Not sure what to see or do at Film Independent’s 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival this weekend as the fest wraps up on Sunday, no worries. Navigating the volume of events and films going on may be a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated, but that should not scare you off. I have ten things that will help you make some solid choices and hopefully make your fest experience as easy and pleasant as possible. Enough of this fooling about, here you go.
One: Allow yourself enough time to get to your event.
If you are the kind of person who rolls into a movie during the previews, you may not get in as many of the films fill to capacity before the film begins. Also be aware that it is very crowded at L.A. Live and the surrounding area, as events are going on other than the fest as well. So simply allow ample time to get to your film or event.
Two: Catch an outdoor screening at the Ford Amphitheatre.
You have two chances left to do this. Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest will screen Friday June 24th at 8:30pm and The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, which will screen at 8:30pm on Saturday June 25th. The Ford Amphitheatre experience, watching a film, under the stars, it is just something everyone should do in their life.
Three: Always leave yourself an out.
If you are planning on going to the fest, and you have not already purchased tickets, pick out a few films you would like to see in a timeframe. It is impossible to predict how many people from rush lines will get in, or even when a film will go on rush status. I have driven in, where a movie was not on rush when I left, only to find it so when I arrived. Really the best thing to do is get your tickets in advance, online through the LAFF website, but also remember that you cannot purchase tickets online or by phone the day of the film. So if you are going this weekend, I strongly recommend getting tickets right away to ensure your spot at the film you want to see.
Four: Mix it up
All around the L.A. Live area are restaurants and bars, and they are flooded with filmmakers and film professionals right now. If you are looking to get in this business, hang out at these places, chat some people up, and you never know, maybe you make that right connection you need to move your career forward.
Five: Can’t decide what you want to see, check out a Shorts Program
The many Shorts Programs still to come at LAFF provide an opportunity to see a variety of different films for the price of one. The programs are varied and unique, bringing together several voices in a way that illuminates and entertains. My choice to see in the remaining programs would be Shorts Program 3, but really, all of the programs have their own charm and intrigue.
Six: Become a member of Film Independent
Looking for discounts and a way to stay engaged with the indie film community after LAFF, look no further than becoming a member of Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that puts on LAFF as well as programs and films throughout the year in the LA area. The basic membership is really reasonably priced and basically pays for itself very quickly. Plus, it helps support the programs and filmmakers FIND helps to reach their dreams. I am a member and I don’t even live in LA, but it still is worth it for the limited time I spend here every year.
Seven: See one of the music video programs
One of the great things about LAFF is its embracing of the talented work that is going on in the music video production scene. There are several programs left this weekend, covering an eclectic array of music styles. One I would recommend is Kewl Vids by Eric Wareheim. Known to late night TV viewers from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Wareheim is also an accomplished music video director. Check out his stuff at LAFF and enjoy.
Eight: Bring a positive attitude and have fun
Film festivals are a place to meet others with similar interests and enjoy the best of fresh indie cinema. But it is also important to bring the right attitude in the house. Yes, there are lines, yes LA traffic blows, and yes, times are tough financially for everyone, but just leave this stuff at home or in the car. Be happy, project that, and others will follow suit, creating and fostering a celebratory atmosphere that makes fests like LAFF the amazing events they are.
Nine: Check out one of the Conversations and Panels
Want to learn more about the business and craft of filmmaking then look no further than one of the panel discussions going on this weekend at LAFF. From things like whether or not 3D can be a part of the indie film world to cinematography techniques and more, you can gain valuable knowledge to help advance your career. Best of all, these events are free.
Ten: Step outside the box
Film festivals should enlighten and entertain, and for the enlightening part, the easiest way to do that is to check out a film with subject matter you may not normally be into. LAFF works extremely hard to bring quality films to the fest, and most of the films you can see will be excellent. That is just the beautiful reality of this fest. You can take chances here, with usually a reward at the end of entertainment, illumination, and the knowledge you are helping to support the continued growth of indie film.
Look for much more as The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival continues on, with reviews of some films you don’t want to miss and coverage of events throughout the fest. For continuing coverage of LAFF and 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.
For more info:
The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival
Los Angeles Times
Membership information for Film Independent
My coverage of The LAFF
Follow me on Twitter