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‘Man From Reno’ Wins Top Prize At Los Angeles Film Festival

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 9:48pm PDT

2014LAFFposter2A neo-noir film about a Japanese crime novelist mixed up in a real-life San Francisco murder mystery took home the Narrative Award tonight during the 20th Los Angeles Film Festival‘s awards gala. Director Dave Boyle’s Man From Reno, which had its world premiere at the fest, was named best narrative feature. Stray Dog, Debra Granik’s first film since the Best Picture Oscar nominee Winter’s Bone, won the Documentary Award. It centers on an imposing-looking biker who’s actually a Vietnam veteran with a heart of gold and a love of small dogs. Damian John Harper’s Los Ángeles took home the LA Muse Award. The three juried awards carry a $5,000 prize for the filmmakers. Here is the complete list of winners: Read More »

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DeadlineNow: What To Expect At LA Film Festival (Video)

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 6:27pm PDT
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Snowpiercers And Jersey Boys And Everything In Between

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off its 20th edition with the arty action pic from Bong Joon-ho. Deadline's Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten discuss what's in store at Hollywood's hometown fest leading up to Clint Eastwood's closing-night film just ahead of its box office bow.

Related: Radius-TWC Promises “Surprising” Launch For LA Film Fest Opener ‘Snowpiercer

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: World Cup Has Arrived, Los Angeles Film Festival Underway, Disney Lawsuit (Video)

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 10:46am PDT
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Morning Report, Thursday June 12

World Cup kicks off today in Brazil with the home side taking on Croatia; Los Angeles Film Festival underway with Bong Joon-ho's opening-night film 'Snowpiercer'; Disney Studios targeted in age discrimination lawsuit by former Story Department exec. Dominic Patten reports.

Disney Slammed In Discrimination Suit By 26-Year Veteran Studio Exec
Radius-TWC Promises “Surprising” Launch For ‘Snowpiercer
World Cup Preview: Studios & Networks Play Games Too

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Relativity To Premiere ‘Earth To Echo’ At LA Film Festival

By | Tuesday May 20, 2014 @ 11:49am PDT

LAFF2014Relativity Media has found its launchpad for Earth To Echo, the long-in-the-works adventure film that it acquired from Disney last summer. The pic has been given a world premiere slot at the Los Angeles Film Festival, which will screen it June 14. The pic will be released wide July 2. Relativity acquired worldwide distribution rights last July to the pic, originally titled Echo and developed and shot by Disney, after producer EarthToEchoAndrew Panay brought it to Relativity president Tucker Tooley and production president Robbie Brenner. The story follows three friends (Teo Halm, Astro and Reese Hartwig) who begin getting weird coded messages on their cell phones and worry that something big is happening. No one pays them much mind, so they do some digging on their own and discover a mysterious being from another world who desperately needs their help. First-timer Dave Green directed from a script by Henry Gayden. (See the latest trailer below.) Read More »

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‘Jersey Boys’ Premiere To Close LA Film Festival

By | Tuesday May 6, 2014 @ 11:15am PDT

Jersey BoysThe story of an East Coast pop sensation will wrap up the West Coast event next month. The premiere of Clint Eastwood stage-to-screen adaptation Jersey Boys, about the rise of the Four Seasons, is the closing-night pick for the 20th anniversary Los Angeles Film Festival, set for June 11-19 at LA Live. LAFF’s Gala Screenings will include Ira Sachs’ Love Is Strange, Justin Simien’s Dear White People and Hossein Amini’sLAFF2014 The Two Faces of January.Presented by Film Independent, the fest will will screen more than 200 features, shorts, music videos from 40-plus countries. Lisa Cholodenko will serve as Guest Director for the event, which will include such signature programs as the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film Nights at The Grammy Museum, LA Muse and master classes. Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker will receive the Spirit of Independence Award. A conversation with them will be followed by a screening of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon(2000). Here is LAFF’s lineup: Read More »

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Bong Joon-Ho’s ‘Snowpiercer’ To Open Los Angeles Film Festival

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 11:19am PDT

snowpRadius-TWC‘s sci-fi pic Snowpiercer has been tapped as the opening-night film at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 11. The pic opens in the U.S. on June 27. LAFF’s full lineup of nearly 200 films will be unveiled May 6. The pic from Korean helmer Bong Joon-ho already has opened in territories including China and earned $3.88M on its first day in Korea. Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Song Kang-ho, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer, LAFF2014Jamie Bell and John Hurt star in the movie, which takes place in a postapocalyptic society on a train that never stops. This one has an interesting past. The Weinstein Company bought U.S. rights on the movie back in 2012 at AFM on the basis of a script and some sample footage. A wide release was in the contract until Bong turned in a cut of just beyond 2 1/2 hours, and a battle ensued before a truce was made: Bong kept the length of his action film, but instead of a wide release, it will be a platform release with a rollout. Check out the trailer here.

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‘Mother, I Love You,’ ‘Code Black,’ ‘Short Term 12′ Win LA Film Festival Awards

By | Sunday June 23, 2013 @ 1:11pm PDT

Janis Nords’ Latvian drama Mother, I Love You took home Best Narrative Feature and Ryan McGarry’s medical docu Code Black won the Documentary Award as the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival doled out honors today. Destin Daniel Cretton’s SXSW awards darling Short Term 12 nabbed the fest’s Audience Award ahead of its August 23 theatrical release via Cinedigm. Check out the full list of winners:

DIRECTV Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)
Mother, I Love You directed by Janis Nords

DIRECTV Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)
Code Black directed by Ryan McGarry

Best Performance in the Narrative Competition
Geetanjali Thapa in Kamar K.M’s I.D.

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton Read More »

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LA Film Festival: Almodovar’s ‘I’m So Excited!’ Opens Fest On Lighter Note

Pete Hammond

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off Thursday night with the North American premiere of Pedro Almodovar’s raunchy screwball comedy I’m So Excited! at LA Live’s Regal Cinemas. And if the jaded opening-night LA crowd did not demonstrably respond (there was just small polite applause at the end) with the enthusiasm past Almodovar films have enjoyed from Cannes to New York, it did send off the 11-day fest on a fun note. In no small part that owes to the fact that the pic is about sex and Almodovar himself explained the film’s title as “like being very horny”. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film and was pleased to grab the prestigious opening slot of the Film Independent signature film fest. And of course LA Film Fest was thrilled to get Almodovar.

SPC co-president Michael Barker told me afterwards that this is the first of Almodovar’s films to premiere in North America outside of New York. “The time was right for this one and Pedro was totally on board with coming here with it as well”, he said. In fact an ebullient Almodovar told me he was extremely impressed with the Regal’s massive screen and bright projection even though Sony took him to dinner during the movie. “I actually wanted to stay and watch. I grew up seeing movies in big theatres like this. I love the experience.” According to the two-time Oscar-winning director (All About My Mother, Talk To Her) his latest is the #1 box office attraction this first half of the year in his native Spain. And, as he tells it, that was no easy trick due to the failing economy which has seen double-digit declines and caused a steep downturn in moviegoing. Almodovar suggested people prefer to watch downloads on the Internet rather than pay the money for a moviegoing experience and that saddens him, although he’s glad his film is surviving in Spanish multiplexes despite the hardships. For him this pic was a bit of a lark after the more serious The Skin I Live In, which played in competition in Cannes in 2011. I’m So Excited! is about a jetliner en route to Mexico which encounters technical problems and then all hell ensues — a freewheeling farce that at least one Oscar voter told me later left him with tears running down his face due to laughter. Others were not as enthusiastic. It doesn’t matter. This likely won’t be an awards contender — comedies rarely are — but it returns Almodovar to his initial wild style of humor and that’s always welcome. Read More »

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‘The Conjuring’ To Debut At LA Film Fest

By | Monday June 10, 2013 @ 1:01pm PDT

New Line‘s July horror pic will unspool a month ahead of its nationwide release at the 2013 LA Film Festival. The James Wan-directed pic starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, and Lili Taylor is based on the true story of married paranormal investigators Edward and Lorraine Warren, who are tapped to help a family whose farmhouse is being terrorized by a demonic entity. Written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (The Reaping), The Conjuring reunites Wan with the creative team behind his 2011 low budget horror hit Insidious. It screens June 21 at the festival followed by a Q&A with Wan. WB releases the pic on July 19.

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Los Angeles Film Festival ‘Coffee Talks’ Guests Include Shane Black, Drew Pearce

By | Tuesday June 4, 2013 @ 9:28pm PDT

LOS ANGELES (June 4, 2013) – Today the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent, in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times and Host Partner L.A. LIVE, announced its annual Sunday “Coffee Talks” programming for June 16. The four talks will take place over the course of one day and feature Directors, Actors, Composers and Screenwriters, including Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Hell on Wheels), Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike), Drew Pearce (Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3), Karen McCullah (Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth), Atticus Ross (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network) and more. Additionally, the Festival announced KCRW’s The Treatment at the Los Angeles Film Festival will take place on June 19 with Host/Film Independent at LACMA Curator Elvis Mitchell and filmmaker Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6, Better Luck Tomorrow). The Festival will celebrate the 20 anniversary of Film Independent’s Project Involve, which will include the world premiere of Life of a King, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. on June 22.

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‘The Way Way Back’ To Close LA Film Festival

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 10:16am PDT

The full lineup announced today for the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival includes Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s coming-of-age comedic drama The Way Way Back. The spendy Fox Searchlight pic has been tapped to close the fest, which runs June 13-23 downtown. The Film Independent-sponsored event includes gala presentations for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Ryan Gosling-starrer Only God Forgives and Ryan Googler’s Fruitvale Station, the Weinstein Company’s Sundance pickup that will play the month before in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. Pedro Almodovar’s comedy I’m So Excited! was already tapped to open the fest. Here’s the full lineup of more than 200 films, and 22 in the narrative and documentary competition categories, all of which boast world, North American or U.S. premieres:

Related: David O Russell Named Guest Director For LA Fest

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David O Russell Named Guest Director For LA Film Festival

By | Friday April 19, 2013 @ 11:15am PDT

Silver Linings PlaybookDavid O Russell will also receive the Spirit of Independence Award at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, which is set for June 13-23 and opens with Pedro Almodovar’s comedy I’m So Excited!” In his role as guest director, he will host a special screening of his 1999 pic Three Kings that will also include a discussion with the filmmaker about his body of work, which most recently included writing and directing Silver Linings Playbook, which landed seven Oscar nominations. Russell also will attend the 12th annual Filmmaker Retreat at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA, a gathering of festival filmmakers and other invited artists. Passes for the fest go on sale today.

Russell’s currently making American Hustle, which stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jack Huston and had to shut down production today in Boston owing to the manhunt for the marathon bomber.

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Pedro Almodovar’s ‘I’m So Excited!’ To Open LA Film Festival

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 11:16am PDT

The North American premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited! has been named the opening-night film of the 19th annual Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13. It comes ahead of the Spanish-language comedy’s U.S. platform release June 28 via Sony Pictures Classics. The pic bowed March 8 in Spain and is currently opening throughout Europe. Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas are among the ensemble cast of the comedy, set on an airplane flight where nothing goes right. The fest, produced by Film Independent, teamed with SPC last year to premiere Searching For Sugar Man, which ended up winning the Feature Documentary Oscar. LAFF runs through June 23 and will feature more than 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 30 countries.

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Film Independent Names Mary Sweeney Board Chair

By | Friday January 11, 2013 @ 10:47am PST

Filmmaker and David Lynch collaborator Mary Sweeney replaces Bill Condon atop the board of the indie film organization, which among other events puts on the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards (this year set for February 23 on the beach in Santa Monica and hosted by Andy Samberg). Film Independent‘s board members are Sweeney, Condon, Randy Barbato, Adriene Bowles, Effie T. Brown, Laura Dern, DeVon Franklin, Sid Ganis, Rodrigo García, Vondie Curtis Hall, Michael Helfant, Marcus Hu, Laura Kim, Sue Kroll, Kasi Lemmons, David Linde, Allan Mayer, Ted Mundorff, Gail Mutrux, Tom Ortenberg, Alan Poul, Cathy Schulman, Nancy Utley and Forest Whitaker. From today’s release: Read More »

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Chris McGurk Sees Movie “Renaissance” Instead Of “Apocalypse” – Thanks To Digital

By | Saturday June 16, 2012 @ 2:24pm PDT

Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk broke from the traditional gloom and doom many Los Angeles Film Festival keynoters have expressed regarding the future of showbiz. Noting that one previous speaker said, “and I quote: “The sky really is falling”, McGurk pointed out that “the only thing Hollywood has done better than building an industry is predicting its imminent demise.” Once again “doomsayers seem to be proclaiming the Seven Signs of the coming Indie Apocalypse” but McGurk said he sees “the Seven Signs of its Renaissance” — thanks to lower production and distribution costs because of the “digital revolution.” Despite having what he described a reputation as being “a suit” he said “I think I’ve actually become somewhat of a softie in regard to at least one aspect of the film business. Somewhere along my corporate ride in Hollywood, I fell in love with independent film.” McGurk sees enormous targeted opportunities for filmmakers, distributors, marketers and exhibitors. And variety that can satisfy broadly different kinds of people who love movies.
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Woody Allen Opens 2012 LAFF And Telluride Hits Hollywood As Film Fest Action Heats Up

Pete Hammond

After opening the 2011 Cannes Film Festival winning raves (and an eventual Oscar for Original Screenplay)Woody Allen LA Film Festival for Midnight In Paris, Woody Allen and Sony Pictures Classics dialed it down a bit for the North American premiere of his latest, To Rome With Love. But in a coup for the Los Angeles Film Festival Woody and several female co-stars made the trek to LA for last night’s opening film, and if the movie divided critics there were definitely a few big laughs, some supplied on camera by Woody himself in his first screen role since 2006′s  Scoop.

Now in its 18th year, the festival run by Film Independent is increasingly becoming a go-to place for summer movie premieres and interesting programming. On the down side it is once again taking place mostly at Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live in Downtown making it stressful for many Angelenos and Westsiders in particular — navigating rush hour traffic can be nightmarish (it certainly was for me yesterday). And with some street and freeway on and off ramp closures still in effect due to the King’s Stanley Cup hockey championship parade celebration earlier in the day (and other reasons) you can find yourself driving around aimlessly looking for any way in – or out – for that matter. Plus if you don’t manage to find the single West Garage parking entrance off Chick Hearn Court that offers the LAFF rate of $8 you may wind up paying … Read More »

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Los Angeles Film Festival Lineup Unveiled; ‘Magic Mike’ Is Closing-Night Film

By | Tuesday May 1, 2012 @ 11:00am PDT

The Steven Soderberg male-stripper pic Magic Mike will have its world premiere as the closing-night film at the Los Angeles Film Festival, which today released its official selections for the June 14-24 event. Warner Bros’ comedic drama stars Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughery and details Tatum’s real-life experience as a stripper. It opens domestically June 29. Also among the titles announced is the world premiere of DreamWorks’ People Like Us, written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and directed by Kurtzman. Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer star in the film set in the Summer Showcase sidebar. The festival’s slate of almost 200 feature films, short films, and music videos represent more than 30 countries. It already had announced that Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love would kick off the 2012 event as the opening-night film. Here’s the full lineup, with panels and surrounding events to be announced at a later date: Read More »

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Locations Trade Show At Convention Center To Coincide With Opening Of LA Film Fest

LOS ANGELES (February 14, 2012) – The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) announced today that the 2012 Locations Show will be held June 15 – 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The AFCI Locations Show is essential for industry professionals seeking access to the funds, locations and services essential to film and television production. It is the only event to bring hundreds of film commissioners from all over the world, representing billions of dollars in support and financial incentives.

Taking advantage of the new venue, the AFCI Locations Show 2012 will feature conference sessions, panel discussions, mentoring roundtables, networking opportunities, social events and workshops designed to provide industry professionals with important tools and insights necessary to compete in today’s competitive marketplace.

This year, for the first time, the Locations Show will also run concurrently with the opening weekend of the Los Angeles Film Festival. The Festival, running from June 14-24, is centered around L.A. LIVE and produced by the non-profit arts organization Film Independent. It has attracted upwards of 90,000 visitors, and in 2011, screened over 200 features, shorts and music videos from more than 30 countries. Additionally, the Festival features conversations with guest artists and access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals and emerging talent from around the world.

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Stephanie Allain Named Director Of Los Angeles Film Festival

By | Wednesday January 25, 2012 @ 9:41am PST

More senior staff changes are taking place at Film Independent, the organization that annually produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Spirit Awards. Stephanie Allain, the longtime producer and former Columbia Pictures executive, has been named the new director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, replacing Rebecca Yeldham, who recently stepped down. Today’s announcement comes in the wake of the appointment of Sean McManus and Josh Welsh as co-presidents of Film Independent earlier this month.

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