The Los Angeles Film Festival made a slew of announcements regarding its 2011 edition today, including the appointment of Guillermo del Toro as the festival's guest director, as well as selections for closing night ("Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark"), a special screening ("Green Lantern"), galas (including Cannes premiere "Drive"), and conversations (including James Franco, who will also world premiere his "Broken Tower" at the fest). The Festival – produced by Film Independent - will run June 16-26. As previously announced, the festival will screen over 200 feature films, shorts and music videos from more than 30 countries.
In his role as guest director, del Toro will select a film to present at the Festival that has been an influence to him, followed by a conversation.
“Guillermo del Toro is one of the most visionary directors of our time. It’s an honor to welcome Guillermo back to our Festival as this year’s Guest Director and to unite our audiences with this extraordinary, consummate artist,” said Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham, in a statement. “Building on a tradition of providing our audiences with access to world-class artists and their work, we’re thrilled to announce this round of Festival additions.”
The world premiere of "Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark" - which Del Toro co-wrote - will close the Festival on June 26. Tthe horror film is directed by Troy Nixey, written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins and stars Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison. Based on the 1973 telefilm that del Toro believes is the scariest TV production ever made, the story follows Sally (Madison), a young girl who moves to Rhode Island to live with her father (Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Holmes) in the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the house, Sally starts to hear voices coming from creatures in the basement whose hidden agenda is to claim her as one of their own.
The festival also announced that it will hold a special screening on June 16 of summer comic book flick "Green Lantern." The film is directed by Martin Campbell, written by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, and stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins. In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite, powerful force has existed for centuries–protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the universe, their fate and the fate of the Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan. Warner Bros. will release the film wide the next day.
Two of the festival's Gala Screenings were also announced (additional films are to be announced later this month): The world premiere of "A Better Life" - directed by Chris Weitz and starring Demián Bichir, José Julián, Dolores Heredia, Joaquín Cosío and Carlos Linares; and "Drive," which will debut in Cannes next week. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, and starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Ron Perlman and Christina Hendricks, the crime caper stars Gosling as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for criminal operations by night.
James Franco will be sitting down for "a freewheeling discussion of film, poetry and pushing the creative envelope" as part of the festival's conversations series. As part of the evening, Franco will present the world premiere of "The Broken Tower," which he wrote, directed and stars in, about the brief life of the gay, visionary American poet Hart Crane.
Film and stage director Julie Taymor will also take part in the series, sharing behind-the-scenes clips in a conversation about "taking material from different sources and translating them to the stage and the screen.:
“Something very special happens when you have great talents sharing their experience with an audience. We’re honored and excited to have such artists as Guillermo del Toro, Julie Taymor, James Franco, Chris Weitz, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Nicolas Winding Refn joining us this year. It should make for some magical nights!” said Festival Artistic Director David Ansen in a statement.
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.
Check out these prior participants in the Los Angles Film Festival, courtesy of SnagFilms [Disclaimer: SnagFilms is indiewire's parent company]
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