With the Spirit Awards behind them, Film Independent is ramping up for this summer’s the 2016 LA Film Festival (June 1-9). And they’ve chosen their opening nighter: Ricardo de Montreuil’s coming-of-age East L.A. drama “Lowriders” will play June 1 at the ArcLight Hollywood Cinerama Dome.
Produced by Brian Grazer and Jason Blum, “Lowriders” stars Gabriel Chavarria as a street artist with an old-school lowrider father (Demián Bichir). Eva Longoria and Melissa Benoist also star. “Made by filmmakers of color,” said festival director Stephanie Allain, ‘Lowriders’ embodies our mission.”
Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) will be the 2016 Festival’s Guest Director and attend Film Independent’s annual Filmmaker Retreat, which brings the festival’s filmmakers together with mentors before the official start of the festival. Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” debuted at Sundance, played at LAFF 2013 and won Best First Feature at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
And the LAFF will award “Selma” director Ava DuVernay as well as her distribution company Array Releasing her own “Middle of Nowhere” plus “Ashes and Embers,” “Mississippi Damned,” “Kinyarwanda,” and “Restless City”— with the annual Spirit of Independence Award given to members of the independent film community who “advance the cause of independent film and champion creative freedom.” Last year Array bought LA Film Festival US Fiction award-winner “Out of My Hand” for distribution along with “Ayanda.”