Five Questions for Los Angeles Film Festival Director Stephanie Allain

Stephanie Allain LA Film Festival
Terence Patrick for Variety

Stephanie Allain is in her third year as director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, which runs June 11-19, kicking off with “Snowpiercer” and closing with “Jersey Boys.” It’s the fifth straight year that the festival — now in its 20th year — has been in downtown Los Angeles.

Why has the festival been shortened from 12 days to nine?

We need to adjust to people in L.A. being so busy. We have to give them a reason to get out of the house by creating a more compressed schedule.

How has it been to shift the fest from Westwood to Downtown? 

I think there’s a lot of civic pride as Downtown comes into its own. It’s the most diverse place in L.A., and not just from a racial standpoint.

How do you manage to find the time to produce films and be in charge of the festival?

I’m an empty-nester with the youngest child at Wesleyan. My husband and I work all the time. I was an EP on (Sundance award-winner) “Dear White People.”

What’s it feel like to be running a film festival?

I feel as if I’m putting on 80 weddings at once for the filmmakers, who are presenting (a) precious possession to the world. When it goes right, I’m ecstatic. And happiness is good for you.

Woody Allen hasn’t said many nice things about L.A. in his films. Yet you began your first festival in 2012 with his “To Rome with Love”? 

He was so charming on the red carpet. He said at the screening that the Regal was the best place in the world to screen the film. That was a very good start for me.


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