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Los Angeles Film Festival Unveils Lineup

The Los Angeles Film Festival has unveiled its lineup with 39 world premieres including Baron Davis’ documentary “The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce” and Will Slocombe’s “The Escort,” starring Lyndsy Fonseca.

The festival also announced notable titles from Sundance and other festivals including Netflix’s “Manson Family Vacation,” thriller “Victoria,” “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “Infinitely Polar Bear,” Russell Brand’s “Brand: A Second Coming” and “The Vanished Elephant.”

The festival, now in its 21st year, returns to downtown Los Angeles at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live. Lily Tomlin comedy “Grandma” was announced last month as the opening night film of this year’s festival on June 10.

Festival director Stephanie Allain — now in her fourth year — told Variety that the upcoming program has been been tilted toward indies with a sharp increase in the number of premieres, adding, “We are going back to our roots.”

Between the six feature competition categories, nearly 40% of the directors are female and nearly 30% of the films are directed by people of color. Roya Rastegar, associate director of programming, said the keys in selecting the festival titles were unique perspectives and risk-taking.

“This year’s films range from micro-budgets to large-scale productions, by first-time directors and widely celebrated veterans,” she said. “They each hold their own by projecting a distinct way of seeing the world.”

Jennifer Cochis, senior programmer, noted that the two documentary competitions — one for U.S. and the other for international — have been merged into a single category.  “The Documentary Competition is a truly international line-up of character-driven work, reflective of a pervading trend in trans-national productions,” she said.

The lineup includes 74 feature films, 60 short films and over 50 new-media works representing 35 countries. New sections include the U.S. fiction and world fiction competitions and launch, as well as the previously announced Buzz, Nightfall and Zeitgeist programs.

The fiction competition includes “Too Late,” starring John Hawkes; “A Country Called Home,” starring Imogen Poots; “Puerto Ricans in Paris,” starring Luis Guzman; and U.S.-Colombian co-production “Bastards y Diablos” (pictured above).

Besides “Grandma” and the yet-to-be announced closing night title, the festival will include Gala Screenings for the first episode of the MTV series “Scream,” Benson Lee’s “Seoul Searching” and Todd Strauss-Schulson’s “The Final Girl.”


The U.S. fiction competition includes:
3rd Street Blackout, dir. Negin Farsad, Jeremy Redleaf, USA, World Premiere
A Country Called Home, dir. Anna Axster, USA, World Premiere
Bastards Y Diablos, dir. A.D. Freese, USA/Colombia, World Premiere
The Girl in the Book, dir. Marya Cohn, USA, World Premiere
How He Fell in Love, dir. Marc Meyers, USA, World Premiere
It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, dir. Emily Ting, USA, World Premiere
Mekko, dir. Sterlin Harjo, USA, World Premiere
Out of My Hand, dir. Takeshi Fukunaga, USA/Liberia, N. American Premiere
Puerto Ricans in Paris, dir. Ian Edelman, USA/France/Czech Republic, World Premiere
Too Late, dir. Dennis Hauck, USA, World Premiere

Documentary competition:
A New High, dir. Samuel Miron, Stephen Scarpulla, USA, World Premiere
The Babuskhas of Chernobyl, dir. Holly Morris, USA/Ukraine, World Premiere
Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story), dir. Lilibet Foster, USA/Australia, World Premiere
Catching the Sun, dir. Shalini Kantayya, USA, World Premiere
In a Perfect World, dir. Daphne McWilliams, USA, World Premiere
Incorruptible, dir. Chai Vasarhelyi, Senegal/USA, International Premiere
Love Between the Covers, dir. Laurie Kahn, USA, U.S. Premiere
Maiko: Dancing Child, dir. Åse Svenheim Drivenes, Japan/Norway, World Premiere
Missing People, dir. David Shapiro, USA, U.S. Premiere
My Love, Don’t Cross That River, dir. Mo-Young Jin, South Korea, U.S. Premiere
Oriented, dir. Jake Winternitz, UK/Palestine/Israel, International Premiere
Treasure; From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story, dir. dream hampton, USA, World Premiere

World fiction competition:
Atomic Heart, dir. Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran, North American Premiere
Ayanda and the Mechanic, dir. Sara Blecher, South Africa, World Premiere
Elvira, Te Daria Mi Vida Pero La Estoy Usando (Elvira, I’d Give You My Life But I’m Using It), dir. Manolo Caro, Mexico, International Premiere
Flocking (Flocken), dir. Baeta Gardeler, Sweden, North American Premiere
Las Malas Lenguas (Sweet and Vicious), dir. Juan Paolo Arias, Colombia, World Premiere
A Midsummer’s Fantasia, dir. Jang Kun-Jae, South Korea/Japan, U.S. Premiere
Sin Alas (Without Wings), dir. Ben Chace, Cuba, International Premiere
White Moss (Belyy Yagel), dir. Vladimir Tumaev, Russian Federation, International Premiere

Buzz: Los Angeles premieres of celebrated favorites from around the world.
Brand: A Second Coming, dir. Ondi Timoner, UK/USA
Chuck Norris vs Communism, dir. Illinca Calugareanu, UK/Romania/Germany
The Dark Horse, dir.James Napier Robertson, New Zealand
Diary of a Teenage Girl, dir. Marielle Heller, USA
In Football We Trust, dir. Tony Vainuku, co-dir. Erika Cohn, USA
Infinitely Polar Bear, dir. Maya Forbes, USA
Jimmy’s Hall, dir. Ken Loach, UK/Ireland/France
Manson Family Vacation, dir. J. Davis, USA
The Overnight, dir. Patrick Brice, USA
People, Places, Things, dir. James C. Strouse, USA
The Vanished Elephant, dir. Javier Fuentes León, Peru/Colombia/Spain
Victoria, dir. Sebastian Schipper, Germany
Sweet Micky for President, dir. Ben Patterson, Haiti/USA

L.A. Muse: A competitive section of world premieres of fiction and documentary films that are quintessentially L.A.
A Beautiful Now, dir. Daniela Amavia, USA, World Premiere
Aram, Aram, dir. Christopher Chambers, USA, World Premiere
Can You Dig This, dir. Delila Vallot, USA, World Premiere
Day Out of Days, dir. Zoe R. Cassavetes, USA, World Premiere
The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce, dir. Baron Davis, Chad Gordon, USA, World Premiere
The Escort, dir. Will Slocombe, USA, World Premiere
Flock of Dudes, dir. Bob Castrone, USA, World Premiere
French Dirty, dir. Wade Allain-Marcus & Jesse Allain-Marcus, USA, World Premiere
No Más Bebés (No More Babies), dir. Renee Tajima-Peña, USA, World Premiere
Weepah Way for Now, dir. Stephen Ringer, USA, World Premiere

Nightfall: From the bizarre to the horrifying, these are films to watch after dark. Films premiering for the first time in the U.S. are nominated for the Nightfall Award.
Caught, dir. Maggie Kiley, USA, World Premiere
The Confines, dir. Eytan Rockaway, USA, World Premiere
Crumbs, dir. Miguel Llansó, Spain/Ethiopia/Finland, North American Premiere
Crush the Skull, dir. Viet Nguyen, USA, World Premiere
Dude Bro Party Massacre III, dir. Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, USA, World Premiere
Plan Sexenal (Six Year Plan), dir. Santiago Cendejas, Mexico, North American Premiere
Ratter, dir. Branden Kramer, USA, LA Premiere
Shut In, dir. Adam Schindler, USA, World Premiere

Zeitgeist: A competitive section of curated, world premiere films that embody key trends in American independent filmmaking. 2015 captures hard knock, coming of age stories.
A Girl Like Grace, dir. Ty Hodges, USA, World Premiere
Band of Robbers, dir. Aaron Nee & Adam Nee, USA, World Premiere
In the Treetops, dir. Matthew Brown, USA, World Premiere
Manifest Destiny, dir. Michael Dwyer, Kaitlin McLaughlin, USA, World Premiere
Stealing Cars, dir. Bradley Kaplan, USA, World Premiere
What Lola Wants, dir. Rupert Glasson, USA, World Premiere

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