Film Independent taps Newsweek critic

Film Independent has tapped Newsweek film critic David Ansen as artistic director of the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival.

The org, in an announcement Monday, also said senior programmer Doug Jones has been promoted to associate director of programming for the Los Angeles Film Festival.

“As a consummate movie lover, David is one of the finest critics thinking, watching, and writing about movies today,” said festival director Rebecca Yeldham in a statement.

“I’ve always had eclectic tastes,” he added. “One of the best films I’ve seen this year was at the LA Film Festival when they screened ‘Let the Right One In,’ which knocked my socks off.”

He’s hoping that the new gig — “it’s going to be grueling but fun” — can yield studio fare such as “Up in the Air” that merits inclusion in next year’s event.

“It hasn’t been a great year for studios so far but there are a lot of Christmas films I haven’t seen yet,” Ansen said.

After launching in past years with major-studio releases, the LAFF selected “Paper Man” as its opening-night pic last June 18 to stress the fest’s commitment to indie pics.

Ansen was Newsweek’s movie critic from 1977 through 2008, and continues to write for the magazine as a contributing editor. He’s written documentaries for television on Greta Garbo, Groucho Marx, Elizabeth Taylor, and Bette Davis and is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Society of Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and is a three-time winner of the Page One Award from the Newspaper Guild of New York.

Jones has been with Film Independent since 2002.

Yeldham was selected as director of the Los Angeles Film Festival in March, filling the slot left vacant by the departure of Richard Raddon. Rachel Rosen, who had been the fest’s director of programming, ankled in August to work for the San Francisco Film Festival.

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