LA Film Festival Unveils Opening Lineup Of US, International Films

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Director Chris Weitz speaks the intro at 'A Better Life' World Premiere Gala Screening during the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE on June 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Director Chris Weitz speaks the intro at ‘A Better Life’ World Premiere Gala Screening during the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE on June 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (LAFilmFestival.com) — The Los Angeles Film Festival has announced the first round of official US and international selections.

The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival is produced by Film Independent — the non-profit arts organization that also produces the Spirit Awards — and will screen over 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 30 countries. Opening and Closing Night films, Galas, Conversations, Artists in Residence, LAFCA’s Films That Got Away, along with additional special guests and programming for the Festival Talks will be announced at later dates.

Returning to downtown Los Angeles, with its central hub at L.A. LIVE, the Festival will run from Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 26. Now in its seventeenth year, the Festival is recognized as a world-class event, showcasing the best in new American and international cinema and providing the movie-loving public with access to critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.

This year, the Festival received more than 5,025 submissions from filmmakers around the world, compared to over 4,700 from last year. The final selections represent 27 World, North American, and US premieres. The number of films competing in the narrative and documentary competition categories increased this year from 18 to 19, of which 11 are World premieres and 8 are North American or US premieres. The number of female feature filmmakers also increased this year from 21 to 23.

For the sixth year, the Los Angeles Times will serve as the Festival’s presenting partner and will once again produce the Official Film Guide, the comprehensive source for all movie info, screenings, locations, and related special events. The Film Guide will top the paper on Sunday, June 12 in Los Angeles and Orange County, and will be made available throughout downtown Los Angeles during the ten-day event.

“We experienced our most successful year ever when we were downtown last year for the first time, and we can’t wait to return with this diverse, rich and exciting program of film,” said Los Angeles Film Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham. “We’re looking forward to reuniting our community of filmmakers and film lovers with this year’s program of memorable cinematic events and experiences.”

“I’m very excited about the broad range of movies we’ve assembled for our second year downtown. Many of them are made in Los Angeles and reflect the city’s tremendous diversity,” said Festival Artistic Director David Ansen. “There are delights for every kind of movie lover — an original musical, a 4½ hour epic from a master director, a comedy from Iran, cutting-edge horror films, the best of new Cuban cinema and a wide variety of Spanish-language movies, entries from some great new French Canadian directors, a very strong line-up of gay and lesbian films, and documentaries that will change the way you look at the world.”

“Film Independent has been producing the Los Angeles Film Festival for ten years now, and we’re incredibly proud of its growth, the diverse artists we’ve supported, and the breadth of films we’ve shared with both a local and international audience,” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. “This year’s Festival also has many returning filmmakers, as well as Fellows who have gone through Film Independent’s year-round programs, and we’re excited to screen their latest work.”

To celebrate the line-up announcement, the Los Angeles Film Festival will also be presenting a free outdoor, screening tonight at 7:00 p.m. of Pretty in Pink at Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE (777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles, CA 90015). The screening marks the 25th anniversary of the film and director Howard Deutch, actor Jon Cryer, and Festival filmmakers will be in attendance. Guests who arrive in ‘80s attire will receive two vouchers to the Festival, and special discounted passes and packages will be available for purchase. A “Pink” Beer and Wine Garden will be open in Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE at 5:00 p.m. and parking is $8 cash at Gate G in the West Garage.

Passes to attend the Festival are currently available to the general public, with special rates for Film Independent members. In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Filmmaker Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community.

General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 31. Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345-6337) or visit LAFilmFest.com. Festival passes and tickets can also be purchased in person beginning on Monday, June 13 at the Coca-Cola Ticket Center, located in the Festival Village on the rooftop of the West Parking Garage at L.A. LIVE.

Narrative Competition (10): The Narrative Competition is comprised of films made by talented emerging filmmakers that compete for the Filmmaker Award. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
• The Bad Intentions, Rosario Garcia-Montero – Argentina/Germany/Peru – US PREMIERE
• The Dynamiter, Matthew Gordon – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Familiar Grounds, Stephane Lefleur – Canada – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• The Fatherless, Marie Kreutzer – Austria – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• How to Cheat, Amber Sealey – WORLD PREMIERE
• Mamitas, Nicholas Ozeki – WORLD PREMIERE
• An Ordinary Family, Mike Akel – WORLD PREMIERE
• Please Do Not Disturb, Mohsen Abdolvahab – Iran – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Sawdust City, David Nordstrom – WORLD PREMIERE
• You Hurt My Feelings, Steve Collins – WORLD PREMIERE

Documentary Competition (9): The Documentary Competition is comprised of films made by talented emerging filmmakers that compete for the Documentary Award. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.
• Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park – South Korea – US PREMIERE
• Family Instinct, Andris Gauja – Latvia – US PREMIERE
• Once I Was a Champion, Gerard Roxburgh – WORLD PREMIERE
• Paraiso For Sale, Anayansi Prado – WORLD PREMIERE
• Salaam Dunk, David Fine – Iraq/USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Somewhere Between, Linda Goldstein Knowlton – US PREMIERE
• Unfinished Spaces, Alysa Nahmias, Benjamin Murray – WORLD PREMIERE
• Unraveled, Marc H. Simon – US PREMIERE
• Wish Me Away, Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf – WORLD PREMIERE

International Showcase (18): The International Showcase highlights innovative independent narrative and documentary features from outside of the United States. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
• 108, Renate Costa – Spain/Paraguay
• Christopher and His Kind, Geoffrey Sax – United Kingdom – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Come Rain, Come Shine, Lee Yoon-ki – South Korea – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Curling, Denis Côté – Canada
• The Destiny of Lesser Animals, Deron Albright – Ghana/USA
• Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within, Jose Padilha – Brazil (New Video)
• Eternity, Sivaroj Kongsakul – Thailand
• Family Portrait in Black and White, Julia Ivanova – Canada
• Kawasaki’s Rose, Jan Hrebejk – Czech Republic (Menemsha Films)
• Love Crime, Alain Corneau – France (IFC Films)
• Medianeras, Gustavo Taretto – Argentina/Germany/Spain (IFC Films) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Mysteries of Lisbon, Raúl Ruiz – Portugal (Music Box Films)
• Ocaso, Theo Court – Chile – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Position Among the Stars, Leonard Retel Helmrich – Netherlands
• The Salesman, Sébastien Pilote – Canada
• Self Made, Gillian Wearing – England
• Senna, Asif Kapadia – England (PDA)
• Tomboy, Céline Sciamma – France (Rocket Releasing) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Summer Showcase (18): The Summer Showcase section offers an advance look at this summer’s most talked about independent film releases from the festival circuit. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
• Another Earth, Mike Cahill (Fox Searchlight)
• Elevate, Anne Buford
• The Future, Miranda July (Roadside Attractions)
• The Guard, John Michael McDonagh – Ireland (Sony Pictures Classics)
• Higher Ground, Vera Farmiga (Sony Pictures Classics)
• Leave It on the Floor, Sheldon Larry – WORLD PREMIERE
• Letters From the Big Man, Christopher Munch
• L!fe Happens, Kat Coiro – WORLD PREMIERE
• Natural Selection, Robbie Pickering
• Page One: Inside the New York Times, Andrew Rossi (Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media)
• The Pruitt-lgoe Myth, Chad Freidrichs
• Renée, Eric Drath (ESPN Films)
• Sex Crimes Unit, Lisa F. Jackson (HBO Films)
• Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul, Kai Sehr
• Terri, Azazel Jacobs (ATO)
• Tyrannosaur, Paddy Considine – England (Strand Releasing)
• Where Soldiers Come From, Heather Courtney
• Winnie the Pooh, Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall (Disney)

Outdoor Screenings at the Ford Amphitheatre (3): These official Los Angeles Film Festival selections, sponsored by Brand X, are included as part of the 2011 Ford Amphitheatre Summer Season; a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
• Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, Michael Rapaport
• Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Tsui Hark – Hong Kong
• The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, Ron & Russell Mael aka Sparks and Guy Maddin – WORLD MUSICAL PREMIERE

International Spotlight – Cuba (4): This year, our International Spotlight focuses on Cuba, whose films rarely find distribution in the U.S. We’re proud to showcase the best of the new and recent Cuban cinema. Sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and UCLA Latin American Institute.
• Habana Eva, Fina Torres – Cuba/France/Venezuela
• Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba, Estela Bravo – Cuba
• Suite Habana (2003), Fernando Pérez – Cuba
• Ticket to Paradise, Gerardo Chijona Valdes – Cuba

Documenting Mexico (2): Inspired by the efforts of the Ambulante Film Festival, a traveling film event designed to promote a documentary culture across Mexico, we are pleased to highlight two outstanding documentaries from Mexico’s vibrant documentary filmmaking culture. Sponsored by HOY.
• The Night Watchman, Natalia Almada – Mexico
• The Tiniest Place, Tatiana Huezo – Mexico

Community Screenings (7): These films will be presented free to the public. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature or Best Documentary Feature.
• The Bully Project, Lee Hirsch (The Weinstein Company)
• Choose Your Own Movie – vote at LAFilmFest.com for this free outdoor screening
• Crime After Crime, Yoav Potash – Grand Performances Screening
• Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), John Hughes – 25th Anniversary Screening
• Hot Coffee, Susan Saladoff (HBO Films)
• On the Ice, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean – Project:Involve Screening
• Project Nim, James Marsh – United Kingdom (Roadside Attractions)
• Stand By Me (1986), Rob Reiner – 25th Anniversary Screening

The Beyond (5): The Beyond offers films that dare to be different. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
• Entrance, Dallas Hallam, Patrick Horvath
• Haunters, Kim Min-suk – South Korea – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• The Innkeepers, Ti West
• Karate-Robo Zaborgar, Iguchi Noboru – Japan
• The Yellow Sea, Na Hong-jin – South Korea

Retro (2):
• Boyz n the Hood (1991), John Singleton – 20th Anniversary Digitally Re-Mastered Screening with a Cast & Crew Reunion
• Das Boot (1981), Wolfgang Peterson – Germany – 30th Anniversary Digitally Re-Mastered Screening

The Film Foundation Screening Program (1):
• Wild River (1960), Elia Kazan

Short Films (42): Shorts are shown before features and as part of five short film programs. With their diverse and complex content, these films shine brilliantly. Most short films, domestic and international, will compete for prizes in Narrative, Documentary, and Animation/Experimental categories. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors. An Audience Award for Best Short Film is also presented.
• Shorts Program 1-5

Future Filmmakers Showcase: High School Shorts (33): These two programs of shorts are made by high school students from around the country, featuring work by the next generation of filmmakers.
• Programs 1-2

Music Videos (48): The Music Video Showcase consists of three programs. Our two Eclectic Mix programs are a visual mix tape of this year’s best independent music videos, with a few innovative major label artists thrown in for good measure. Music videos will compete for an Audience Award.
• Eclectic Mix 1-2
• Kewl Vids by Eric Wareheim

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