The Los Angeles Film Festival kicks off Thursday, with Pedro Almodovar’s “I’m So Excited!” raising the curtain, and Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s “The Way, Way Back,” bringing it down. In between, the sprocket opera will include a mix of top talent (David O. Russell is the fest’s guest director), masterclasses and panels, as well as a special focus this year on women editors.
Stephanie Allain, in her second year as the festival director, says the fest aims to celebrate the contributions of women each year, with 2013 featuring the accomplishments of female editors, including a luncheon for editors to share ideas with each other and with the public.
“Every year we’re going to put the spotlight on a different group of women in the business: composers, cinematographers, costume designers, you name it,” says Allain, who adds that next year, “we’re getting Wendy (Melvoin) and Lisa (Coleman) to talk about how they score title sequences.”
Another feature of the 11-day event is the Iconic Moment program, which spotlights costume design. Held in conjunction with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and curated by costume designer Sophie de Rakoff, the event includes an exhibit of the work of Alex Prager and an outdoor screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (with costumes by Edith Head). “We’re talking about how a costume can leap off the screen and into pop culture,” Allain says.
Russell will receive the festival’s Spirit of Independence Award, and will host a special screening of “Three Kings” and discuss his career. Spike Jonze will hold court at a discussion forum, while Maya Rudolph and Gustavo Santaolalla will teach masterclasses.
“Man of Steel” unspools in a special pre-festival screening June 12; festival titles include Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives,” David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Short Term 12,” Disney-Pixar’s “Monsters U” and James Ponsoldt’s “The Spectacular Now.”
“I always ask, ‘What do I want to see?’ ” Allain says. “We are focused on filmmakers. The festival is a great exclamation point to (sponsoring org) Film Independent’s year-round programs.”
For a complete lineup, go to lafilmfest.com.