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Category: Film Independent

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.



Woody Allen’s 'To Rome with Love' to open L.A. Film Festival

April 12, 2012 | 11:05 am

To rome with love

After whisking audiences to France last year with “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen is bringing another Europe-set comedy to the big screen with this year’s “To Rome With Love.” Film Independent announced Thursday that the new movie will open the Los Angeles Film Festival on Thursday, June 14.

Written and directed by Allen, “To Rome With Love” marks the filmmaker’s first on-screen role since 2006’s “Scoop.” Also starring Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Greta Gerwig, the film depicts the romances and adventures of people in Rome. The cast plays a collection of Americans and Italians.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off this year’s festival than with the original independent filmmaker himself, Woody Allen. It’s a true honor for Los Angeles to host the North American premiere of 'To Rome With Love,'” Festival Director Stephanie Allain said in a statement.

The festival's screening at L.A. Live's Regal Cinemas will be the film's North American premiere.

“To Rome With Love” opens in Italy on April 20, and Sony Pictures Classics will distribute the film in the U.S. for a limited release on June 22.

The Los Angeles Film Festival, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, runs June 14-24 and will screen over 200 feature films, shorts and music videos. Passes are currently on sale to past festival attendees and Film Independent members, and will be available to the general public on April 22.


Indian Film Festival highlights emerging directors

L.A. Asian Pacific Film Fest to kick off with 'Shanghai Calling'

Oscars 2012: When Woody Allen got funny at Academy Awards

— Emily Rome

Photo: Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in "To Rome with Love." Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Around Town: Steve McQueen, the King of Cool, rides again

March 29, 2012 |  6:00 am


The American Cinematheque celebrates the legacy of King of Cool Steve McQueen at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood from Thursday through Sunday.

"Low Rider: The Super Charged Cinema of Steve McQueen" opens with one of his quintessential films, the 1968 detective thriller "Bullitt," in which he plays the unflappable, Mustang-driving San Francisco detective Frank Bullitt. Directed by Peter Yates, the film features one of the seminal car chase sequences ever put on film. Following "Bullitt" is McQueen's disappointing final film, 1980's "The Hunter," which was released shortly before his death.

Screening Saturday is the 1973 prison epic "Papillon" and the rarely seen 1963 comedy drama "Soldier in the Rain" with Jackie Gleason. McQueen's first wife, Neile Adams, will be on hand to sign her book "My Husband, My Friend" before the screening Saturday of 1963's classic World War II action-adventure "The Great Escape," which made McQueen a superstar.

The series concludes Sunday with Norman Jewison's sophisticated 1968 romantic caper thriller "The Thomas Crown Affair" with Faye Dunaway and 1972's thriller "The Getaway," directed by Sam Peckinpah, and also starring Ali MacGraw, who became the actor's second wife.

The Cinematheque's Aero Theatre wants you to pass the time by "playing a little solitaire" Thursday evening with a 50th anniversary screening of the iconic political thriller "The Manchurian Candidate," directed by John Frankenheimer, and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and an Oscar-nominated Angela Lansbury.

With the Farrelly brothers' take on the venerable comedy team "The Three Stooges" opening on April 13, the Cinematheque gets into the "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" spirit Sunday at the Aero with a double bill of Stooges slapstick -- 1962's "The Three Stooges Meets Hercules" and 1965's "The Outlaws Is Coming," which also features Adam West and several daytime kiddie TV hosts who showed Three Stooges shorts.

The Aero's "Wednesdays with Robert Altman" series kicks off with his 1971 revisionist western, "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" with Warren Beatty and an Oscar-nominated Julie Christie. www.americancinematheque.com

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Inside the Booth: A Journey Through Projection," kicks off Thursday evening at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Presented by the academy's Science and Technology Council, the series -- hosted by the academy's chief projectionist Marshall Gitlitz and silent film historian and projectionist Joe Rinaudo -- is a three-week exploration of the evolution of the motion picture camera.

The opening program, "The Birth of Projection," shines the spotlight on the works of such film pioneers as George Eastman and George Melies, features a demonstration of hand-cranked films and a screening of Buster Keaton's 1924 classic "Sherlock Jr.," in which he plays a projectionist who wants to become a detective. Though the event Thursday is sold out there will be a stand-by line.

Besides the series, there is also an exhibition, "Tech Art 2: The Projection Story," at the venue that features 30 color images of projection equipment shot by photographer Vince Gonzales, as well as projectors and other equipment. 

The series continues April 19 and May 4. www.oscars.org

Jason Reitman presents "The Big Lebowski," his final installment in his "Live Read" series for Film Independent at LACMA, on Thursday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theatre. The event is sold out but there will be a stand-by line.

Animation historians and authors Jerry Beck and Adam Abraham will be on hand Friday evening at LACMA for "Madcap Modernism: Mid-Century Cartoons from UPA and Beyond," which features two programs of innovative theatrical animation shorts from the 1950s.  LACMA's Tuesday matinee series at the Leo S. Bing Theatre presents one of the jewels in Preston Sturges' comedic crown: the 1942 romantic comedy "The Palm Beach Story," starring Joel McCrea, Claudette Colbert, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallee. www.lacma.org

UCLA Film &Television Archive's "Spencer Tracy: The Natural Thing" comes to a close Friday evening at the Billy Wilder Theater with the actor's final film, 1967's "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," which also stars Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton.  Karen Kramer, the widow of producer/director Stanley Kramer, will be the special guest.

The archive's Wednesday evening series at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles features two thrillers from William Castle: 1964's "Strait-Jacket," starring Joan Crawford and 1961's "Homicidal." www.cinema.ucla.edu

New Beverly Cinema showcases the Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton") Friday and Saturday with screenings of her most recent film, 2011's "We Need to Talk About Kevin," in which she plays the mother of a disturbed son and Sally Potter's 1992 version of Virginia Woolf's novel, "Orlando." www.newbevcinema.com

Film at Redcat presents "Narrative Bodies: Films and Videos by Abigail Child," Monday evening. Child will be appearing in person at the program, which features many of her avant-garde films including 1977's "Peripeteia I" and 1986's "Perils." www.redcat.org

 Paul Mazursky and actor George Segal will be reminiscing about "Blume in Love," the filmmaker's 1973 romantic comedy starring Segal and Kris Kristofferson, after a screening Tuesday evening at the Skirball Center. www.skirball.org

Silent screen legend Harold Lloyd would have been 119 on April 20, and the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre is celebrating his birthday Wednesday with a screening of two of his comedies: 1926's "For Heaven's Sake" and 1923's "Why Worry?" His granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd, will introduce the screening.  www.cinefamily.org


Regal Cinemas, country’s largest theater chain, will play 'Bully'

'Hunger Games': Should Jennifer Lawrence really look hungrier?

Claude Francois biopic 'My Way' opens City of Lights, City of Angels

--Susan King

Photo: Steve McQueen, left, and Robert Vaughn in "Bullitt." Credit: File photo

Movie producer Stephanie Allain named director of L.A. Film Festival

January 25, 2012 | 10:50 am


Veteran film producer Stephanie Allain has been named the new director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. She succeeds Rebecca Yeldham, who recently stepped down from the position she had held since 2009.

Allain, best known for her work as a producer on such films as "Black Snake Moan" and "Hustle & Flow,"  has served on the Film Independent Board of Directors since 2007 and recently chaired the Spirit Awards Nominating Committee. Film Independent runs both the Spirit Awards and the L.A. Film Festival.

"Stephanie has a clear vision for the festival, a stellar track record as a producer and a deep commitment to the Festival's filmmaker-centric focus," Film Independent co-president Sean McManus said in a statement.

Yeldham oversaw the transition of the Los Angeles Film Festival from Westwood to its new location in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to her role at Film Independent, Yeldham is an independent producer who recently completed her third project with director Walter Salles, "On the Road," an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel.

Allain will work closely with festival Managing Director Gloria Campbell and festival Artistic Director David Ansen to pull together the 2012 film festival slated to run June 14-24.

"The Los Angeles Film Festival is a unique celebration of cinema and a hub for filmmakers and film lovers, especially for those of us who live and work in the film industry," Allain said in a statement. "I can't wait to dive in and develop creative ways in which we can expand the festival and its programs."


Film Independent names Sean McManus and Josh Welsh co-presidents

Film Independent honcho named CEO for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Stephanie Allain on the set of "Hustle & Flow'" with writer-director Craig Brewer, left, and producer John Singleton Credit: Alan Spearman / Paramount Classics


Around Town: Foreign films and Spencer Tracy

January 12, 2012 |  6:00 am


The Aero’s Golden Globe Foreign-Language Nominee Series 2012 continues Thursday evening with the French drama “The Kid With a Bike.” On tap for Friday evening is Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War” with Christian Bale as an American missionary in China.

The day before the Golden Globes’ ceremony Sunday evening, the Egyptian and the Hollywood Foreign Press are co-presenting a Golden Globe Foreign-Language Nominee Panel Discussion featuring Zhang Yimou, Angelina Jolie (“In the Land of Blood and Honey”), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“The Kid With a Bike”), Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) and Pedro Almodovar (“The Skin I Live In”). The Saturday afternoon event is free but on a first-come first serve basis. http://www.americancinematheque.com

Film Independent at LACMA presents Cassavetes’ Shadow: Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Discussion and Screening on Thursday at the Leo S. Bing Theatre. The evening will feature the nominees for the 2012 John Cassavetes Award, which is given to a filmmaker who has made a film for less than $500,000. After the talk, Cassavetes’ low-budget first project as a filmmaker, 1959’s “Shadows,” will screen.

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Film Independent names Sean McManus and Josh Welsh co-presidents

January 10, 2012 |  2:02 pm

Six months after executive director Dawn Hudson left Film Independent to head up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization has appointed two insiders to share the role of president.

Film Independent board chairman Bill Condon announced today that senior director Sean McManus and director of artistic development Josh Welsh have been charged as the new co-presidents of the independent nonprofit.

McManus joined Film Independent in 1998 as development director and was promoted to senior director in 2006, overseeing fund development, marketing and communications, the annual Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the screening series held at LACMA.

Since 2002, Josh Welsh has overseen all of Film Independent's artistic development programs, including its filmmaker labs for directors, screenwriters, producers and documentarians. He both designed the curriculum for the labs and the selection of the organization's annual fellows. Welsh also oversees the grants program for the organization.

"They are a seasoned team whose skills and expertise complement one another beautifully,"  Condon said. "We're confident they will build upon the solid foundation Dawn established and will successfully usher Film Independent into the future."


Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: New Leadership at AMPAS

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is under fire

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Sean McManus speaks at the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations press conference in West Hollywood last November. Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images for Piaget

Around Town: Ray Charles and the Hollywood Film Festival

October 20, 2011 |  6:00 am

Long-lost concert footage of Ray Charles, a tribute to Disney concept designer Mary Blair and the Hollywood Film Festival are among this week’s highlights.

Considered lost for 50 years, the footage compiled in “Ray Charles — Live in France 1961,” filmed at the 1961 Antibes Jazz Festival in France, screens Thursday evening at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre. David Ritz, Charles’ biographer, will moderate a panel that includes Ray Charles catalog authority James Austin and producer Tom Gulotta. www.americancinematheque.com

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Marc Davis Celebration of Animation Thursday evening at the Samuel Goldwyn presents “Mary Blair’s World of Color — A Centennial Tribute.” Charles Solomon hosts the evening honoring the late visual color stylist and welcomes panelists including “Up!” director Pete Docter and animator Eric Goldberg. www.oscars.org

The 2011 Hollywood Film Festival gets underway at the ArcLight in Hollywood Friday evening with a screening of the romantic comedy “Dorfman,” starring Sara Rue and Elliott Gould. The festival continues through Monday evening at the ArcLight. Among the features, documentaries and shorts to be screened include “And They’re Off,” “Dispatch,” “The Trouble With Truth,” “The World of Z,” “A Journey With Purpose” and “sexting.” The festival’s Hollywood Film Awards take place Monday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. hollywoodawards.com/festival

Continue reading »

Around Town: 'Rum Diary' kicks off LACMA film series

October 12, 2011 | 10:44 am

The Los Angeles County Art Museum’s new screening program, Film Independent at LACMA, gets off to a big splash Thursday night at the Leo S. Bing Theatre with the world premiere of “The Rum Diary.” Based on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s novel , it stars Johnny Depp, Amber Heard and Aaron Eckhart. Depp, director Bruce Robinson (“Withnail & I”), Heard and Eckhart will be walking the red carpet.

On Tuesday evening, new curator Elvis Mitchell welcomes "How I Met Your Mother's" Josh Radnor for a screening of Charlie Chaplin's brilliant 1936 comedy "Modern Times," which was his last silent film.

LACMA’s Tuesday matinee is serving up Stanley Kramer’s 1967 romantic drama “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” starring Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy in his last film role, and Katharine Hepburn in her Oscar-winning turn. http://www.lacma.org

Continue reading »

Around Town: Black cinema, Sidney Lumet, monster movies and more

October 6, 2011 |  6:00 am



Halloween is coming early to the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre and Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theater.

Director John Landis looks at monsters in the movies Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at the Egyptian. The director of 1978’s “Animal House,” the influential 1981 horror film “An American Werewolf in London” and Michael Jackson’s 1983 music video “Thriller” has written a book, “Monsters in the Movies.” Landis opens the monster mash with two pre-code classics: 1933’s “Island of Lost Souls,” based on H.G. Wells’ “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” starring Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi, and Rouben Mamoulian’s visually striking 1931 version of “ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” for which Fredric March won his first lead actor Oscar in the dual role. Landis will appear in person at the screening. On tap for Saturday is a Frankenstein triple bill: 1931’s “Frankenstein,” 1935’s superior sequel “Bride of Frankenstein” and the underrated 1939 “Son of Frankenstein.” The retrospective concludes Sunday evening with two black-and-white ghost chillers: Jack Clayton’s 1961 “The Innocents,” based on Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw,” and Robert Wise’s “The Haunting.” http://www.americancinematheque.com

Cinefamily celebrates the sequels to famous horror films Thursday night with a triple bill of 1981’s “Halloween II,” 1987’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” and 1984’s “Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter.” http://www.cinefamily.org

The UCLA Film & Television Archive launches its ambitious two-month-long retrospective “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema” Friday evening at the Billy Wilder Theatre. The festival looks at some 50 African-American filmmakers who attended UCLA from the mid-1960s through the late 1980s. Julie Dash’s 1991 drama, “Daughters of the Dust,” and her 1975 short, “Four Women,” open “L.A. Rebellion” Friday evening. Dash will attend. Scheduled for the late afternoon Saturday is Zeinabu Irene Davis’ 2011 documentary, “Spirits of Rebellion: Black Film at UCLA." On tap for Saturday evening is Haile Gerima’s 1975-79 drama “Bush Mama” and Bernard Nicolas' 1977 short, “Daydream Therapy.” Nicolas will attend. A panel of the “L.A. Rebellion” filmmakers, including Dash, Davis, Ben Caldwell and Larry Clark, is scheduled for late Sunday afternoon, followed by several experimental shorts, including Barbara McCullough’s 1979 “Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification.”

The archive’s screening series at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles continues Wednesday with a David Cronenberg double bill: 1986’s “The Fly” with Jeff Goldblum and 1983’s “Videodrome,” starring James Woods. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

John Leguizamo, appearing at the Ricardo Montalban in “Ghetto Klown,” will be stopping by the Egyptian on Friday evening after his performance for the 10th-anniversary screening of Baz Lurhmann’s revisionist musical “Moulin Rouge!,” in which he costars with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman as painter Toulouse-Lautrec.

Continue reading »

Johnny Depp to kick off Film Independent's LACMA movie series

September 13, 2011 | 11:12 am

mber Heard and Johnny Depp in "The Rum Diary."
Johnny Depp will kick off the new Film Independent at LACMA Film Series on Oct. 13 with the premiere of "The Rum Diary," starring the Oscar-nominated actor. Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art made the announcement Tuesday.

The series replaces LACMA's longstanding weekend film series, whose curators included the late Ron Haver and more recently, Ian Birnie. Film Independent at LACMA is curated by film critic Elvis Mitchell in collaboration with LACMA film coordinator Bernardo Rondeau and Film Independent's programming team.

The series' weekly schedule officially begins Oct. 27, but there will be four earlier events, starting with the world premiere of Bruce Robinson's "The Rum Diary." In addition to Depp, the film stars Amber Heard and Aaron Eckhart, all of whom will be in attendance.

Writer-director Sean Durkin and actress Elizabeth Olsen will be on hand on Oct. 16 for the screening of the Sundance Film Festival hit "Martha Marcy May Marlene. " Two days later, LACMA will screen Charlie Chaplin's 1936 masterpiece, "Modern Times," with his 1922 short "Pay Day."

Jason Reitman will present a live read of John Hughes' script for the 1985 teen classic "The Breakfast Club" on Oct. 20. LACMA promises a surprise cast.

The official weekly series begins with Pier Paolo Pasolini's 1961 drama "Accatone!"

For more information go to www.lacma.org/film


LACMA to stage fundraising gala for its film program

Elvis Mitchell will head new LACMA film series

-- Susan King

Photo: Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in "The Rum Diary." Credit: Peter Mountain/FilmDistrict


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