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AEG Chief: LAFF can be as big as Sundance

April 9, 2010 |  7:16 pm

We got a chance to catch up with Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, about the company's aims for the Los Angeles Film Festival.

LaffOn Thursday morning, the LAFF announced that it would move nearly all of its events out of Westwood and into various AEG-operated venues downtown. On Thursday evening, Leiweke told 24 Frames that he hopes to grow festival attendance to 250,000 (last year it hovered around 85,000).

"This should rank up there with the great film festivals of the world, with Toronto and with Sundance," Leiweke said. "We want to be in a situation where some of the biggest events in the film world take place at the Los Angeles Film Fest."

Leiweke acknowledged that those goals lean grandiose. "It's not something that's going to happen tomorrow," he said, adding "it's going to take years." The festival has years, though not that many of them;  the deal between LAFF and AEG runs for three festivals.

At this year's gathering, events will be scattered throughout downtown, at venues such as L.A. Live, the Nokia Theatre, the Orpheum and the Regal Cinemas. Organizers hope the shift away from the Mann Village and its neighbors will provide the festival with a burst of momentum. "At the end of the day, we want to remind people that life [in Los Angeles]  started here," Leiweke said. "We're the entertainment capital of the world. We've got to figure out a way where we can have one of the best film festivals in the world."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Comments () | Archives (3)

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I think Leiweke is in for a pricey rude awakening when attendance doesn't come anywhere close to that and might even drop this year - people do not want to have to drive downtown for several days.

Of course, until LAFF gets a bigger roster of must-see premieres, the festival is going to remain an also-ran one on par with Santa Barbara and Telluride.

I APPLAUD THIS... This makes total sense... Sundance is an expensive, freezing, distant, inconvenient, chaotic, irritating experience of a film festival.... we are the entertainment capital of the world, we should have the best film festival supporting creativity and filmmakers, and their connection with studios and the industry. There are 12 great classic theaters downtown, no more squeezing into stupid little theaters like sundance, or showings being sold out... downtown LA is a no-brainer... hotels, restaurants, bars, and lots of huge movie theaters! Lets do it!

I hope LAFF gets to the point of Sundance, we are the capital, there's no reason for us to not have one of the world's best festivals


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