by Carrie Specht
The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival (produced by Film Independent) has returned to downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE for a fourth year. On its final days, the highly regarded event continues through Sunday, June 23. Long known to mix Hollywood blockbusters with art-house experiments, and everything in between, the Festival has been screening a diverse slate of nearly 200 feature films (narrowed down from 5,428 submitted), representing more than 40 countries, in genres ranging from horror to comedy to sci-fi to sports documentaries, shorts and music videos. So don’t miss out on any more than you already have. With red carpet premieres, conversations, live music, free outdoor screenings and films from around the world the LA Film Festival is a cinematic experience not to be missed. So get your tickets to what’s left of the most anticipated films before they sell out!
There are a lot of hot new movies playing this weekend, among them Elijah Wood’s recent success, Maniac, the latest sensation from Denmark, A Hijacking, Sophia Coppola’s Cannes favorite, The Bling Ring, and the low budget indie 20 Feet From Stardom. And then there’s the eclectic array of options offered by the LAFF, which kicked off opening night with the North American premiere of Pedro Almodovar’s bawdy, mischievous, new comedy of bad manners, I’m So Excited! The overall lineup includes films from first time filmmakers having their world premiere in LA, and popular favorites from recent festivals gathered from around the world, including the Sundance Grand Jury and Audience award winner Fruitvale Station. This film is set for release later this summer, but the LAFF offers the opportunity to see it and many other gems now before everyone else.
Now in its nineteenth year, the LAFF is known for showcasing the best in new American and international cinema. It has a long running reputation for providing the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent. This year the festival introduces 35 World, North American and US Premieres, including Ava DuVernay’s Venus Vs. and the music doc Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, as well as the sci-fi thriller Europa Report. It also features unique signature programs such as the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film Nights at the Grammy Museum, Poolside Chats, Master Classes, and Coffee Talks.
Another Festival highlight are the free Community Screenings. This year they include the world premieres of the music documentary Brasslands and the chess drama Life of a King starring Cuba Gooding Jr., which is a byproduct of Film Independent’s Project Involve, a program dedicated to cultivating the careers of filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the industry. And then there’s the 20th Anniversary screening of Dazed and Confused from director Richard Linklater, and a Dance-A-Long screening of John Waters’ Hairspray in honor of its 25th Anniversary.
With so much from which to chose, including the highly anticipated closing night film, The Way, Way Back starring Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, and Maya Rudolph, it’s best that you visit the official site at lafilmfest.com for the most up-to-date schedule of films and programming. You’re bound to find something that peeks your interest, and since it’s now officially summer I say you go all out and make this weekend’s movie-going experience something you and the whole family will remember. Enjoy all that downtown LA has to offer and take the metro, see the sights as you walk from the station, and bask in what is LA LIVE – it’s a visual sensation before you even get to the theater. Then take a chance and see something you might otherwise never see. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be disappointed. I never have been, not by the LAFF. You owe it to yourself to be a part of what thousands of other Angelinos have known for 19 years – that there’s nothing like else like the LAFF.
Regular screenings, conversations, chats and talks are just $13, and even less for Film Independent Members. That’s better than the price of the usual LA movie ticket or even other festivals. Gala screenings and Music Nights at the Grammy Museum run a bit steeper at $20, but then for the experience of participating in such unique events it’s more than worth the money. In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Filmmaker Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community. All Access, Fast, Industry and Cinema Pass holders have access to sold out events. Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337) or visit LAFilmFest.com.