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Friday, June 18th, 2010

The Los Angeles Film Festival Is Here!

Now that the Lakers have finished the job and cleared out of downtown, it’s time to celebrate this town’s other great passion—Film! The Los Angeles Film Festival has moved comfortably into the Downtown space and will be screening films and hosting events until June 27th.

LA Live

Hooray For Downtown!

You’ve probably heard of the big DIY Distribution symposium going on this weekend. If you’re not already burned out from this stuff, I highly recommend it, (and please refer to my earlier entry for more on what filmmakers should be doing with regard to marketing and selling their own movies).  They’ve got some big-hitter guest speakers—including Jon Reiss, Lance Weiler, Ted Hope and Peter Broderick—but more than that, the format seems much more conducive to learning than the traditional panel format that Film Independent usually employs.  And incredibly, the price is very reasonable for this kind of thing.

And now to the films!  Like most festivals in the post-Sundance/SXSW/Tribeca/Cannes, pre-Telluride/Venice/Toronto part of the calendar, LAFF has wisely chosen to get out of the World Premiere game and concentrate on programming a wide variety of GOOD films from across the geographic, budget and genre spectrum.  There’s literally something for everyone this year, from big-budget studio films (e.g., Despicable Me), Hollywood classics (You Can’t Take It With You), Cult Classics (The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai), and of course, the traditional sampling of World Cinema, Documentaries, and Indie Narrative Films.  And while there are a few world premieres, you’re more likely to find the hit documentary from Sundance or the buzzed-about no-budget indie from SXSW screening here.

Here are a few of my personal recommendations:

- MONSTERS - this no-budget sci-fi film from British director Gareth Edwards looks really cool. There are studio-level visual f/x here even though the film was made on a shoestring and shot with a tiny crew on a prosumer camera

- DOWN TERRACE - another no-budget British film, reportedly shot in 8 days

- BITTER FEAST - former no-budget filmmaker Joe Maggio’s (Virgil Bliss) new film, produced by horror-meister Larry Fessenden

- COLD WEATHER - “Quiet City” director Aaron Katz’s new film. Was the talk of SXSW.

- THE TILLMAN STORY - when I worked at Next Wave Films, we gave finishing funds to director Amir Bar-Lev’s first feature “Fighter” and he’s an incredibly talented filmmaker. His doc on pro football star Pat Tillman, who died in Iraq from friendly fire, was a big hit at Sundance

- MARWENCOL - this doc, produced by perennial No Budget Film School guest speaker Matt Radecki, premiered at SXSW where it won Best Documentary. It has since won several more awards, including one at the recent Seattle Film Fest

- CYRUS - the Duplass Brothers new comedy is hilarious. You may not get in tonight, but it’s opening theatrically this weekend, so catch it at a theater near you. Really, it’s very funny.

- WAITING FOR SUPERMAN - Davis Guggenheim’s (An Inconvenient Truth) new doc about our country’s public education problems was the first film picked up at Sundance this year.

- AIN’T IN IT FOR MY HEALTH - Doc about The Band’s Levon Helm. For serious music fans, this one sounds like a winner.

- TINY FURNITURE - buzzed about feature from SXSW, where it won Best Narrative Feature

There are so many more to see, as well as special events (like a conversation with director Christopher Nolan) to attend, what are you waiting for? Get downtown!


Written by NoBudgetFilmSchool on 06/18 at 09:08 PM