Coming up soon is Film Independent‘s 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, one of my favorite film festivals of the year that combines a superb slate of films at world class venues in the heart of one of the great cities in this country. The festival will run this year from June 16th through the 26th and they have just announced the first round of domestic and international selections. Produced by Film Independent, of which I am a proud member, the non-profit arts organization that also produces the Spirit Awards, the LA Film Fest will screen over 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 30 countries. They have released a large portion of those with selections with th rest such as their Opening and Closing Night films, Galas, Conversations, Artists in Residence, LAFCA’s Films That Got Away, along with additional special guests and programming for the Festival Talks to be announced at later dates. Check back here for sure as once the fest gets closer as I will break down the slate further and give some choices that are not to be missed.
The Narrative Competition is made up of films made by talented, emerging filmmakers who will also compete for the coveted Filmmaker Award. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Here are the 10 competition films.
The Bad Intentions, Rosario Garcia-Montero – Argentina/Germany/Peru – US Premiere
The Dynamiter, Matthew Gordon – North American Premiere
Familiar Grounds, Stephane Lefleur – Canada – North American Premiere
The Fatherless, Marie Kreutzer – Austria – North American Premiere
How to Cheat, Amber Sealey – World Premiere
Mamitas, Nicholas Ozeki – World Premiere
An Ordinary Family, Mike Akel – World Premiere
Please Do Not Disturb, Mohsen Abdolvahab – Iran – North American Premiere
Sawdust City, David Nordstrom – World Premiere
You Hurt My Feelings, Steve Collins – World Premiere
Next up is the Documentary Competition which is comprised of films made by talented emerging filmmakers from around the world that will compete for the Documentary Award. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. Here are the 9 competition films.
Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park – South Korea – US Premiere
Family Instinct, Andris Gauja – Latvia – US Premiere
Once I Was a Champion, Gerard Roxburgh – World Premiere
Paraiso For Sale, Anayansi Prado – World Premiere
Salaam Dunk, David Fine – Iraq/USA – World Premiere
Somewhere Between, Linda Goldstein Knowlton – US Premiere
Unfinished Spaces, Alysa Nahimas, Ben Murray – World Premiere
Unraveled, Marc H. Simon – US Premiere
Wish Me Away, Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf – World Premiere
The International Showcase section highlights innovative independent narrative and documentary features from outside of the United States. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature. There are a total of 18 selections here, several which I have been fortunate enough to see, and they were very good.
108, Renate Costa – Spain/Paraguay
Christopher and His Kind, Geoffrey Sax – United Kingdom – North American Premiere
Come Rain, Come Shine, Lee Yoon-ki – South Korea – North American Premiere
Curling, Denis Côté – Canada
The Destiny of Lesser Animals, Deron Albright – Ghana/USA
Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within, Jose Padilha – Brazil (New Video)
Eternity, Sivaroj Kongsakul – Thailand
Family Portrait in Black and White, Julia Ivanova – Canada
Kawasaki’s Rose, Jan Hrebejk – Czech Republic (Menemsha Films)
Love Crime, Alain Corneau – France (IFC Films)
Medianeras, Gustavo Taretto – Argentina/Germany/Spain (IFC Films) – North American Premiere
Mysteries of Lisbon, Raúl Ruiz – Portugal (Music Box Films)
Ocaso, Theo Court – Chile – North American Premiere
Position Among the Stars, Leonard Retel Helmrich – Netherlands
The Salesman, Sébastien Pilote – Canada
Self Made, Gillian Wearing – England
Senna, Asif Kapadia – England (PDA)
Tomboy, Céline Sciamma – France (Rocket Releasing) – North American Premiere
The Summer Showcase section offers an advance look at this summer’s most talked about independent film releases from the festival circuit. This is one of my favorites as this is a way to get a jump on what is coming to art house theaters near you and let you know what to check out. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
Another Earth, Mike Cahill (Fox Searchlight)
Elevate, Anne Buford
The Future, Miranda July (Roadside Attractions)
The Guard, John Michael McDonagh – Ireland (Sony Pictures Classics)
Higher Ground, Vera Farmiga (Sony Pictures Classics)
Leave It on the Floor, Sheldon Larry – World Premiere
Letters From the Big Man, Christopher Munch
L!fe Happens, Kat Coiro – World Premiere
Natural Selection, Robbie Pickering
Page One: Inside the New York Times, Andrew Rossi (Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media)
The Pruitt-lgoe Myth, Chad Freidrichs
Renée, Eric Drath (ESPN Films)
Sex Crimes Unit, Lisa F. Jackson (HBO Films)
Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul, Kai Sehr
Terri, Azazel Jacobs (ATO)
Tyrannosaur, Paddy Considine – England (Strand Releasing)
Where Soldiers Come From, Heather Courtney
Winnie the Pooh, Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall (Disney)
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of LA Film Fest for me last year, were these official Los Angeles Film Festival selections, sponsored by Brand X, that are included as part of the 2011 Ford Amphitheatre Summer Season which is a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with several other Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. These outdoor screenings are incredible, and the A Tribe Called Quest doc is going to be the hot ticket to get I believe. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, Michael Rapaport
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Tsui Hark – Hong Kong
The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, Ron & Russell Mael aka Sparks and Guy Maddin – World Musical Premiere
This year, LAFF’s International Spotlight focuses on Cuba, a place I would so like to visit and whose films rarely find distribution in the US, something that will hopefully be changing in the coming years as fear and irrational thought are weeded out. This important section of the festival is sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and UCLA Latin American Institute.
Habana Eva, Fina Torres – Cuba/France/Venezuela
Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba, Estela Bravo – Cuba
Suite Habana (2003), Fernando Pérez – Cuba
Ticket to Paradise, Gerardo Chijona Valdes – Cuba
The next section is inspired by the efforts of the Ambulante Film Festival, a traveling film event designed to promote a documentary culture across Mexico, and one I have been privileged enough to see several times in my days in Tucson. LAFF will highlight two outstanding documentaries from Mexico’s vibrant and ever improving documentary filmmaking culture.
The Night Watchman, Natalia Almada – Mexico
The Tiniest Place, Tatiana Huezo – Mexico
As if LAFF could do more for the local community, they offer seven films that will be presented free of charge to the public ranging from the entertaining to the poignant. Among last year’s selection, A Small Act was one I really thought was important and smart of LAFF to screen. Look for The Bully Project to do that this year. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature or Best Documentary Feature. Head to the LA Film Fest website to be a part of selecting one of the films in this section.
The Bully Project, Lee Hirsch (The Weinstein Company)
Choose Your Own Movie – you can vote at LAFilmFest.com for this free outdoor screening
Crime After Crime, Yoav Potash – Grand Performances Screening
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), John Hughes – 25th Anniversary Screening
Hot Coffee, Susan Saladoff (HBO Films)
On the Ice, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean – Project:Involve Screening
Project Nim, James Marsh – United Kingdom (Roadside Attractions)
Stand By Me (1986), Rob Reiner – 25th Anniversary Screening
In a section I am honestly not familiar with, The Beyond offers films that dare to be different, taking at look at the other so to speak and alternative ways of communicating through film. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
Entrance, Dallas Hallam, Patrick Horvath
Haunters, Kim Min-suk – South Korea – North American Premiere
The Innkeepers, Ti West
Karate-Robo Zaborgar, Iguchi Noboru – Japan
The Yellow Sea, Na Hong-jin – South Korea
They always revisit a few great films of the past in their Retro section, which features two of the finest films of the last thirty years, and having not seen Das Boot on the big screen ever, I am not going to miss that. And Boyz n the Hood, one the films I remember most vividly from my childhood, how can you pass that up either.
Boyz n the Hood (1991), John Singleton – 20th Anniversary Digitally Re-Mastered Screening with a Cast & Crew Reunion
Das Boot (1981), Wolfgang Peterson – Germany – 30th Anniversary Digitally Re-Mastered Screening
General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 31st. Contact the ticket office for passes, tickets, and event information by calling (866) 345-6337, or visit LAFilmFest.com. If you are interested in following along with the coverage of the LAFF or other film festivals in the future, you can receive these articles directly as they are published by clicking on the “Subscribe” button at the top of this piece. You can also follow me on Twitter by searching for ericshlapack or by clicking the link below.
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2011 Los Angeles Film Festival
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