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Film Independent Announces New Los Angeles Film Festival Dates, Programming Team

Film Independent Announces New Los Angeles Film Festival Dates, Programming Team

As expected, the 21st Los Angeles Film Festival, which will take place June 10 – June 18, 2015, returning to downtown location L.A. LIVE, has made several new hires to replace outgoing programmers David Ansen and Doug Jones.  Festival Director Stephanie Allain has added new members to the programming team led by Film Independent Curator  Elvis Mitchell–her protege Roya Rastegar is Associate Director of Programming and Curated Content and Jennifer Cochis is Senior Programmer. The last senior programmer of the old festival team, Maggie Mackay, who also produces the Indie Spirits, is still on board. 

These women will be doing the labor-intensive slog work of tracking, chasing and culling through films in support of Mitchell, a well-regarded interviewer of celebrities (on KCRW FM and at LACMA’s Film Independent series) who will also be sampling more wares at various film festivals. Allain will look to him to deliver high-profile fest participants while she manages the LAFF programmers. 

Last year’s new LA Muse section, which Rastegar helped Allain and Mitchell to program, is where to look for a sense of what the LAFF will become: local, eclectic, multi-cultural, interactive: Funny Or Die returns for a second partnering with the fest on comedic talent contest Make ’em LAFF. Sure, distributors will still turn to the fest for local summer premieres. But the LAFF is unlikely to continue to be the well-programmed survey of quality international cinema that it was under Ansen and Jones, as Allain and Mitchell look to mount a more populist, less international festival.
The early deadline for LAFF submissions is December 2, 2014, the official deadline is January 6, 2015 and the late deadline is January 30, 2015. And the fest will partner with BET EXPERIENCE to showcase work by filmmakers of color. Selection for the LA Film Fest qualifies feature-length films for a Spirit Awards nomination and short-films for an Academy Award nomination.
Rastegar is a Wellesley-educated writer-director who has been a programmer at the Sundance, Tribeca and other festivals and taught at Bryn Mawr. She holds a PhD in the History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz, where she studied with feminist critic B. Ruby Rich. Ex-Sundance programmer and writer-director Cochis is a producer of fiction and documentary feature films, including “Smashed” (2012) and “Los Wild Ones” (2013). 

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