venues throughout Los Angeles as the event moves from its traditional summer berth to a new spot on the fall awards season calendar.

Forty feature films, 41 shorts and 10 short episodic works, representing 26 countries, will screen among the U.S. Fiction, Documentary, World Fiction, LA Muse and Nightfall sections of the festival. 

“Our mission of finding fresh new voices from different geographical and cultural axes remains true,” LA Film Festival director Jennifer Cochis said in announcing the schedule. “These storytellers are united by their ability to transport, impact and inspire audiences with the power of their craft.”

The fest’s opening and closing nights and gala screenings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 

Screenings will take place at the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City, Hollywood and Santa Monica, as well as the new LMU Playa Vista Campus, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Writers Guild Theater.

Passes are on sale now to Film Independent members. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale to Film Independent members beginning Aug. 14 and to the general public on Aug. 21. 

The competition lineup follows.

U.S. Fiction Competition

Banana Split, dir. Benjamin Francis Kasulke, USA, World Premiere
In Reality, dir. Ann Lupo, co-dirs. Esteban Pedraza & Aaron Pryka, USA, California Premiere
Olympia, dir. Gregory Dixon, USA, World Premiere
Simple Wedding, dir. Sara Zandieh, USA, World Premiere
Softness of Bodies, dir. Jordan Blady, USA/Germany, World Premiere
This Teacher, dir. Mark Jackson, USA, World Premiere
The Wrong Todd, dir. Rob Schulbaum, USA, World Premiere

Documentary Competition 

Behind the Curve, dir. Daniel J. Clark, USA, U.S. Premiere
Facing the Dragon, dir. Sedika Mojadidi, USA/Afghanistan, World Premiere
False Confessions, dir. Katrine Philp, Denmark, North American Premiere
hillbilly, dirs. Sally Rubin, Ashley York, USA, L.A. Premiere
Mamacita, dir. José Pablo Estrada Torrescano, Mexico/Germany, U.S. Premiere
Moroni for President, dir. Saila Huusko, Jasper Rischen, USA, L.A. Premiere
Same God, dir. Linda Midgett, USA, World Premiere
The Silence of Others, dirs. Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, Spain, West Coast Premiere
Stammering Ballad, dir. Nan Zhang, China, North American Premiere
Wrestling Ghosts, dir. Ana Joanes, USA, World Premiere

World Fiction Competition 

Border, dir. Ali Abbasi, Sweden, California Premiere
The Cotton Wool War, dirs. Cláudio Marques, Marilia Hughes, Brazil, U.S. Premiere
The Day I Lost My Shadow, dir. Soudade Kaadan, France/Lebanon/Qatar/Syrian Arab Republic, U.S. Premiere
Heaven Without People, dir. Lucien Bourjeily, Lebanon, L.A. Premiere
Microhabitat, dir. Jeon Go-Woon, South Korea, West Coast Premiere
Socrates, dir. Alex Moratto, Brazil, World Premiere
Tower. A Bright Day., dir. Jagoda Szelc, Poland/Czech Republic, L.A. Premiere

LA Muse 

The Advocates, dir. Rémi Kessler, USA, World Premiere
El Chicano, dir. Ben Hernandez Bray, USA, World Premiere
Fire on the Hill, dir. Brett Fallentine, USA, World Premiere
Funke, dir. Gabriel Taraboulsy, USA, World Premiere
Making Montgomery Clift, dir. Robert A. Clift, Hillary Demmon, USA, World Premiere
Saint Judy, dir. Sean Hanish, USA, World Premiere
Solace, dir. Tchaiko Omawale, USA, California Premiere
Staycation, dir. Tanuj Chopra, USA, World Premiere
Stuntman, dir. Kurt Mattila, USA, World Premiere
We the Coyotes, dirs. Hanna Ladoul, Marco La Via, USA, North American Premiere

Nightfall 

The Dead Center, dir. Billy Senese, USA, World Premiere
Deep Murder, dir. Nick Corirossi, USA, World Premiere
Ghost Light, dir. John Stimpson, USA, World Premiere
Head Count, dir. Elle Callahan, USA, World Premiere
Spell, dir. Brendan Walter, USA, World Premiere
Thriller, dir. Dallas Jackson, USA, World Premiere

Episodes: Indie Series From the Web 

Avant-Guardians, dir. Clarence Williams II, USA
Flatbush Misdemeanors, dirs. Dan Perlman, Kevin Iso, USA
Fresh, dir. Grant Scicluna, Australia
Kiki and Kitty, dir. Catriona Mackenzie, Australia
Otis, dir. Alexander Etseyatse, USA
Petal & Paint, dir. Bradley Smith, USA
Psusydirs. Duckworth, Jaya Beach-Robertson, New Zealand
Revenge Tour, dir. Andrew Carter, USA
Robits, dir. Christopher Parks, USA
Tracy Buckles, dir. Robin Nystrom, USA

Additionally, the festival will present 41 short films, which will be shown before features and as part of six short film programs.