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LA Film Fest Move Downtown Ignites Debate

LA Film Fest Move Downtown Ignites Debate

Thompson on Hollywood

The Los Angeles Film Festival move from its home in Westwood (which worked well for four years) to downtown Los Angeles is stirring mixed response. It’s not dissimilar to the reaction to Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson’s taking the Indie Spirit Awards from the beach to downtown. That didn’t play so well either. I don’t mind going downtown for the occasional museum or concert visit– but the idea of threading my way through rush hour traffic repeatedly over the course of a festival (June 17 to 27) gives me pause. (David Poland agrees.) UCLA-adjacent college town Westwood, with its cluster of movie theaters was easy to get to, walkable and intimate. I think that while the LAFF believes this will expand their base and accommodate growing attendance, they’re taking a serious risk.

Here’s Variety, indieWIRE, and Gregory Ellwood.

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Easy to get to? Westwood? Maybe if you live IN Westwood. Otherwise, the traffic and parking are as bad as downtown, if not worse. For the rest of LA, Westwood could not be more inconvenient. Downtown is just as walkable with similarly great venues but also has better bars, hotels and restaurants. Nevermind the fact that one can actually take the Metro Red and Gold Lines to all screenings and events and not even have to worry about parking/traffic. I, for one, will be spending a lot more time at LAFF this year thanks to this move. Imagine! The LAFF in the middle of LA! Amazing!


I have to agree with this article. I love the fact that Westwood is easy to get to, has a village where everything is in walking distance and neighborhoods nearby to park one’s car for free, not to mention the westside has much better weather during the fest time than congested downtown does. I was sad when they made the Spirit screenings downtown and this was the first year I didn’t attend any, simply because the traffic and getting there was not feasible for my schedule. Oh well, maybe they will return to Westwood??

Michael Heister

Westwood is walkable, intimate…. and DEAD.

Have you been to Westwood lately? By LA standards, it’s practically a ghost town.

Downtown, OTOH, is alive, vibrant, and has lots of hotel rooms.

Bitch about traffic all you want, but the Fest planners have made a wise decision.

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