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LA Film Festival Unveils Diverse Competition Slate

The LA Film Festival has placed a heavy emphasis on diversity in its competition film slate, with 42% of the films directed by women and 39% helmed by people of color.

The 24th edition of the festival is also positioning itself as an event for unveiling lesser-known talent. It will take place Sept. 20-28 as it moves from its traditional June slot to the fall awards season.

The Los Angeles event follow the Venice International Film Festival, which begins in late August; the Telluride Film Festival, which runs over Labor Day; and the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, which starts on Sept. 6. The festival will end just as the New York Film Festival begins.

“Our mission of finding fresh new voices from different geographical and cultural axes remains true,” said L Film Festival director Jennifer Cochis. “These storytellers are united by their ability to transport, impact and inspire audiences with the power of their craft.”

The lineup, which was unveiled Tuesday, includes 40 feature films, 41 short films, and 10 short episodic works representing 26 countries. Venues for the 2018 Festival include the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City, Hollywood, and Santa Monica, as well as the new LMU Playa Vista Campus (opening this fall), the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Writers Guild Theater.

The festival, which is operated by Film Independent, will unveil its opening and closing night titles in coming weeks.

In recent years, the LA Film Festival has been aiming to put an emphasis on films that are directed by and starring women and minorities. Its opening night film in June 2017 was “The Book of Henry,” starring Naomi Watts. It closed with Aubrey Plaza’s “Ingrid Goes West.”

Here is the complete list of films in competition:

U.S. Fiction Competition (7)

Banana Split, dir. Benjamin Francis Kasulke, USA, World Premiere
In Reality, dir. Ann Lupo, co-dirs. Esteban Pedraza & Aaron Pryka, USA, California Premiere
Olympia, dir. Gregory Dixon, USA, World Premiere
Simple Wedding, dir. Sara Zandieh, USA, World Premiere|
Softness of Bodies, dir. Jordan Blady, USA/Germany, World Premiere
This Teacher, dir. Mark Jackson, USA, World Premiere
The Wrong Todd, dir. Rob Schulbaum, USA, World Premiere

Documentary Competition (10)

Behind the Curve, dir. Daniel J. Clark, USA, US Premiere
Facing the Dragon, dir. Sedika Mojadidi, USA/Afghanistan, World Premiere
False Confessions, dir. Katrine Philp, Denmark, North American Premiere
hillbilly, dirs. Sally Rubin, Ashley York, USA, LA Premiere
Mamacita, dir. José Pablo Estrada Torrescano, Mexico/Germany, US Premiere
Moroni for President, dir. Saila Huusko, Jasper Rischen, USA, LA Premiere
Same God, dir. Linda Midgett, USA, World Premiere
The Silence of Others, dirs. Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, Spain, West Coast Premiere
Stammering Ballad, dir. Nan Zhang, China, North American Premiere
Wrestling Ghosts, dir. Ana Joanes, USA, World Premiere

World Fiction Competition (7)

Border, dir. Ali Abbasi, Sweden, California Premiere
The Cotton Wool War, dirs. Cláudio Marques, Marilia Hughes, Brazil, US Premiere
The Day I Lost My Shadow, dir. Soudade Kaadan, France/Lebanon/Qatar/Syrian Arab Republic, US Premiere
Heaven Without People, dir. Lucien Bourjeily, Lebanon, LA Premiere
Microhabitat, dir. Jeon Go-Woon, South Korea, West Coast Premiere
Socrates, dir. Alex Moratto, Brazil, World Premiere
Tower. A Bright Day., dir. Jagoda Szelc, Poland/Czech Republic, LA Premiere

LA Muse (10)

The Advocates, dir. Rémi Kessler, USA, World Premiere
El Chicano, dir. Ben Hernandez Bray, USA, World Premiere
Fire on the Hill, dir. Brett Fallentine, USA, World Premiere
Funke, dir. Gabriel Taraboulsy, USA, World Premiere
Making Montgomery Clift, dir. Robert A. Clift, Hillary Demmon, USA, World Premiere
Saint Judy, dir. Sean Hanish, USA, World Premiere
Solace, dir. Tchaiko Omawale, USA, California Premiere
Staycation, dir. Tanuj Chopra, USA, World Premiere
Stuntman, dir. Kurt Mattila, USA, World Premiere
We the Coyotes, dirs. Hanna Ladoul, Marco La Via, USA, North American Premiere

Nightfall (6)

The Dead Center, dir. Billy Senese, USA, World Premiere
Deep Murder, dir. Nick Corirossi, USA, World Premiere
Ghost Light, dir. John Stimpson, USA, World Premiere
Head Count, dir. Elle Callahan, USA, World Premiere
Spell, dir. Brendan Walter, USA, World Premiere
Thriller, dir. Dallas Jackson, USA, World Premiere

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