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raymac Written by raymac
Jun. 23, 2014 | 7:58 PM

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Downtown Film Festival L.A. Announces 2014 Schedule

LOS ANGELES – June 23, 2014 – Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles ( announced today the feature film line-up for its 2014 event, which is to be held in multiple venues throughout downtown Los Angeles, July 9-19.

“Get ready, fans of DTLA! If it’s summer in the city, then it’s time for Downtown Film Festival L.A.,” announced festival co-director Henry Priest. “If you’re looking for an insider’s guide to DTLA, then we suggest you jump on our train and let us take you on a 11-day ride filled with fun and films.”

This year’s festival marks the 6th edition of the event, produced annually by the nonprofit arts organization of the same name. Its mission is to showcase independent cinema in the historic center of The Film Capital of the World, celebrate the rebirth of DTLA and reflect DTLA’s unique cultural and ethnic diversity in its programming during the festival and its additional programming held throughout the year.

“DTLA is a different kind of creative community and likewise, we’re a different kind of film festival, “ said festival co-director Greg Ptacek. “We’re really a crowd-sourced volunteer organization that embraces creative chaos.”

As the first and only film festival headquartered in DTLA, the festival is basking in the limelight of DTLA’s new coolness as proclaimed by national media including The New York Times and GQ Magazine.

“Of course, we knew DTLA was cool way back in 2008 when we began the festival,” said Priest. “We’re just wondering what took everyone else so long to realize it.”
This year’s festival includes more than 75 feature-length and short film presentations, an after-screening event each night of the 11 day festival as well as other arts events. The festival strives whenever possible to give festival attendees an immersive DTLA experience rather than strictly a film screening.

“We use film as a catalyst to explore America’s most exciting creative community through film screenings but also related events including digital art exhibits, live musical performances, industry panel discussions and after-screening parties in private spaces like galleries and artist’s loft. This year we even have a free bike tour of historic film sites that proceeds our bicycle-themed Closing Night Film.”

Highlights of the 2014 Festival
Highlights of this year’s feature film line-up include the Opening Night Film presentation and West Coast premiere of director Giovanni Zelko’s “The Algerian,” an international thrilled set against the threat of domestic terrorism, shot both on location in Middle East as well in DTLA; the Centerpiece Film presentation and Los Angeles premiere of director Howard Goldberg’s “Jake Squared,” a wry, comedic look at a filmmaker’s attempt to make a movie about his own life (a la Fellini’s “8 ½ Weeks”) starring Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Jane Seymour and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the Closing Night Film presentation and the Los Angeles premiere of “American Cycle,” co-directed by Baruh Benjamins and Fernando De Valle.

“I love this year’s line-up of features because it reflects the huge diversity of American independent filmmaking at the moment,” says senior features curator Carolyn Schroeder. “Our films range from those with stories ripped from today’s headlines to profiles of enigmatic characters to tried-and-true genre movies with unique twists, and several piercing, insider’s takes on the entertainment industry.”

This year’s film festival saw more than 500 submissions from around the world. Inevitably, trends emerge each year among the submission and this year was no different, says Schroeder. “Now, what are the odds of two mixed martial arts feature documentaries being made at the same time? Yet, over the transom came two films set in this fascinating subculture – ‘Glena’ and ‘Fight Church.’ Beyond the obvious connection, these two films are wildly different and both extremely well made.” The films are directed by Allan Luekbe , and Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel, respectively.

Other highlights include “Pauly Shore Stands Alone,” a darkly comedic, autobiographical film about and by the former MTV star ; director Penny Vozniak’s “Despite the Gods,” a hilarious, no-holds-barred look at the total meltdown of iconic indie filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s foray into Bollywood; director’s Matthew F. Smith’s mise-en-“beat scene” capture of the musical community that hovers around the Low End Theory Club in DTLA and featuring artists Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Gaslamp Killer, Daedlus and Nosaj among others.

Other music-themed programs features include director Robert Nazar Ayjoyan’s biopic of Armen Ra, a master of the Theremin, an enigmatic early electronic instrument, who makes his performance even more other worldly by performing in full drag, and fully at the other end of the creative spectrum, director Wayne Schotten’s “Swan Lake In Bronze” about Russian born artist Misha Frid and the making of his pièce de résistance, a sculpture inspired by his love of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”

Rounding out the music programming is “Sound In Motion: The Storytelling of Music Videos,” curated by assistant programming director Michael Edwards and featuring new video content by artists Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp, The Lumerians, Clipping, Pretty Little Demons, They Might Be Giants, Watsky and Evelyn Evelyn.

Celebrity Honorees Harry Lennix and Virginia Madsen
The festival present its highest honor – The Independent Film Pioneer Award – to individuals for their past and current contributions to independent cinema. This year’s festival will honor two luminaries in the independent film world – Harry Lennix and Virginia Madsen.

Lennix appears in two films being screening during the festival, “The Algerian” which he also produced, and “Romeo and Juliet in Harlem,” a contemporized version of Shakespeare’s timeless love story. Madsen, perhaps best known to the public for her Oscar Best Actress nominated role in “Sideways” stars in the festival’s Centerpiece Film, “Jake Squared.”
Homage To Film Noir

Each year the festival pays homage to DTLA’s singular role in the development of American cinema. (Before the world was even aware of a place called Hollywood, the original Los Angeles-based, artist-driven film studios were erecting movie palaces on DTLA’s historic Broadway Avenue.)

This year’s vintage film program is a tip of the fedora to DTLA’s ties to its film noir past with a screening of “The Crimson Kimono” (1959), shot on location in Little Tokyo with a multi-ethnic cast, and presented during the festival at Cicada, a restaurant and entertainment space housed in a splendid 1920s-era Art Deco former haberdashery.
A complete list of feature films follows. The festival’s short film programming will be announced later in a separate press release.

2014 Festival Sponsors
The 2014 Downtown Film Festival L.A. is sponsored by Avant South Park Apartments, California Bank & Trust, Pacific Mutual Building, City Club Los Angeles Downtown Independent, The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, Angel City Brewery, Bourbon Street Supper Club, Restaurant Republic Catering Company, Cicada restaurant, Zinc Café and Unico Latino Foods.

Industry partners include Apothecary Films, Freestyle Releasing, Rogers & Cowan, William Morris Endeavor, Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants, Filmmakers Alliance, LIFTT, and Women In Film.

Community partners include Art Share, Los Council District 14 / Councilman Jose Huizar, Downtown Film Society, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and Los Angeles Art Walk.
Media partners include DwnLA magazine. Flavorpill, KPFK/90.7fm, Time Out Los Angeles and Yelp.

Additional support is provided by Metro, Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14, Lyft, and Stella Artois.

More information about programming, tickets at

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