24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: film festivals

Look East Korean film fest: 'Poetry,' 'The Host' in 3-D top lineup

June 4, 2012 | 12:13 pm


Ten films from South Korea, including 2010's acclaimed "Poetry" and 2009's Park Chan-wook vampire drama "Thirst," will screen as part of the inaugural Look East: Korean Film Festival, which will take place at Grauman's Chinese Theatre June 23-24, organizers announced Monday.

The lineup includes the 2005 film "A Bittersweet Life," starring Lee Byung-hun, who will appear in person for a Q&A and who will be among the first Korean performers in the history of the legendary Hollywood movie palace to have his handprints and footprints added to the theater's courtyard.

Also showing at the festival will be the 1958 drama "Flower in Hell" and the 1949 film "A Hometown in My Heart," both U.S. premieres; 2004's "3 Iron" from respected auteur Kim Ki-duk; "Poetry," from Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong and starring the acclaimed actress Yun Jung-hee; and Todd McCarthy's 2007 documentary "Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema." French filmmaker and champion of Korean cinema Rissient will be on hand for a Q&A.

A 3-D version of the 2006 horror film "The Host," directed by Bong Joon-ho, also will be included in the lineup.

For a complete list of films, information about tickets to screenings and other events related to the festival, go to www.LookEastFestival.com


L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival expands to Long Beach

L.A. film festivals to celebrate Korean, Czech movies

— Susan King

Photo: Yun Jung-hee stars in "Poetry." Credit: Kino International.


Around Town: Marilyn, Lucy and Kristy McNichol hit the big screen

May 31, 2012 |  6:00 am

James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood star in "Rebel Without a Cause."

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is presenting a two-day retrospective, "Grand Designs: Mid-Century Life in the Movies," at the Leo S. Bing Theater, in conjunction with the closing weekend of the exhibition "California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way."

The festival opens Friday with the 1957 romantic comedy "Desk Set," with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, about the computer age invading a TV network, followed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as newlyweds honeymooning in an Airstream in Vincente Minnelli's 1954 comedy "The Long, Long Trailer."

On tap for early Saturday evening is the English-language version of Jacques Tati's Oscar-winning 1958 comedy "My Uncle," in which Mr. Hulot encounters an uber modern world in French suburbia.

The evening concludes with Nicholas Ray's classic 1955 tale of disenchanted youth "Rebel Without a Cause," starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and the Griffith Park Observatory.


The indie film festival "Dances With Films" celebrates its 15th anniversary Thursday evening through June 7 at the Mann's Chinese 6. The festival includes features, shorts, documentaries and music videos. The opening-night programs are "Attack of the Bat Monsters" and "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life." The closing night feature is "Eye of the Hurricane," with Campbell Scott. http://www.danceswithfilms.com

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, is also commemorating  the 86th birthday of the late Marilyn Monroe with a weeklong film festival that begins Friday evening with Billy Wilder's 1959 gender-bender comedy "Some Like It Hot." Screening Saturday is 1954's "There's No Business Like Show Business," followed by 1953's "How to Marry a Millionaire" on Sunday; 1955's "The Seven Year Itch" on Monday; 1956's "Bus Stop" on Tuesday; and 1961's "The Misfits," her final film, on Wednesday. http://www.chinesetheatres.com

Film Independent at LACMA presents a preview screening Thursday of Corinna Betz's documentary, "Gerhard Richter Painting," which profiles the 80-year-old German painter.

And on Tuesday evening, Film Independent at LACMA welcomes screenwriter and USC professor Howard A. Rodman to chat about Sam Fuller's controversial 1982 drama "White Dog" at the 30th anniversary screening of the film about an actress (played by Kristy McNichol) who adopts a stray white German shepherd only to discover it has been trained to attack African Americans. http://www.lacma.org

Before he "Made 'Em Laugh" in 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," Donald O'Connor was a teen idol who appeared in several youth-oriented musicals at Universal in the 1940s. UCLA Film & Television Archive's current centennial celebration of the studio presents a new print Sunday afternoon at the Billy Wilder Theater of his 1944 musical comedy "Chip Off the Old Block," which also stars Peggy Ryan.

And on Sunday, the archive and Outfest present the 1991 drama "The Hour and Times," directed by Christopher Munch about a holiday John Lennon took with the Beatles' gay manager Brian Epstein. Director Munch and actor Ian Hart will appear. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Director Whit Stillman will appear to take part in the Cinefamily Pajama Party screening Saturday of his 1998 comedy drama "The Last Days of Disco" at the Silent Movie Theatre.

Cinefamily 's Wednesday silent movie is a real rarity -- 1928's "The Showdown," a romantic soap opera set in South America starring George Bancroft, Fred Kohler and Evelyn Brent. http://www.cinefamily.org

The Assn. of Moving Image Archivists UCLA Student Chapter presents its monthly screening Sunday and Monday at the New Beverly Cinema with "These Are the Damned," the 1963 sequel to "Village of the Damned" and the 2011 British cult film "Attack the Block." http://www.newbevcinema.com

The Skirball's free Tuesday matinee features 1949's "The Barkleys of Broadway," the glossy MGM musical that reunited Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in a tale about a bickering show business couple. http://www.skirball.org

Geena Davis is scheduled to appear at the Los Angeles Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" screening Wednesday evening of the 1982 comedy "Tootsie," in which she had one of her first major roles. The film, which earned 10 Oscar nominations and won supporting actress for Jessica Lange, will screen at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. http://www.laconservancy.org


"Review: 'California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way' at LACMA"

--Susan King

Photo: James Dean, left, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood star in "Rebel Without a Cause." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures 

Cannes 2012: A fest filled with wild (and divisive) experiments

May 27, 2012 |  2:30 pm

CANNES, France — The Cannes Film Festival didn't see a breakout on the order of “The Artist” this year. And yet “The Artist” was everywhere.

The silent film's sense of playfulness and disregard for convention pretty much infused the festival. Wherever one looked, there seemed to be another bold experiment — sometimes delighting audiences, often polarizing them.

Among the more well-received movies of the 65th edition of Cannes, which wrapped Sunday evening, was Leos Carax's “Holy Motors,” a surrealist romp through the streets of Paris. Some of its touches: A man biting the body parts off people at a cemetery-set photo shoot and limousines that spoke to one another in darkened garages.

PHOTOS: Cannes Film Festival 2012

Carax was hardly alone in his eccentricity. The Mexican director Carlos Reygadas offered “Post Tenebras Lux,” a dreamlike story shot with distorted lenses that featured a sex club where rooms are named after famous intellectuals. The film divided audiences but earned him the director's award.

Michael Haneke, the provocateur Austrian director of “Funny Games” and “The Piano Teacher” and a filmmaker who embodies a contemporary cinematic adventurousness, broke form himself by eschewing the violence and sex of his earlier work to make "Amour," a tender drama about aging, which took home the Palme d’Or prize Sunday evening.

And the Chilean Pablo Larrain directed one of the more unusual political films in recent years — a dramatic satire of the 1988 Chilean elections starring Gael Garcia Bernal that was shot to look as if the movie had been discovered on a VHS tape from the era. Tersely titled “No,” the movie became one of the fan favorites of the festival and scored a U.S. distribution deal from Sony Pictures Classics.

“I wanted people to feel like the archival footage we were using looked and felt like the rest of the movie,” Larrain told 24 Frames. “And I wanted to have a little fun with the medium.”

English-language directors did their share of wild noodling too. With “Cosmopolis,” David Cronenberg set nearly an entire movie in a stretch limousine as Robert Pattinson starred in a futuristic exploration of the end of technocapitalism.

The Oscar nominee Lee Daniels, meanwhile, tried his hand at an intensely heightened 1960's melodrama in “The Paperboy,” a period movie about race and murder starring Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron; the movie was so filled with over-the-top touches that it prompted pundit Eugene Hernandez to proclaim this the auteurs-gone-wild festival. Neither “Paperboy” nor “Cosmopolis” went over well with critics or festivalgoers.

Indeed, U.S.-set films, the subject of much hype coming into the festival, were also some of its biggest disappointments. Also faltering with festgoers was John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era “Lawless,” which starred Shia LaBeouf as a brother in a family of bootleggers.

LaBeouf and many Hollywood stars sought to use Cannes for another purpose: to reinvent themselves as more serious actors. Perhaps none did so more successfully than Matthew McConaughey, the romantic-comedy staple who established himself as a potential Oscar contender with his turn as an enigmatic homeless man in “Mud,” a contemporary spin on “Huckleberry Finn.” Directed by Jeff Nichols, “Mud” was by far the best-received movie of the English-language crop.

Attempts at a career makeover were also undertaken by the stars of one of the globe's biggest franchises. In addition to Pattinson's turn as a paranoid Wall Street mogul in “Cosmopolis,” Kristen Stewart, his “Twilight” costar and comrade in tween idoldom, tried a prestige turn in the long-awaited adaptation of Jack Kerouac's “On the Road.” The film received reasonably enthusiastic responses, as did Stewart for her role as Marylou from the iconic book.

“I just want to take good roles,” Stewart said, when asked by The Times about how this turn might propel her career. “That's true whether it’s a big movie or a small one, or a comedy or a drama, or if a director wants to try something completely new.”

She's in luck. Judging by this year's Cannes, plenty of filmmakers are willing to oblige.


Cannes 2012: 'Amour' captures festival's top prize

Cannes 2012: 'Holy Motors' has 'em saying Holy Moly

Cannes 2012: With 'Cosmpolis,' Rob Pattinson seeks acting cred

Cannes 2012: Jeff Nichols cleans up with 'Mud'

 — Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Denis Lavant in "Holy Motors." Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Cannes 2012: 'Amour' captures festival's top prize

May 27, 2012 | 11:42 am


CANNES, France -- In a rare convergence of critical, popular and jury tastes, the most admired film at the 65th Cannes Film Festival -- Michael Haneke's "Amour," starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva -- won the Palme d'Or on Sunday night. It was the second victory in four years for the Austrian Haneke, whose "The White Ribbon" also won in 2009.

 “Amour” is a devastating experience, the thrilling result of joining Haneke’s icy, immaculate style (think “Funny Games” and “Cache”) to an intrinsically emotional subject: what happens to the close, harmonious marriage of a couple in their 80s when the wife suffers a series of debilitating strokes. Shattering performances plus Haneke’s severe style add up to a stunningly moving experience.

For American movies at Cannes, it was a mixed year. None of the half-dozen U.S. titles -– which included “On the Road,” “Killing Me Softly,” “Paperboy” and “Mud”  -- won any prizes.

PHOTOS: Cannes Film Festival 2012

But it was an American film, Benh Zeitlin’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Beasts of the Southern Wild," that walked off with the coveted Camera d’Or for best first film across all of Cannes’ sections. The film also took the FIPRESCI or international critics’ prize for the Un Certain Regard section.

Aside from “Amour,” the film that did best at Cannes was “Beyond the Hills,” the new work by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, who won the Palme in 2007 for “Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days.”

“Beyond the Hills,” set during a crisis at a monastery, won the best screenplay prize for Mungiu and the best actress prize, split between its two stars, Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan.


NTERACTIVE: Cheat sheet guide to Cannes films

Cannes 2012: Michael Haneke's 'Amour' feels the love

Cannes 2012: 'Amour' director Haneke says he hasn't mellowed

-- Kenneth Turan

Photo: Austrian director Michael Haneke raises his trophy as he poses with French actress Emmanuelle Riva after being awarded with the Palme d'Or for his film "Amour." Credit: Valery Hache / AFP/Getty Images.

John Waters and documentary 'Vito' to open Outfest

May 16, 2012 | 11:44 am

Jeffrey Schwarz's "Vito," a documentary about the late gay activist Vito Russo, author of "The Celluloid Closet," will be the opening-night gala presentation at the 30th edition of Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

The oldest film festival in Los Angeles and the nation's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival takes place July 12 to 22. "Vito" will screen at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Outfest also announced Wednesday morning that filmmaker John Waters of "Pink Flamingos" and the original "Hairspray" will be receiving the 16th annual Achievement Award in recognition of a body of work that has "made a significant contribution to LGBT film and media."

Waters will also be performing his show "The Filthy World: Gayer and Filthier" July 11 at Hollywood Forever's Masonic Lodge.

For more information go to Outfest's website.


Obituary: Vito Russo, writer on homosexual issues

Book review: 'Role Models' by John Waters

 -- Susan King

Photo: John Waters will receive the 2012 Outfest Achievement Award. Credit: Los Angeles Times

L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival expands to Long Beach

May 10, 2012 |  2:16 pm

Sunset Stories

“The sexy ninja.” That’s how Korean American actor Sung Kang described the bulk of his roles to filmmaker Ernesto Foronda, his director in "Sunset Stories." Fononda was happy to give Kang the opportunity to do something different, and more complex, in his dark romantic comedy, which screens at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival this weekend.

“I’m really focused on telling Asian American stories and resisting these stereotypical depictions,” Foronda, who was born in the Philippines, said. “Where can you find a movie with an Asian American male lead with the romantic interest being a Latino woman? No one else is going to tell those stories.”

Sunset Stories” centers on the chance re-encounter of May (Monique Gabriela Curen) and her ex-fiancé JP (Kang), whom she left five years earlier. Shot and set in East Los Angeles, the film premiered at Austin's South by Southwest festival in March. Now Foronda, the film’s co-writer/co-director, and Silas Howard, who co-directed, are looking forward to presenting it to a hometown crowd this Saturday, when it will be LAAPFF’s domestic centerpiece screening.

The festival runs today through Sunday, May 20, featuring movies from more than 20 countries, all with an Asian themes or by Asian and Asian American filmmakers. In its 28th year, the festival is again presented by Visual Communications, an Asian Pacific American media arts center based in L.A.’s Little Tokyo.

“Sunset Stories” is one of 46 feature films, along with 142 shorts, that LAAPFF’s organizers hope will reach a wider audience this year as they work to expand the festival to the outer reaches of Los Angeles County. In addition to returning to the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood and CGV Cinemas in Koreatown, the festival will screen films at the Art Theater in Long Beach.

“My goal is to really expand the scope and footprint of the festival,” said LAAPFF’s artistic director Anderson Le. “The Long Beach venue is the first initiative to expand.”

2012 marks Le’s first year overseeing the festival, after three and a half years as a programming consultant. He and Visual Communications executive director Shinae Yoon hope to bring festival screenings to the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County in the future.

“To reach into some of these larger Asian American communities in L.A. we knew that we would need to take our programming to other parts of L.A.,” Yoon said. “This year in Long Beach we’re doing a heavy run of Pacific Islander works as well as Cambodian films to reach out to those communities down there.”

Le also is hoping to create programming beyond the annual festival, including a potential mini-festival of Taiwanese films in the fall.

“Cinema in Taiwan is experiencing a renaissance, and actually a lot of Taiwanese American filmmakers are moving to Taiwan to make Chinese-language films. We want to showcase that trend,” Le said.

Continue reading »

Awareness Film Festival aims to open eyes to social issues

May 3, 2012 |  5:08 pm

Hell and Back Again
Where else but Los Angeles would you find a nonprofit that offers donation-based yoga classes and also puts on its own annual film festival? Heal One World is such an organization, a 501(c)(3) that promotes alternative healthcare in low-income areas and will hold its third annual Awareness Film Festival this weekend.

The festival, which runs Thursday to Sunday, showcases films that explore contemporary social issues, be they environmental, political, spiritual, cultural or health-related.

Founder Skye Kelly was inspired to create the nonprofit after her own positive experiences with alternative therapies (yoga, tai chi, meditation) while recovering from a car accident, and her background in filmmaking shaped her fundraising efforts.

"I thought instead of doing a big charity fancy-schmancy dinner thing, I'd do a film festival and highlight the kind of films I was interested in making."

This year's programming begins Thursday with a screening of Danfung Dennis' Oscar-nominated war documentary "Hell and Back Again" at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City. The film, which follows a Marine as he attempts to re-enter civilian society after serving in Afghanistan, is one of several festival selections about veterans issues; others include "A Brotherhood: Reforged," "Medal of Honor: Extraordinary Valor" and "In Their Boots."

Friday features a sneak preview of "Greedy Lying Bastards," Craig Scott Rosebraugh's documentary about the fossil-fuel industry, and Saturday’s lineup includes a screening of Mary Liz Thomson's documentary "Who Bombed Judi Bari?" about the environmental activist who was initially blamed by authorities for a bombing attempt on her life in 1990 but who was posthumously vindicated by a federal jury. Sunday evening's closing film is Susan Froemke and Matthew Heinenman's "Escape Fire," which explores the widespread problems of the American healthcare system and which screened at Sundance in January.

The festival will also present panels on such topics as filmmaking as activism and making a difference. Most screenings will take place at the Regent Showcase theater in Hancock Park and the Macha Theater in West Hollywood.

Kelly said her ultimate goal with the festival was to open eyes and empower audiences by bringing attention to meaningful causes.

"I don't want to just see the problem," she said. "I want to see what's the light at the end of the tunnel."


Movie review: 'Hell and Back Again'

'Who Bombed Judi Bari?' documentary seeks an answer

Around Town: Marvel legend Stan Lee hosts 'Avengers' screening

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: "Hell and Back Again." Credit: Danfung Dennis.

Around Town: Marvel legend Stan Lee hosts 'Avengers' screening

May 3, 2012 |  6:00 am


Marvel Comics' guru Stan Lee will be honored with the Ronald Reagan Foundation's "Great Communicator" award and will host a screening of "The Avengers," which is opening theatrically this weekend, at the Catalina Film Festival. The festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at the venerable Avalon Theatre, will feature more than 75 films.

The opening night program is the North American premiere of Rob Reiner's "The Magic of Belle Isle" with Morgan Freeman. Other films include the North American premiere of "Bel Ami" with Robert Pattinson. http://www.catalinafilm.org

The South East European Film Festival kicks off Thursday at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles with the Romanian romantic comedy "Hello! How Are You?" and the animated short "Five Minutes Each." The festival, which continues through Monday, will feature 33 films including "Balkan Melodie" and "Do Not Forget Me Istanbul." The closing evening feature, "Future Lasts Forever," screens at the James Bridges Theater at UCLA.  http://www.seefilmla.org

The L.A. Harbor International Film Festival at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro kicks off Thursday evening and continues through Sunday. The non-competitive festival highlights films that deal with harbor life, including shipping, fishing, water sports and sailing. http://www.laharborfilmfest.com

Three years before she became a sensation in Josef von Sternberg's 1930 German blockbuster "The Blue Angel," Marlene Dietrich played a wealthy party girl named Emi in the silent film "Cafe Electric," directed by Gustav Ucicky. The film will be screening Thursday at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre with Gehard Gruber performing musical accompaniment on the piano.

Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg will discuss his late mother, actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, at the screening of two of her film noirs from 1946, "Three Strangers" and "Nobody Lives Forever," Saturday at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre.

Veteran director Arthur Hiller will be on hand Tuesday at the Aero Theatre for a talk after the screening of his popular 1979 comedy "The In-Laws," which starred Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. After the discussion, there will be a screening of Paul Mazurksy's 1988 comedy "Moon Over Parador" with Richard Dreyfuss. http://www.americancinematheque.com

In conjunction with its current exhibition, "Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States," the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents "Female Surreal Cinema: Animation," followed by "Female Surrealist Cinema: Performance and Montage," Thursday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theater.

LACMA's Tuesday matinee is Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 dark comedy "The Trouble With Harry," which marked the feature film debut of Shirley MacLaine. http://www.lacma.org

The New Beverly Cinema presents John Frankenheimer's nightmarish 1966 thriller "Seconds," with Rock Hudson in one of his most well-received performances, on Friday evening. James Wong Howe did the black-and-white cinematography. The second bill is John Woo's 1997 "Face/Off" with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. Screenwriters Mike Werb and Michael Colleary are scheduled to appear in person. http://www.newbevcinema.com

The Autry presents two films Saturday afternoon starring the museum's namesake-singing cowboy,  Gene Autry: 1941's "Down Mexico Way" and 1949's "The Big Sombrero."  http://theautry.org

UCLA Film & Television Archive is collaborating with the California State Parks Foundation and Environmental Media Assn. to present The ParkFilm Fest, a daylong festival of movies Saturday at the Paramount Theatre on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.  The festival, which celebrates the use of California state parks as locales in films, will present a marathon screening of the first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films directed by Gore Verbinski. http://www.calparks.org/filmfest.

The archive's current celebration of Universal's centenary at the Billy Wilder Theatre features two of the studio's silent film classics Sunday evening: 1919's "Blind Husbands," starring Erich von Stroheim, who also made his directorial debut with the hit, followed by the 1925 version of "The Phantom of the Opera" starring Lon Chaney in his seminal role.

The archive's Wednesday night programming at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown L.A. presents Billy Wilder's classic 1959 gender-bender comedy "Some Like It Hot," with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Hollywood Heritage Museum's Evening @ the Barn presents a look at "Homes of the Stars in Hollywood and Beverly Hills" Wednesday evening. Author Mike Oldham will show his vintage postcards in a video presentation.  http://www.hollywoodheritage.org

The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre's Wednesday evening vintage flick is an early one from William Wyler -- the 1929 romantic comedy "The Love Trap" -- plus Vitaphone shorts. http://www.cinefamily.org


Stan Lee to host 'Avengers' screening at the Catalina Film Festival

-- Susan King

Photo: Stan Lee will be receiving an award at the Catalina Film Festival this weekend. Photo: Matt Sayles/Associated Press

Film Independent announces lineup for Los Angeles Film Festival

May 1, 2012 | 10:00 am

"Magic Mike" at L.A. film fest

"Magic Mike," Steven Soderbergh's dramatic comedy set in the world of male strippers, will have its world premiere as the closing night program of the Los Angeles Film Festival next month.

The film, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, opens theatrically on June 29.

The festival, June 14-24 at L.A. Live's Regal Cinemas downtown as well as at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and REDCAT, announced its lineup Tuesday morning.

Film Independent, which presents the festival, previously had announced the opening night presentation (Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love") and its three galas ("Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Middle of Nowhere" and "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World").

The fest, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, will screen more than 200 features, shorts and music videos. [For the record: An earlier version of this post mistakenly had the number of films as more than 300.]

Ten films are featured in the Narrative Competition category, including several world premieres:

"Breakfast With Curtis," from writer/director/producer Laura Colella

"Dead Man's Burden," from writer/director Jared Moshe

"Four" from writer/director Joshua Sanchez

"Pincus" from writer/director David Fenster

"Red Flag" from writer/director/producer Alex Karpovsky

There are also several world premieres in the Documentary Competition category, including "Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives," "The Iran Job:,"  "A Band Called Death,"  "25 to Life,"  "Sun Kissed" and "Vampira and Me."

Among the15 films in the International Showcase are France's "The First Man," based on Albert Camus' autobiography; Argentina's "The Last Elvis," Switzerland's "Sister," which won the Silver Bear in Berlin, and "Summer Games"; and France's "Unforgivable," from veteran director Andre Techine.

The Summer Showcase programming includes the documentary "About Face," featuring fashion models from the last 60 years; "Celeste and Jesse Forever," with Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg; the documentary  "Neil Young Journeys," directed by Jonathan Demme; and "Robot and Frank," directed by Jake Schreier and starring Frank Langella.

Classic films will also be screened at the festival, including 30th anniversary presentations of Steven Spielberg's "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

There's also a "'Dirty Dancing Dance-A-Long," the world premiere of "Ballads, Blues and Bluegrass," a 1961 impromptu concert film that had not been released until now and the newly restored 1950 classic drama "The Breaking Point," with John Garfield and Patricia Neal, based on Ernest Hemingway's "To Have and Have Not."

Rounding out the festival are shorts programs, a future filmmakers showcase and music videos.

For a complete list, go to http://www.lafilmfest.com


"'To Rome With Love" to open the L.A. Film Festival

— Susan King

Photo: Alex Pettyfer, left, Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum star in "Magic Mike." Credit: Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.



L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival goes for big laughs, big breaks

April 26, 2012 |  7:00 am

LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival
You might say the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday night in downtown Los Angeles, was born amid tragedy. Co-founders Gary Anthony Williams and Jeannie Roshar, both actors and comedians, got the idea for the event while showing a humorous short at a surprisingly glum film festival in San Diego.

"Our little comedy was sandwiched between all these tragedies where literally in every one of them, somebody died," Williams said. "Nothing but death and destruction, and then there was our happy comedy."

The incident inspired them to create the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the festival runs Thursday to Sunday and aims to showcase and foster comedic talent with screenings, panel discussions, a screenwriting competition, nightly parties and a closing awards ceremony.

Highlights from this year's schedule include Thursday's celebrity short film block with work by Margaret Cho, Michael Cera and David Alan Grier; a discussion Friday with screenwriter Buck Henry ("The Graduate," "Catch-22"); and a panel Saturday titled "Famous People Talking About S&*%." Daily screenings will be held at the Downtown Independent theater, and buses will shuttle attendees to nighttime events at venues such as the Conga Room, the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Exchange L.A.

Williams, a comedy veteran who has written for "Malcolm in the Middle," acted on "Boston Legal" and done voice work on "The Boondocks," said one of the festival's initial goals was to encourage aspiring actors and comedians to create short films they could use as calling cards to show their skills. The festival's timing has also proved fortuitous as the popularity of short videos on the Web has exploded in recent years.

"Now there are so many short-form comedy content providers on the Internet," Williams said, citing websites such as Fremantle Media's Atomic Wedgie, Yahoo Screen, and Funny or Die (a festival sponsor). "Everybody's looking for producers and writers and people who can make stuff really funny, really well and really fast."

Past festival winners have gone on to work for companies such as Fremantle, Disney and CTV, Williams said.

Williams and Roshar's other goal for the festival is to entertain audiences, and one of the benefits of screening shorts, according to Williams, is that viewers are bound to see something they like.

"I guarantee you, you're going to laugh," he said, "or I'm going to let you punch me in the throat. One or the other. It's a punch-in-the-throat guarantee I'm offering."


Funny or Die on a mission to live large

KTLA previews L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival [video]

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: Attendees at the 2011 L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Credit: L.A. Comedy Shorts


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