By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 18, 2009 at 4:32AM
Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo" will close this year's Los Angeles Film Festival on Sunday, June 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mann Village Theater. Japanese animation legend Miyazaki latest, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid," is already a box-office success in Japan. It follows the story of a young goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by Noah Cyrus) and her quest to become human, and features voice work from an impressive array of talent: Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White and Frankie Jonas as Sosuke, a young boy who befriends Ponyo. The movie opens in theaters care of Walt Disney on August 14, 2009.
"It was our ambition that the tentpoles of the Festival reflect the spectrum of great cinema and cinematic experiences. We couldn't be more proud to close the Festival with the premiere of this exquisite re-voicing of Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo," said Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham in a statement
The festival also announced two additional selections for their free screenings section - Louie Psihoyos' "The Cove" and Rebecca Cammisa's "Which Way Home" - and the lineup for their "Festival Conversations." The full list of the latter is below (with descriptions care of the festival). For the previous announced programming, click here. The festival will run from June 18 to 28, 2009.
Festival Conversations: .
Family Man: Robert Rodriguez - Beyond writing, producing, shooting, editing, and scoring his movies, Robert Rodriguez has made filmmaking a family affair. The Rodriguez household has once again joined forces for the family movie Shorts and is coming to the Festival to talk about their collaboration and share an exclusive look at the making of the film. Join us for this exciting Q&A, where the kids take control.
Spotlight on Ambulante Film Festival: Filmmaking without Borders - Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna's Ambulante Film Festival comes to our Festival and highlights the work of Mexican documentaries. Ambulante filmmakers explore their role as storytellers in an increasingly global world with other Festival filmmakers.
Graphic Explosion - Adaptations of comic books and graphic novels have proliferated in recent years, and it's no all superheroes: Sin City, 300, Wanted, and Persepolis all came from graphic novels. A group of filmmakers, artists, writers, and fans explore Hollywood's fascination with the medium and the creative challenges of translating them to the screen. Panelists include Zak Penn (Screenwriter, Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Barry Levine (Publisher, Radical Comics).
Propaganda & Satellite Class Reunion - Join us after our Propaganda & Satellite Tribute Music Video Screening with some of its founders and artists to reminisce on a great era of music videos and filmmaking. Sponsored by IFC.
An Evening with Thom Mayne - Pritzker prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the renowned architectural firm Morphosis, comes to the Festival to share his passion for space, light, and cinema.
Post-Gay Hollywood?: Straight Talk about Gay Movies - Now that gays and lesbians have achieved such high cultural visibility, a new crop of films and TV shows is blurring the line between gay and straight - from the buddy love of bromances, to dramatic ensembles that feature LGBT characters whose sexuality is no longer the primary plot point. In the wake of Prop 8, we examine how LGBT people in film and television are shaping the socio-political landscape and turning the once-closeted into the quotidian.
Poolside Chats: As the sun sets over the pool at the W Los Angeles - Westwood Hotel, sip a cocktail and listen in on some of the city's most fascinating people discuss their passion for everything film and L.A. Topics will explore the interplay between contemporary art and film (Reel Art L.A.), transforming the everyday into the cinematic (Reel Life L.A.), and exploring the outer limits of Los Angeles beyond the film industry (Unreel L.A.). Panelists include: Judy Baca (Artist & Activist), Robbie Conal (Guerilla Artist), Kevan Hall (Fashion Designer), Alex McDowell (Production Designer, Watchmen), and Garth Trinidad (KCRW DJ), with additional names to be announced. Sponsored by the W Los Angeles - Westwood Hotel.
Coffee Talks: On June 21 at the W Los Angeles - Westwood Hotel, the Festival's popular Coffee Talks are back with intimate conversations amongst some of today's most interesting film figures...and, of course, coffee for everyone. Panelists include: Michel Gondry (Director, The Green Hornet), Alex Tse (Screenwriter, Watchmen), and Lyle Workman (Composer, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), with additional names to be announced. Sponsored by BMI, Directors Guild of America, SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild, and Writers Guild of America, West.
Film Financing Conference: The Film Financing Conference, on Saturday, June 20 at the Landmark, is a day full of workshops and panels for both the novice and the seasoned producer. From a primer on film financing to detailed discussions on current trends in production and distribution, this conference will provide first-hand information on advice from the experts. This year's keynote speaker is James D. Stern, CEO of Endgame Entertainment, co-producer & co-director of Every Little Step, and producer of An Education and I'm Not There. Panelists include Christian Gaines (Withoutabox), Sacha Gervasi (Director, Anvil! The Story of Anvil), Sten Iverson (Montana Film Office), Scott Kirsner (Author, Fans, Friends & Followers), Amy Lemisch (California Film Commission), Ted Mundorff (Landmark Theaters), Jean Prewitt (IFTA), Paula Schmit (Film Finances), Bob Teitel (Producer, Notorious), Ryan Werner (IFC Entertainment), and Adam Yauch (Oscilloscope), with additional panelists to be confirmed. Sponsored by Montana Film Office and Surpin & Mayersohn, LLP.