Film Independent’s 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, which is presented by the Los Angeles Times (great coverage of the fest there as well) and supported by L.A. LIVE (an amazingly quality place for a fest), recently announced that they will be hosting the World Premiere of Richard Linklater’s newest film Bernie as the festival’s Opening Night Film. They have also announced several other items including a Remembering Sidney Lumet conversation with music legend Quincy Jones and Academy Award winning screenwriter Frank Pierson (for Dog Day Afternoon, also was a writer on Cat Ballou and Cool Hand Luke).
One of indie films true pioneers during its golden age in the 1990s, Richard Linklater is coming to LA and bringing his new dark comedy that will be making its World Premiere. Bernie, directed by Linklater, written by Skip Hollandsworth along with Linklater, and starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey will open LAFF on June 16th. A man who can do no wrong, Bernie (Jack Black), is loved the town over even when he commits a regrettably egregious crime. Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham said of having the film, “We’re thrilled to be opening the Festival with the World Premiere of this delicious black comedy – a treat from one of the most original and exciting voices in independent film, Richard Linklater.” She added that “With its fabulous all-star cast, Bernie is a perfect stage setter for the incredible line-up of original entertainment we’ve assembled for this year’s Festival.”
As was announced earlier, LAFF will feature in depth conversation events with James Franco and Julie Taymor, as well as the now added Remembering Sidney Lumet which they are calling “a conversation with some of his collaborators, including music impresario Quincy Jones, writer Frank Pierson, and more about the legacy of this remarkable artist and storyteller”. Seriously, that is a heavy hitting lineup of talent that will be a tough ticket I am sure.
Also announced recently, acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will be LAFF’s Guest Director, which means in addition to taking part in many other activities, he will introduce a film that has been a strong influence on his career. It has been announced that the film he will screen is a relatively obscure film from 1996 called The Arcane Enchanter, written and directed by Italian filmmaker Pupi Avati. This is like many films I have seen at festivals, warmly received, but somehow lost in the shuffle of big business.
Many other industry players and personalities will be in LA for the fest including director Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Quiet American), writers Roberto Orci (Cowboys & Aliens, Star Trek), Dustin Lance Black (J. Edgar, Milk), the comedians behind the cult comedy TV series The State and Reno 911! Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, composters Clint Mansell (Black Swan, Moon), Mychael Danna ((500) Days of Summer, Capote) as well as many more.
LAFF will also have a group of conversations/panel discussions on the convergence of film, art and commerce (the importance of the relationship and balance of these items for film success is paramount) on June 18th and 19th called Money Talks & Art Matters. Panelists are to include writer/directors Allison Anders and Kurt Voss, filmmakers Patrick Creadon and Javier Fuentes-Leon, FilmDistrict’s Bob & Jeanne Berney, Pandemonium Film’s Bill Mechanic, Landmark Theatre’s Ted Mundorff, CrowdStarter’s Liz Ogilvie, and Participant Media’s Ricky Strauss, with more to be announced soon.
LAFF, one of the best fests in the country in my opinion, for the fans, the industry, the press, is perfectly produced by Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization I am a proud member of who also produces the Spirit Awards. They stand up for indie filmmakers providing a plethora of programs to help you get your project made, not just remain as an idea. Check back here and over at the LAFF website for updates, previews of the films that will be playing, interviews, whatever you need to know really for the fest. I am so excited to head back to LA this year for one of the most well run, entertaining, and potent festivals in the world. 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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