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LA Film Fest 2011: Programmers Talk Lineup for Downtown Festival, June 16-26 UPDATED

LA Film Fest 2011: Programmers Talk Lineup for Downtown Festival, June 16-26 UPDATED

Film Independent has made its first round of selections for the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, running June 16-26, returning to downtown’s L.A. Live. Over 30 countries will be represented by the 200-plus features, shorts and music videos. Special events, galas, the tentpole opening and closing night selections, guest artists and guest director will be announced closer to the festival.

The festival saw an increase in submissions this year, with 5,025 entries from across the globe. Among the 19 narrative and documentary competition titles, 11 are world premieres (including US films Sawdust City, You Hurt My Feelings, and How to Cheat and docs Cheonggyecheon Medley: Dream of Iron from South Korea and Salaam Dunk (an Iraq/US co-production). Eight are North American premieres (including Austria’s The Fatherless and US The Dynamiter). While still a low percentage, the number of female feature directors increased this year from 21 to 23.

Artistic Director Ansen says:

“I’m very excited about the broad range of movies we’ve assembled for our second year downtown.   Many of them are made in Los Angeles and reflect the city’s tremendous diversity. There are delights for every kind of movie lover — an original musical, a 4½ hour epic from a master director, a comedy from Iran, cutting-edge horror films, the best of new Cuban cinema and a wide variety of Spanish-language movies, entries from some great new French Canadian directors, a very strong line-up of gay and lesbian films, and documentaries that will change the way you look at the world.” 

More information including an interview with the programmers plus the full lineup is below:

UPDATE Fest programmers Rebecca Yeldham, Ansen and Doug Jones have kept their eye on their duties as Film Independent’s Dawn Hudson withdraws from the fray to start her new job running the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Yeldham, the top candidate to replace her, is demurring for now. “The day-to-day remains the same,” she says. “It’s emotional, as Dawn is such a part of our lives.” Between the festival and post-production on Walter Salles’ On the Road, says producer Yeldham, “I’m moving forward and doing my best work, keeping my head down.”

Yeldham, Ansen and Jones saw several emerging trends this year, from a large number of returning filmmakers such as Natural Selection‘s Robbie Pickering, many of whom who had participated in Film Independents’ screenwriter or director labs or first track programs, to films about sports and gay sexual identity. Sports films cover women’s basketball in Iraq (Salaam Dunk), Formula 1 racing (Senna) and skateboarding in Afghanistan (Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul). The Christopher Isherwood biopic, Christopher and His Kind, is set in Berlin in the 30s and stars Doctor Who Matt Smith alongside Pip Carter as W. H. Auden and Imogen Poots as the real woman who inspired Cabaret‘s Sally Bowles; sexy French film Tomboy is about a 10-year-old girl who passes herself off as a boy. Music doc Wish Me Away tells the story of Nashville star Chely Wright’s use of media to help her come out.

Yeldham is bringing back the Summer Showcase in order to show films the programmers loved on the fest circuit, including many faves from Sundance and SXSW, from Mike Cahill and Brit Marling’s Another Earth to Ti West’s stylish horror pic The Innkeepers, that are “more populist,” she says.

For the sixth year running, the Los Angeles Times serves as the presenting partner for the festival and will produce the Official Film Guide.

To celebrate the line-up announcement, the Los Angeles Film Festival will also be presenting a free outdoor, screening tonight [May 3] at 7:00 p.m. of Pretty in Pink at Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE (777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles, CA 90015).  The screening marks the 25th anniversary of the film and director Howard Deutch, actor Jon Cryer, and Festival filmmakers will be in attendance.  Guests who arrive in ‘80s attire will receive two vouchers to the Festival, and special discounted passes and packages will be available for purchase.  A “Pink” Beer and Wine Garden will be open in Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE at 5:00 p.m. and parking is $8 cash at Gate G in the West Garage. 
Passes to attend the Festival are currently available to the general public, with special rates for Film Independent members.  In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Filmmaker Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community.  General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 31.  Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345-6337) or visit  Festival passes and tickets can also be purchased in person beginning on Monday, June 13 at the Coca-Cola Ticket Center, located in the Festival Village on the rooftop of the West Parking Garage at L.A. LIVE.

Narrative Competition (10): The Narrative Competition is comprised of films made by talented emerging filmmakers that compete for the Filmmaker Award.  The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
·            The Bad Intentions, Rosario Garcia-Montero – Argentina/Germany/Peru – US PREMIERE
·            The Dynamiter, Matthew Gordon – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            Familiar Grounds, Stephane Lefleur – Canada – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            The Fatherless, Marie Kreutzer – Austria – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            How to Cheat, Amber Sealey – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Mamitas, Nicholas Ozeki – WORLD PREMIERE
·            An Ordinary Family, Mike Akel – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Please Do Not Disturb, Mohsen Abdolvahab – Iran – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            Sawdust City, David Nordstrom – WORLD PREMIERE
·            You Hurt My Feelings, Steve Collins – WORLD PREMIERE
Documentary Competition (9): The Documentary Competition is comprised of films made by talented emerging filmmakers that compete for the Documentary Award.  The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.
·            Cheonggyecheon Medley: Dream of Iron, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park – South Korea – US PREMIERE
·            Family Instinct, Andris Gauja – Latvia – US PREMIERE
·            Once I Was a Champion, Gerard Roxburgh – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Paraiso For Sale, Anayansi Prado – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Salaam Dunk, David Fine – Iraq/USA – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Somewhere Between, Linda Goldstein Knowlton – US PREMIERE
·            Unfinished Spaces, Alysa Nahimas, Ben Murray  – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Unraveled, Marc H. Simon – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Wish Me Away, Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf – WORLD PREMIERE
International Showcase (18): The International Showcase highlights innovative 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.
·            108, Renate Costa – Spain/Paraguay
·            Christopher and His Kind, Geoffrey Sax – United Kingdom – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            Come Rain, Come Shine, Lee Yoon-ki – South Korea – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            Curling, Denis Côté – Canada
·            The Destiny of Lesser Animals, Deron Albright – Ghana/USA
·            Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within, Jose Padilha – Brazil (New Video)
·            Eternity, Sivaroj Kongsakul – Thailand
·            Family Portrait in Black and White, Julia Ivanova – Canada
·            Kawasaki’s Rose, Jan Hrebejk – Czech Republic (Menemsha Films)
·            Love Crime, Alain Corneau – France (IFC Films)
·            Medianeras, Gustavo Taretto – Argentina/Germany/Spain (IFC Films) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            Mysteries of Lisbon, Raúl Ruiz – Portugal (Music Box Films)
·            Ocaso, Theo Court – Chile – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·            Position Among the Stars, Leonard Retel Helmrich – Netherlands
·            The Salesman, Sébastien Pilote – Canada
·            Self Made, Gillian Wearing – England
·            Senna, Asif Kapadia – England (PDA)
·            Tomboy, Céline Sciamma – France (Rocket Releasing) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Summer Showcase (18): The Summer Showcase section offers an advance look at this summer’s most talked about independent film releases from the festival circuit. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
·            Another Earth, Mike Cahill (Fox Searchlight)
·            Elevate, Anne Buford
·            The Future, Miranda July (Roadside Attractions)
·            The Guard, John Michael McDonagh – Ireland (Sony Pictures Classics)
·            Higher Ground, Vera Farmiga (Sony Pictures Classics)
·            Leave It on the Floor, Sheldon Larry – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Letters From the Big Man, Christopher Munch
·            L!fe Happens, Kat Coiro – WORLD PREMIERE
·            Natural Selection, Robbie Pickering
·            Page One: Inside the New York Times, Andrew Rossi (Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media)
·            The Pruitt-lgoe Myth, Chad Freidrichs
·            Renée, Eric Drath (ESPN Films)
·            Sex Crimes Unit, Lisa F. Jackson (HBO Films)
·            Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul, Kai Sehr
·            Terri, Azazel Jacobs (ATO)
·            Tyrannosaur, Paddy Considine – England (Strand Releasing)
·            Where Soldiers Come From, Heather Courtney
·            Winnie the Pooh, Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall (Disney)
Outdoor Screenings at the Ford Amphitheatre (3): These official Los Angeles Film Festival selections, sponsored by Brand X, are included as part of the 2011 Ford Amphitheatre Summer Season; a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
·            Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, Michael Rapaport
·            Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Tsui Hark – Hong Kong
·            The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, Guy Maddin and Ron & Russel Mael, aka Sparks – WORLD MUSICAL PREMIERE
International Spotlight – Cuba (4):  This year, our International Spotlight focuses on Cuba, whose films rarely find distribution in the U.S.  We’re proud to showcase the best of the new and recent Cuban cinema.  Sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and UCLA Latin American Institute. 
·             Habana Eva, Fina Torres – Cuba/France/Venezuela
·             Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba, Estela Bravo – Cuba
·             Suite Habana (2003), Fernando Pérez – Cuba
·             Ticket to Paradise, Gerardo Chijona Valdes – Cuba
Documenting Mexico (2): Inspired by the efforts of the Ambulante Film Festival, a traveling film event designed to promote a documentary culture across Mexico, we are pleased to highlight two outstanding documentaries from Mexico’s vibrant documentary filmmaking culture.  Sponsored by HOY.
·             The Night Watchman, Natalia Almada – Mexico
·             The Tiniest Place, Tatiana Huezo – Mexico
Community Screenings (7): These films will be presented free to the public. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature or Best Documentary Feature.
·            The Bully Project, Lee Hirsch (The Weinstein Company)
·            Choose Your Own Movie – vote at for this free outdoor screening
·            Crime After Crime, Yoav Potash – Grand Performances Screening
·            Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), John Hughes – 25th Anniversary Screening
·            Hot Coffee, Susan Saladoff (HBO Films)
·            On the Ice, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean – Project:Involve Screening
·            Project Nim, James Marsh – United Kingdom (Roadside Attractions)
·            Stand By Me (1986), Rob Reiner – 25th Anniversary Screening
The Beyond (5): The Beyond offers films that dare to be different. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.
·       Entrance, Dallas Hallam, Patrick Horvath
·       Haunters, Kim Min-suk – South Korea – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·        The Innkeepers, Ti West
·        Karate Robo Zarborger, Iguchi Noboru – Japan – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
·        The Yellow Sea, Na Hong-jin – South Korea
Retro (2):
·      Boyz n the Hood (1991), John Singleton – 20th Anniversary Digitally Re-Mastered Screening with a Cast & Crew Reunion
·      Das Boot (1981), Wolfgang Peterson – Germany – 30th Anniversary Digitally Re-Mastered Screening
The Film Foundation Screening Program (1):
·            Wild River (1960), Elia Kazan
Short Films (41): Shorts are shown before features and as part of five short film programs. With their diverse and complex content, these films shine brilliantly. Most short films, domestic and international, will compete for prizes in Narrative, Documentary, and Animation/Experimental categories. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors. An Audience Award for Best Short Film is also presented.
·            Shorts Program 1-5
Future Filmmakers Showcase: High School Shorts (33): These two programs of shorts are made by high school students from around the country, featuring work by the next generation of filmmakers.
·   Programs 1-2
Music Videos (48): The Music Video Showcase consists of three programs. Our two Eclectic Mix programs are a visual mix tape of this year’s best independent music videos, with a few innovative major label artists thrown in for good measure. Music videos will compete for an Audience Award.
·           Eclectic Mix 1-2
·           Kewl Vids by Eric Wareheim

[Image: The Dynamiter]

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