The Los Angeles Film Festival opened its 22nd edition Wednesday night at the Cinerama Dome with the world premiere of “Lowriders,” which attendees agreed was a quintessential Los Angeles movie.
“Lowriders” focuses on the dynamics of a fractured family in East Los Angeles and centers on the world of customizing classic cars.
Producer Brian Grazer told the audience at the screening that the project germinated for him during his high school days in the late 1960s in the San Fernando Valley. Jason Blum also produced.
“I grew up in Chatsworth and I loved the car clubs,” Grazer recalled. “It was an avenue of brotherhood. The Coasters stuck in my mind.”
Indeed, it turns out that The Coasters are front and center in the film. “Lowriders” director Ricardo de Montreuil, a native of Peru who came to Los Angeles a decade ago, mused that he became fascinated by the East Los Angeles arts scene soon after his arrival.
“It began to occur to me that it was being ignored and that there have not been movies about this part of L.A.,” he mused.
Film Independent, the parent organization for the festival, decided to bring festival screenings to Hollywood and Culver City this year after a six-year run downtown.
“We were part of the downtown resurgence, but the festival really belongs in Hollywood and Culver City,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh.
Festival director Stephanie Allain noted that “Lowriders” is very much a reflection of the desire of the organization to highlight films by and about minorities and women. “And the Dome is a place where so many fun movies have played,” she added.
Melissa Benoist, best known as Supergirl, plays a love interest and arts aficionado in “Lowriders.” “My favorite part of my role was being bounced up and down in the cars,” she noted.
Demián Bichir, Theo Rossi, Tony Revolori and Gabriel Chavarria also star. The post-screening bash took place at Longoria’s Beso.