With penguins on the red carpet at “March of the Penguins,” krumpers dancing the night away at “Rize” and magicians at a Santa Monica Pier family day, this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival brought to mind the phrase, “Everything but the kitchen sink.”
The diverse offering of films and events drew record crowds of more than 45,000, according to Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson. “I know that box office is down, but ours has tripled in the past four years,” she said, crediting the support of sponsors like Target.
Indeed, the Target dog had plenty of time in the limelight at the fest’s first annual Spirit of Independence Award, honoring George Clooney. Virginia Madsen cozied up to the pup, while Sam Rockwell shot down the arrivals line to get inside to present the kudo. “I just think it’s great that George is getting this award because I know he has B-roll of many of you with farm animals,” Rockwell joked.
Other happenings during the 10-day indie free-for-all included the opening-night screening of hip-hop drama “Hustle & Flow”; the Centerpiece party for “Nine Lives,” with attendees Ed Harris and Emily Mortimer; and the appropriately named closing-night film, “Happy Endings,” Don Roos’ unpredictable black comedy starring Lisa Kudrow.
Also among the festgoers were Don Cheadle, Sydney Pollack, Allison Janney, Edward Norton, Laura Dern, Alessandro Nivola and David Arquette.