LA Film Festival Announces Gala Screenings, Special, Buzz Section, Podcast and Series (Complete Schedule)

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Today the LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced four additional Gala Screenings at the Festival to accompany the opening night gala, "Echo in the Canyon."

Ike Barinholtz's directorial debut The Oath starring Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish, John Cho, Carrie Brownstein, Billy Magnussen, Nora Dunn, Chris Ellis, Jon Barinholtz, Meredith Hagner; Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin's documentary Free Solo featuring Alex Honnold.

Also announced as a Gala Screening Rupert Everett's The Happy Prince, starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas and Emily Watson and Eva Vives' All About Nina, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Common, Chace Crawford, Clea DuVall, Kate del Castillo, Beau Bridges and Camryn Manheim.


World Premiere Of Andrew Slater’s Documentary "Echo In The Canyon" To Open The LA Film Festival

There will also be a Special Screening of Tom Volf's documentary Maria by Callas; a Series program that includes; the first episode of the Into the Dark series, "The Body" staring Tom Bateman and Rebecca Rittenhouse, directed by Paul Davis; and America to Me a multipart unscripted documentary series from filmmaker Steve James. 

In addition 12 films in the Buzz Section and 3 podcasts in the Podcast Section have been unveiled. The LA Film Festival runs September 20-28.

"My aim with LA Film Festival is to celebrate and acknowledge storytelling in all its myriad of forms," said LA Film Festival Director Jennifer Cochis. "Bringing forth part of our Series programming, launching our Podcast section, and shining a spotlight on this year's Galas is all in effort to honor these creative teams, processes and stories."

Galas (4)

Sunday, September 23, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts             

All About Nina, dir. Eva Vives, West Coast Premiere

Just as Nina Geld's brilliant and angry stand-up kicks her career into high gear, her romantic life gets complicated, forcing her to reckon with what it means to be             creative, authentic, and a woman in today's culture. All About Nina is distributed by The Orchard and will be in theatres on September 28th.

Tuesday, September 25, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The Happy Prince, dir. Rupert Everett, United Kingdom, Los Angeles Premiere

The last days of Oscar Wilde — and the ghosts that haunted them — are vividly evoked in Rupert Everett's directorial debut. As the film travels through Wilde's          final act and journeys through England, France and Italy, desire and loyalty face off, the transience of lust is laid bare, and the true riches of love are revealed.         The Happy Prince is being distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and will open in LA & NY October 10th.

Tuesday, September 25, ArcLight Hollywood

The Oath, dir. Ike Barinholtz, USA, World Premiere

A controversial White House policy turns family member against family member

in The Oath, a savagely funny dark comedy about surviving life and Thanksgiving in the age of political tribalism. The Oath is Ike Barinholtz's directorial debut and is being distributed by Topic Studios and Roadside Attractions, opening on October 12th.

Thursday, September 27, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

 Free Solo, dirs. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, USA, Los Angeles Premiere

 Free Solo is a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of             the world's most famous rock...the 3,200ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park…without a rope. Free Solo is being distributed by National Geographic             Documentary Films. 

Special Screening (1)

Friday, September 21, ArcLight Hollywood

Maria By Callas, dir. Tom Volf, France, Los Angeles Special Screening

From first time director Tom Volf, Maria By Callas is the definitive documentary on the life and work of the Greek-American opera singer. Volf has spent nearly      five years working on the film, which features never before seen or heard footage and performances of Callas.  Maria By Callas is being distributed by Sony    Pictures Classics and will open in LA & NY November 2nd.

Podcasts (3)

Don't @ Me with Justin Simien - USA (CREATOR/HOST Justin Simien PRODUCER Gina Delvac) Beyond the knee-jerk reactions and Twitter hot takes, Justin Simien and his guests get real about a variety of topics. Don't like what you hear? Don't @ Me.

Hollywood & Crime - USA (CREATOR/HOST Tracy Pattin HOST Larry Brand) A look inside the most infamous murders in Hollywood history.

Welcome to L.A. - USA (CREATOR/HOST David Weinberg) - David Weinberg explores a few of the many L.A.s that exist between the Pacific and the Mojave, introducing us to a lot of fascinating characters along the way.

Series (2)

 Friday, September 21, WGA Theatre

 Into the Dark, "The Body", dir. Paul Davis, USA, World Premiere

The first episode of the Into the Dark series – "The Body" – is a story about a sophisticated hitman with a cynical view on modern society who finds his work made more difficult when he has to transport a body on Halloween night, but everyone is enamored by what they think is his killer costume. "The Body" stars Tom Bateman and Rebecca Rittenhouse, written by Paul Fischer and Paul Davis and is directed by Paul Davis. Into The Dark is a first of its kind year-round horror event series from prolific, award-winning producer, Jason Blum's independent TV studio Blumhouse Television. The Hulu Original Series includes 12 self-contained episodes, with a new episode premiering each month. The

Body premieres exclusively on Hulu, October 5th, 2018.

Sunday, September 23, WGA Theatre

America To Me, "I Don't Have to Think About Being White", dir. Steve James, USA

Poignant and funny, epic and intimate, America to Me spends an academic year at Chicagoland's elite Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF), allowing its students, families, faculty and administration to tell stories of the pressures and challenges teens face today in their own words. The fifth episode of the epic 10-part docu-series from Starz and Kartemquin looks closely at decades-long racial and educational inequities – in addition to the challenges that today's teenagers face. America To Me will premiere on Starz this Sunday, August 26 at 10pm PT/ET.

Buzz Section (12)

Non-competitive showcase of curated favorites from other film festivals.

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable – dir. Aaron Lieber, USA, West Coast Premiere

Galveston – dir. Mélanie Laurent, USA, West Coast Premiere

The Great Buster: A Celebration – dir. Peter Bogdanovich, USA, North American Premiere

Jonathan – dir. Bill Oliver, USA, West Coast Premiere

Little Woods – dir. Nia DaCosta, USA, West Coast Premiere

Mr. Soul! – dirs. Melissa Haizlip, Samuel Pollard, USA, West Coast Premiere

Museo – dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios, Mexico, North American Premiere

The New Romantic – dir. Carly Stone, USA, West Coast Premiere

Sadie – dir. Megan Griffiths, USA, California Premiere

Song of Back and Neck – dir. Paul Lieberstein, USA, West Coast Premiere

Unlovable – dir. Suzi Yoonessi, USA, West Coast Premiere

You Can Choose Your Family – dir. Miranda Bailey, USA, West Coast Premiere

Passes are on sale now; only Film Independent Members get early access and save up to 25%. General admission tickets are available to the general public beginning today. Contact the Festival Box Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST  or visit lafilmfestival.com.

Venues for the 2018 Festival include the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City, Hollywood and Santa Monica, as well as the new LMU Playa Vista Campus (opening this fall), the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Writers Guild Theater and the Ford Theatres


Film Independent’s LA Film Festival Showcases Global Media Makers Summit At Cairo International Film Festival

@LAFilmFestival, #LAFilmFestival.

ABOUT THE LA FILM FESTIVAL

The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent. Showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, the Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. Presenting Media Sponsor is Los Angeles Times. Official Host Venue is ArcLight Cinemas. Platinum Sponsors are American Airlines, EFILM | Deluxe and HBO. The University Sponsor is Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Festival Supporters are Directors Guild of America, eTech Rentals, Kona Productions, TREETI and Visit Seattle. Festival Affiliates are 21st Century Fox Global Inclusion, ATK Audiotek, SAGindie and Writers Guild of America West. Additional support provided by National Endowment for the Arts. Stella Artois is the Official Beer. IMDbPro is the Official Industry Resource. CITI is the Official Credit Card. The LINE, NoMad Los Angeles and Freehand LA are the Official Hotel Partner. Essentia Water is the Official Water. Hillersden Estate Wines is the Official Wine. Getty Images is the Official Photographer.

2018 LA Film Festival Program Lineup Addendum

August 22, 2018

Opening Night Film

Echo in the Canyon – USA (DIRECTOR Andrew Slater PRODUCER Eric Barrett, Andrew Slater CAST Jakob Dylan, Beck, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, David Crosby, Michelle Phillips, Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn) – Echo In The Canyon is a look at how The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, The Mama's and the Papa's birthed the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene and how the echo of these artists' creations reverberated between each other and ultimately across the world with a timelessness that continues today.  With appearances by Tom Petty, Brian Wilson, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Michelle Phillips, Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn, John Sebastian, Lou Adler, Jakob Dylan, Norah Jones, Beck, Regina Spektor, Cat Power, and others.  The film was executive produced by Jakob Dylan. World Premiere

Galas (4)

All About Nina – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Eva Vives PRODUCERS Eric B. Fleischman, Sean Tabibian, Natalie Qasabian, Eva Vives CAST Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Common, Chace Crawford, Clea DuVall, Kate del Castillo, Beau Bridges) A young stand-up comedian flees to Los Angeles to escape her disastrous ex and prepare for a prospectively life-changing audition.

Free Solo – USA (DIRECTORS Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi PRODUCERS Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Evan Hayes, Shannon Dill CAST Alex Honnold) A man sets out to become the first person ever to free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 foot high El Capitan wall with no ropes or safety gear.

The Happy Prince – Germany/Belgium/Italy (DIRECTOR/WRITER Rupert Everett PRODUCERS Sébastien Delloye, Philipp Kreuzer, Jörg Schulze CAST Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas) A poignant look at Oscar Wilde's final years in exile, following the humorist's heartbreak and imprisonment with a relentless quest for love.

The Oath – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Ike Barinholtz PRODUCERS Ike Barinholtz, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Andrew C. Robinson, David Stassen CAST Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish, John Cho, Carrie Brownstein, Billy Magnussen, Chris Ellis, Nora Dunn) A controversial White House policy turns family member against family member in The Oath, a savagely funny dark comedy about surviving life and Thanksgiving in the age of political tribalism. When Chris (Ike Barinholtz), a high-strung 24-hour progressive news junkie, and his more levelheaded wife Kai (Tiffany Haddish) learn that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to the President, their reaction is disbelief, followed by idealistic refusal. But as the Thanksgiving deadline to sign approaches, the combination of sparring relatives, Chris's own agitation and the unexpected arrival of two government agents (John Cho and Billy Magnussen) sends an already tense holiday dinner gathering completely off the rails.

Special Screening (1)

Maria by Callas – France (DIRECTOR/WRITER Tom Volf PRODUCERS Emmanuelle Lepers, Gael Leblang, Emmanuel Chain, Thierry Bizot, Tom Volf FEATURING Maria Callas with the voice of Joyce DiDonato) For the first time, 40 years after her death, the most famous opera singer ever tells her own story – in her own words.

Buzz (12)

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable – USA (DIRECTOR Aaron Lieber WRITERS Aaron Lieber, Carol Martori PRODUCERS Aaron Lieber, Penny Edmiston, Jane Kelly Kosek) Following pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton over a four-year journey, from overcoming the loss of her arm to a tiger shark, to motherhood and surfing the most dangerous wave in the world, known as Jaws.

Galveston – USA (DIRECTOR Mélanie Laurent WRITERS Mélanie Laurent , Nic Pizzolatto (novel) PRODUCER Tyler Davidson CAST Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Lili Reinhart) After escaping a set-up, a dying hitman returns to his hometown of Galveston where he plans his revenge.

The Great Buster: A Celebration – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Peter Bogdanovich PRODUCERS Charles S. Cohen, Louise Stratten, Peter Bogdanovich, Roee Sharon Peled) "The Great Stone Face" receives a loving documentary tribute to his body of work in the Silent Era. Brilliant as both an actor and a director, Buster Keaton's contributions to film are unmatched.

Jonathan – USA (DIRECTOR Bill Oliver WRITERS Gregory Davis, Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver PRODUCERS Randy Manis, Ricky Tollmann CAST Ansel Elgort, Patricia Clarkson, Suki Waterhouse, Matt Bomer, Douglas Hodge) Every day, a man leaves work at noon, goes home to sleep, and wakes up to breakfast and a video telling him about the second part of his day.

Little Woods – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Nia DaCosta PRODUCERS Rachael Fung, Gabrielle Nadig, Tim Headington CAST Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby, James Badge Dale, Lance Reddick) A young woman scraping to get by in a North Dakota oil boomtown risks it all in response to a desperate plea for help from her sister.

Mr. Soul! – USA (DIRECTORS Melissa Haizlip, Samuel Pollard PRODUCERS Melissa Haizlip) An exploration of the groundbreaking PBS television series SOUL!, the first nationally televised all-black variety show to be produced and hosted by an openly gay African-American.

Museo – Mexico (DIRECTOR Alonso Ruizpalacios WRITERS Manuel Alcalá, Alonso Ruizpalacios PRODUCERS Manuel Alcalá, Gerardo Gatica, Alberto Muffelmann, Ramiro Ruiz CAST Gael García Bernal, Leonardo Ortizgris, Simon Russell Beale, Lynn Gilmartin, Ilse Salas) Two veterinary-school dropouts commit Mexico's most improbable heist only to discover that the invaluable treasure is an inescapable curse that is impossible to fence.

The New Romantic – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Carly Stone PRODUCERS Kyle Mann, Michael Risley, Jason Jallet, Jonathan Bronfman CAST Jessica Barden, Hayley Law, Brett Dier, Timm Sharp, Avan Jogia, Camila Mendes) A sex columnist at a sleepy university attempts to win a journalism prize by seeking out a "sugar baby" relationship for herself.

Sadie – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Megan Griffiths PRODUCERS Lacey Leavitt, Jennessa West CAST Melanie Lynskey, John Gallagher Jr., Sophia Mitri Schloss, Danielle Brooks, Tee Denard, Tony Hale, Keith L. Williams) While her father is away serving in the military, a teenage girl battles to preserve his place on the home front when her mother takes interest in a new man.

Song of Back and Neck – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Paul Lieberstein PRODUCERS Paul Lieberstein, Kim Leadford, Jennifer Prediger CAST Paul Lieberstein, Rosemarie DeWitt, Robert Pine, Brian d'Arcy James, Clark Duke, Sam Anderson) A man resigned to a life of suffering seeks relief in an accidental romance and finding the root of his possibly psychologically caused back pain.

Unlovable – USA (DIRECTOR Suzi Yoonessi WRITERS Charlene deGuzman, Sarah Adina Smith, Mark Duplass PRODUCER Jen Roskind CAST Charlene deGuzman, John Hawks, Melissa Leo, Paul James, Ellen Geer) A 20-something lost soul seeks help for sex and love addiction, ending up with a secret friendship and a bandmate.

You Can Choose Your Family – USA (DIRECTOR Miranda Bailey WRITER Glenn Lakin PRODUCERS Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall, Karen Kehela Sherwood CAST Jim Gaffigan, Logan Miller, Alex Karpovsky, Anna Gunn, Samantha Mathis) A 17-year-old boy blackmails his father after discovering his secret second family.

Series (2)

Into the Dark, "The Body" – USA (DIRECTOR Paul Davis WRITERS Paul Fischer, Paul Davis PRODUCERS Alexa Faigen, Jeanine Rohn CAST Tom Bateman, Rebecca Rittenhouse) Written by Paul Fischer and Paul Davis, "The Body" is a story about a sophisticated hitman with a cynical view on modern society who finds his work made more difficult when he has to transport a body on Halloween night, but everyone is enamored by what they think is his killer costume. The first episode of the Into the Dark series, "The Body" stars Tom Bateman and Rebecca Rittenhouse and is directed by Paul Davis. Into the Dark is a first of its kind year-round horror event series from prolific award-winning producer Jason Blum's independent TV studio Blumhouse Television. The Hulu Original series includes 12 self-contained episodes, with a new installment released each month inspired by a holiday and will feature Blumhouse's signature genre/thriller spin on the story. World Premiere

America to Me, "I Don't Have to Think About Being White" – USA (DIRECTOR Steve James PRODUCERS John Condne, Risé Sanders-Weir) Poignant and funny, epic and intimate, America to Me spends an academic year at Chicagoland's elite Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF), allowing its students, families, faculty and administration to tell stories of the pressures and challenges teens face today in their own words. World Premiere

Podcasts (3)

Don't @ Me with Justin Simien - USA (CREATOR/HOST Justin Simien PRODUCER Gina Delvac) Beyond the knee-jerk reactions and Twitter hot takes, Justin Simien and his guests get real about a variety of topics. Don't like what you hear? Don't @ Me.

Hollywood & Crime - USA (CREATOR/HOST Tracy Pattin HOST Larry Brand) A look inside the most infamous murders in Hollywood history.

Welcome to L.A. - USA (CREATOR/HOST David Weinberg) - David Weinberg explores a few of the many L.A.s that exist between the Pacific and the Mojave, introducing us to a lot of fascinating characters along the way.

--- Already Announced ---

Premieres (10)

American Dreamer – USA (DIRECTOR Derrick Borte WRITERS Derrick Borte, Daniel Forte PRODUCER Scott Floyd Lochmus CAST Jim Gaffigan, Robbie Jones, Isabel Arraiza, Tammy Blanchard) – A down-on-his-luck rideshare driver, who makes extra cash chauffeuring a low-level drug dealer, finds himself in a serious bind and decides to kidnap the dealer's child. World Premiere

Ashes in the Snow – USA (DIRECTOR Marius Markevicius WRITER Ben York Jones, Ruta Sepetys (novel) PRODUCERS Marius Markevicius, Zilvinas Naujokas, Chris Coen, Prithvi Chavan CAST Bel Powley, Martin Wallstrom, Lisa Loven-Kongsli, Jonah Hauer-King, Peter Franzen, Sophie Cookson) – In 1941, a teenage aspiring artist and her family are deported to Siberia amidst Stalin's brutal dismantling of the Baltic region. World Premiere

Brian Banks – USA (DIRECTOR Tom Shadyac WRITER Doug Atchison PRODUCERS Amy Baer, Monica Levinson, Shivani Rawat CAST Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd, Tiffany Dupont, Xosha Roquemore) – Based on a true story, a young football player's dreams to play in the NFL are halted when he is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison. World Premiere

The Chaperone – USA (DIRECTOR Michael Engler WRITER Julian Fellowes, Laura Moriarty (novel) PRODUCERS Kelly Carmichael, Greg Clark, Rose Ganguzza, Victoria Hill, Elizabeth McGovern, Luca Scalisi CAST Haley Lu Richardson, Elizabeth McGovern, Miranda Otto, Blythe Danner, Campbell Scott, Géza Röhrig) – In the early 1920s, a Kansas woman finds her life forever changed when she accompanies a young Louise Brooks to New York City for the summer. World Premiere

The Clovehitch Killer – USA (DIRECTOR Duncan Skiles WRITER Christopher Ford PRODUCERS Andrew Kortschak, Walter Kortschak, Cody Ryder CAST Charlie Plummer, Dylan McDermott, Samantha Mathis, Madisen Beaty) – A teenage boy starts to suspect that his wholesome, all-American dad is actually the serial killer terrorizing their small town. World Premiere

Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl – USA (DIRECTOR Amy Goldstein PRODUCERS Anounchka van Riel, Amy Goldstein CAST Kate Nash, Alicia Warrington, Emma Hughes, Linda Buratto, Kate Craig, Marie Nash) – Unfiltered access to musician/actress Kate Nash as she navigates the finer points of going on tour, setting up house, songwriting, coping with betrayal, being a woman in the industry and owning her voice. World Premiere

Good Girls Get High – USA (DIRECTOR Laura Terruso WRITER Jennifer Nashorn Blankenship PRODUCERS Elysa Koplovitz Dutton, Leslie Morgenstein CAST Stefanie Scott, Abby Quinn, Isabelle Fuhrman, Lauren Lapkus, Matt Besser) – Two overachieving good girls become frustrated with their social standing in the high school hierarchy and get stoned on their last night of senior year. World Premiere

Ride - USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER Jeremy Ungar PRODUCERS Sefton Fincham, Tyler Jackson, Keith Kjarval CAST Bella Thorne, Jessie T. Usher, Will Brill, Todd Bridges) A charming rideshare driver and his flirtatious passenger pick up a charismatic but manipulative new fare, turning a normal night out into a psychological war for survival. World Premiere

Tea With the Dames – United Kingdom (DIRECTOR Roger Michell PRODUCER Karen Steyn CAST Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith) – Friends for more than half a century with the inside jokes to prove it, four acting greats discuss their careers and recollect their humble beginnings in the theater. US Premiere

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – USA (DIRECTOR Stacie Passon WRITER Mark Kruger, Shirley Jackson (novel) PRODUCERS Jared Ian Goldman, Robert Mitas, Kieran Corrigan CAST Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, Sebastian Stan, Crispin Glover) – Three members of the Blackwood family live in isolation after experiencing a tragedy six years earlier. Cousin Charles arrives to steal the family fortune and threatens a dark secret they've been hiding. US Premiere

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