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Los Angeles Film Festival Unveils 2009 Line up; “Public Enemies” Centerpiece

Los Angeles Film Festival Unveils 2009 Line up; "Public Enemies" Centerpiece

With 200 features, shorts and music videos from 30 countries, Film Independent unveiled details for the 15th Los Angeles Film Festival, taking place June 18 – 28. New to this year’s narrative and documentary competitions are international premieres along with world and U.S. debuts. This year’s narrative and documentary competitions include eight world premieres and three U.S. premieres. Director Michael Mann’s action-thriller, “Public Enemies” will screen as LAFF’s Centerpiece premiere. The fil stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Academy Award(R) winner Marion Cotillard in the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp).

Other highlights include selections from actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal’s Abulante Film Festival, a traveling event spotlighting documentary in Mexico, including the International Premiere of Anais Huerta and Raul Cuesta’s “Rehje.” LAFF’s opening and closing films, as well as panels and other highlights will be announced at a later date.

“The 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival is a celebration of culture, cinema and community: a festival where everyday movie lovers can see films they otherwise might not see, hear first-hand from the artists and filmmakers that inspire them, and get a sneak peek at the great movies of the summer,” said Los Angeles Film Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham in a statement. “It’s a beautiful program, and I can’t wait to share it with our audiences.”

Centerpiece, Narrative and Documentary competition and other section line ups with descriptions provided by the Los Angeles Film Festival:


“Public Enemies” (Director: Michael Mann; Writers: Ronan Bennett and Michael Mann & Ann Biderman; Producers, Kevin Misher, Michael Mann; Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, Emilie de Ravin, Giovanni Ribisi) – In the action-thriller Public Enemies, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Academy Award(R) winner Marion Cotillard in the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp) — the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover’s fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale), and a folk hero to much of the public.

Narrative Competition:

“Dear Lemon Lima” (Director/writer: Suzi Yoonessi; Producers: Melissa Lee, Jonako Donley; Cast: Savanah Wiltfong, Shayne Topp, Melissa Leo, Beth Grant, Elaine Hendrix, Meaghan Jette Martin, Vanessa Marano, Zane Huett, Eleonor Hutchins) – As sweet and colorful as a snow cone, this delightful happy-sad confection follows an awkward Alaskan teen as she discovers her Yup’ik heritage while rallying her fellow misfits to compete in her school’s Snowstorm Survivor competition. World Premiere

“Harmony & Me” (Director/writer: Bob Byington; Producer: Kristen Tucker; Cast: Justin Rice, Kevin Corrigan, Pat Healy, Kristen Tucker) – Break-ups are never easy, but as twenty- something Harmony learns in this offbeat, eloquent film, there’s nothing like weird family, odd friends, and great music to help you hang on to your pain.

“Hollywood, je t’aime” (Director/writer: Jason Bushman; Producer: Charles Herman- Wurmfeld; Cast: Eric Debets, Chad Allen) – After a spat with his boyfriend, Jerome escapes a wintery Paris in search of his California dreams, finding romance and friendship with the pot dealers, drag queens, and locals of the “real” Hollywood. World Premiere

“Passenger Side” – Canada (Director/writer: Matt Bissonnette; Producer: Corey Marr; Cast: Adam Scott, Joel Bissonnette, Robin Tunney) – Tobey needs a ride from his brother, except he won’t say where to or what for. Family bonds bend but don’t quite break on this comedic trail of lost loves and old grievances. World Premiere

“Turistas” – Chile (Director/writer: Alicia Scherson; Producer: Macarena Lopez; Cast: Aline Kuppenheim, Diego Noguera, Marcelo Alonso) – Abandoned by her husband while on holiday, Carla unexpectedly finds herself vacationing in a national park, alongside a Norwegian backpacker and a former pop star-turned-ranger, in this tale of self-discovery and the laws of nature. U.S. Premiere

“Wah Do Dem” (What They Do) (Co-directors/co-writers: Sam Fleischner, Ben Chace; Producers: Sam Fleischner, Katina Hubbard, Ben Chace, Martha Lapham, Henry Kasdon; Cast: Sean Bones, Norah Jones, Kevin Bewersdorf, Carl Bradshaw) – Max’s dream Caribbean cruise becomes a solitary odyssey after his girlfriend dumps him days before their departure. Now, he’ll have to go with the Jamaican flow in this disarming and incisive debut feature. World Premiere

“Zero Bridge” (Director/writer: Tariq Tapa; Producers: Hilal Ahmed Langoo, Josee Lajoie, Tariq Tapa; Cast: Mohamad Emran Tapa, Ali Luhammed Dar, Taniya Khan) – Teen pickpocket Dilawar wants to escape his dreary life, but a chance encounter with one of his victims upends his plans in this gritty, moving story about life in occupied Kashmir. U.S. Premiere

[Documentary competition and other LAFF section line ups on Page 2]

Documentary Competition:

“After the Storm” (Director: Hilla Medalia; Writer: Bob Eisenhardt, Hilla Medalia; Producers: Hilla Medalia, James Lecense; Featuring: Gerry McIntyre, James Lecesne, Randy Redd) – A celebration of perseverance and rebirth through the arts, this inspiring documentary follows a group of New Orleans teens as they stage a revival of the hurricane- themed musical Once on this Island. World Premiere

“Bananas!*” – Sweden (Director: Fredrik Gertten; Producer: Margarete Jangard; Featuring: Juan Dominguez) – The human cost of banana cultivation is revealed in this documentary chronicling the historic case of Nicaraguan laborers, represented by L.A. attorney Juan Dominguez, against the companies who poisoned them with pesticides. World Premiere

“Branson” (Director/Writer: Brent Meeske; Producers: Brent Meeske, Jack Black, Ben Cooley, Justin Moore-Lewy, Charlie Mason; Featuring: Jackson Cash, Amber Campbell, Geoffrey Hastings Haberer) – Personal demons and backstage battles cannot deter the performers captured in this hearfelt documentary from living out their dreams of stardom on the strip-mall stages of Branson, Missouri. World Premiere

“Convention” (Director: AJ Schnack; Producers: Jennifer Chikes, Britta Erickson, Shirley Moyers, AJ Schnack, Nathan Truesdell) – Capturing what the mainstream media missed, this fast-paced verite documentary follows the efforts of Denver city officials and reporters to deal with the impact of hosting the historic 2008 Democratic National Convention.

“The Last Beekeeper” (Director: Jeremy Simmons; Producers: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato) – An intimate look at the struggles of three American beekeepers becomes a painful meditation on the devastating effects of economic and ecological change when a mysterious illness among the bees threatens both insects and businesses.

“October Country” (Co-directors: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher; Producers: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher FEATURING The Mosher Family) – A beautifully crafted, atmospheric portrait of a family in upstate New York haunted by the past, yet bound together by their struggles to break a cycle of hard luck and bad choices. World Premiere

“Those Who Remain” – Mexico (Co-directors: Juan Carlos Rulfo, Carlos Hagerman; Producers: Juan Carlos Rulfo, Carlos Hagerman, Martha Sosa Elizondo, Nicolas Vale) – From this intimate and discerning depiction of the impact of migration on families and villages left behind by loved ones who have traveled North for work emerges a nuanced portrait of “the other side” of the immigration story. U.S. Premiere

International Showcase
The International Showcase highlights 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.

“Adhen,” by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche – France/Algeria
“Autumn,” Oezcan Alper – Turkey
“Birdwatchers,” Marco Bechis – Italy/Brazil (IFC Festival Direct)
“Bronson,” Nicolas Winding Refn – England (Magnolia Pictures)
“Calimucho,” Eugenie Jansen – Netherlands
“Call If You Need Me,” James Lee – Malaysia – North American Premiere
“Carmen Meets Borat,” Mercedes Stalenhoef – Netherlands
“City of Borders,” Yun Suh – Israel
“Elementary Training for Actors,” Martin Rejtman – Argentina – International Premiere
“Extraordinary Stories,” Mariano Llinas – Argentina
“High-Rise,” Gabriel Mascaro – Brazil – North American Premiere
“Los Bastardos,” Amat Escalante – Mexico (Kino International)
“Mid-August Lunch,” Gianni di Gregorio – Italy
“My Dear Enemy,” Lee Yoon-ki – South Korea
“Our Beloved Month of August,” Miguel Gomes – Portugal/France
“The Queen and I,” Nahid Persson Sarvestani – Sweden (7th Art Releasing)
“Sacred Places,” Jean-Marie Teno – France/Cameroon
“Stella,” Sylvie Verheyde – France
“Unmade Beds,” Alexis Dos Santos – England (IFC Festival Direct)
“A Week Alone,” Celina Murga – Argentina
“West of Pluto,” Henry Bernadet, Myriam Verreault – Canada

International Spotlight – Documenting Mexico: Selections from the Ambulante Film Festival

“Born Without,” Eva Norvind – Mexico
“El General,” Natalia Almada – Mexico/USA
“Rehje,” Anais Huerta, Raul Cuesta – Mexico – International Premiere

Summer Showcase

35 Shots of Rum, Claire Denis – France (Cinema Guild)
“Big River Man,” John Maringouin
“Cold Souls,” Sophie Barthes (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
“Facing Ali,” Pete McCormack (Lionsgate)
“Humpday,” Lynn Shelton (Magnolia Pictures)
“In the Loop,” Armando Iannucci – England (IFC Films)
“It Might Get Loud,” Davis Guggenheim (Sony Pictures Classics)
“No Impact Man,” Laura Gabbert & Justin Schein
“Paper Heart,” Nicholas Jasenovec (Overture Films)
“Still Walking,” Hirokazu Kore-eda – Japan (IFC Films)
“We Live in Public,” Ondi Timoner

Dark Wave

“Embodiment of Evil,” Jose Mojica Marins – Brazil
“I Sell the Dead,” Glenn McQuaid

Guilty Pleasures

“Weather Girl,” Blayne Weaver
“ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction,” Kevin Hamedani

Outdoor Screenings at the Ford Amphitheatre

“13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests,” with Live Accompaniment by
Dean & Britta
“All Tomorrow’s Parties, All Tomorrow’s People & Jonathan Caouette” – England
“Black Dynamite,” Scott Sanders (Sony Pictures)
“Soul Power,” Jeffrey Levy-Hinte (Sony Pictures Classics)

Special Screenings:

“Crude Oil,” Wang Bing – China – North American Premiere
“Panda Diary,” Tadashi Mori – Japan – North American Premiere

Behind the Scenes – Films with Extended Conversations:

“Billy Jack,” T.C. Frank (1971) – new digital restoration: followed by a conversation with Tom Laughlin.
“Midnight Cowboy,” John Schlessinger (1969) – 40th anniversary: preceded by a conversation with Jon Voight.

L.A. Film Critics: The Films That Got Away: Co-presented by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the UCLA Film & Television Archive:

“Musica Nocturna,” Rafael Filipelli – Argentina
“Silence Before Bach,” Pere Portabella – Spain
“United Red Army,” Koji Wakamatsu – Japan

Hell on Wheels: Hot Rods and Fast Times: Co-presented by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

“Hi-Riders,” Greydon Clark (1978)
“Hot Rod Girl,” Leslie H. Martinson (1956)
“Hot Rods to Hell,” John Brahm (1967)

Film Foundation & American Express Preservation Screening Program:

“Night Tide,” Curtis Harrington (1961)

Free Screenings:

“Amreeka,” Cherien Dabis (National Geographic Films) – Project:Involve Screening
“Crude Oil,” Wang Bing – China – North American Premiere
“Election,” Alexander Payne (1999) – 10th Anniversary
“Ghostbusters,” Ivan Reitman (1984) – 25th Anniversary
“Hot Rod Girl,” Leslie H. Martinson (1956)
“How I See It: Youth Filmmaking From Streets to Streams”
“The Muppet Movie,” James Frawley (1979) – 30th Anniversary
“Those Who Remain,” Juan Carlos Rulfo, Carlos Hagerman – Mexico – U.S. Premiere

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