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LAFF 2005.5: Last Days

LAFF 2005.5: Last Days

Here we are, in the homestretch of this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival. In the last days, there’s still plenty of activity, as the festival’s panels and seminars are running as we speak. And, there are still new films on the slate, including Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers and Margaret Brown’s Be Here To Love Me, both screening tonight.

Ironically, the best film I saw on Friday was Gus Van Sant’s Last Days. His semi-fictional account of a Kurt Cobain-like rock star’s days leading to suicide is the final installment in his trilogy of films including Gerry and Elephant. In relation to those two, I would say Last Days falls in between, both in terms of quality and content. Ultimately, I enjoyed it, but I could understand it being tough for some audiences.

I’m also curious about how knowledge of Cobain affects one’s viewing. In other words, I feel as though I enjoyed it more, because I know the Cobain story very well. But it seemed like some folks found it unappealing, for the same reasons. Regardless, it should certainly spark discussion when Picturehouse releases the film on July 22.

Here are some images from Friday at the festival:

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(We ran into Jara Fitzgerald outside the Sunset 5. Jara has worked PR for numerous outlets, including the Sundance Film Festival. She was happy to inform us that she just began a full-time gig as publicist for First Look Media.)

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(David Koh of Palm Pictures chills out in the Red Room, after just arriving in town from New York. David’s gonna be busy this year, with a whole slew of new films in theaters as well as coordinating events like the Goldeneye Film Festival in Jamaica.)

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(It was great to see this guy. Eric Byler, director of SXSW 2002 world premiere Charlotte Sometimes, hangs out at the Project: Involve Porch Party. I haven’t seen Eric since he was at SXSW and we got to catch up. Thanks to the success of his last film, he now has not one but two features in post-production. Keep an eye out for them on the festival circuit.)

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(Introducing the screening of Last Days is producer Dany Wolf, and actors Lukas Haas and Ricky Jay.)

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(Writer/director Shane Black hangs with Austin indie filmmaker Tracie Laymon in the Red Room. Shane was at the festival to discuss his upcoming release Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, which recently premiered in Cannes. Tracie just moved to L.A. from Austin, where she finished up a gig on the crew of The Real World.)

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(In the courtyard at the Laemmle Sunset 5, the festival hosted an outdoor screening of Brad Beesley’s Flaming Lips documentary, The Fearless Freaks. The doc, which premiered at SXSW in March, is now available on DVD.)

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