Film Independent has finally succumbed to the challenges of mounting a world-class film festival in the summer. After 23 years, the festival is moving from June to September. The next installment, in continued partnership with L.A.’s Arclight Cinemas, will be held September 20-28, 2018.
Clearly, the festival calendar was unforgiving, leaving LAFF an also-ran following Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and Cannes, among other festivals on the international circuit. By June, filmmakers were waiting for the higher-profile fall festivals and the siren call of award season. The new late September dates fall right between two competitive fall festivals, Toronto and New York, which if held at the same time next year would overlap. Will there be enough left over for LA? Certainly, many Academy members live in Hollywood, but the L.A. awards festival berth has become AFI FEST, which has benefited from late-breaking awards contenders like “American Sniper” and “Selma.”
Amazon’s Withoutabox is the festival’s new official submission service; entries will be accepted beginning January 1.
“The secret to dramatically changing something is to change it,” said Jennifer Cochis, who took over the struggling festival as its director last year. “My passion for this Festival is unwavering and the time for an evolution has come. Film Independent is so proud of the work we’ve done in showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, but the fact is that summer is a challenging time for artist driven films, and fall is where we clearly belong. This shift in our dates is an important step in enacting my aim to further develop the LA Film Festival, I sincerely look forward to better serving filmmakers, film lovers, the city and the industry in the fall of 2018 and beyond.”
The LAFF has long showcased new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation, and unique perspectives. The Festival’s signature programs include Diversity Speaks, Women Who Lead Luncheon, Spirit of Independence Award, Coffee Talks and more.
In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.