The 21st Annual Los Angeles Film Festival


The 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) returns to downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE (June 10-18) with a diverse a diverse slate of 74 feature films, 60 short films, and over 50 new media works representing 35 countries are offered.

LAFF is produced by Film Independent with Presenting Media Sponsor- the Los Angeles Times, and Host Partner- L.A. LIVE

New sections this year are the U.S. Fiction and World Fiction Competitions and Launch, Buzz, Nightfall and Zeitgeist programs.

The Los Angeles Film Festival offers unparalleled access to creative voices through energetic film programming, Master Classes, live performances and conversations with the most compelling artists working today.

LAFF 2015 will screen a diverse slate of feature films, shorts, web series and music videos, along with signature programs such as the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film at The GRAMMY Museum® and Master Classes.
“Our curatorial focus… this year was to create a program of vibrant and diverse stories and storytellers who exhibit true and singular voices,” said Roya Rastegar, Associate Director of Programming. “We saw thousands of submissions and chose films with unique perspectives that take a risk in whatever story they tell. This year’s films range from micro-budgets to large-scale productions, by first-time directors and widely celebrated veterans. They each hold their own by projecting a distinct way of seeing the world.”
“The Documentary Competition is a truly international line-up of character-driven work, reflective of a pervading trend in trans-national productions,” said Jennifer Cochis, Senior Programmer.

 “The World Fiction Competition is a highly curated section of films that upend preconceived notions of place to create a different way to see a time, country, or people.” 

In its inaugural year, the Launch section is designed to showcase innovations in independent storytelling crafted in digital media including music videos, web series, podcasts, interactive games and digital activism shorts.
“Launch recognizes vibrant pools of independent artists who are telling stories their way to larger audiences because of new platforms and technologies,” said Programmer Drea Clark.
“”Grandma” is the Opening Night Film; there will be Gala Screenings of  the feature films “Seoul Searching” and “The Final Girls”, as well as the first episode of the highly anticipated TV series “Scream”.

Two Pre-Festival Screenings will also be held: “Dope” will have its LA Premiere on June 8, “Inside Out” screens on June 9, preceded by a special Master Class with writer/director Pete Docter.

This year’s Guest Director is Rodrigo García, Gale Anne Hurd will receive the Jaeger-Lecoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award and Lily Tomlin will receive the Spirit of Independence Award.
The Festival’s six competitions feature 53 Premieres: 39 World Premieres, six International Premieres, four North American Premieres and four U.S. Premieres. 26 of the World, International, and North American Premieres are in the U.S. Fiction, Documentary and World Fiction Competition sections, 21 of the World Premieres are in the inaugural Nightfall, Zeitgeist, and LA Muse competitions.

Nearly 40% of the directors in the six feature competition categories, are female and nearly 30% of the films are directed by people of color.

US Fiction Competition: “How He Fell in Love”, “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong”, “Out of My Hand”, “Puerto Ricans in Paris”, “Too Late.”

Docs: “My Love, Don’t Cross That River”, “Missing People”, “The Babuskhas of Chernobyl”.

World Fiction Competition: “Atomic Heart”, “Elvira, Te Daria Mi Vida Pero La Estoy Usando” (Elvira, I’d Give You My Life But I’m Using It). “A Midsummer’s Fantasia”, “Sin Alas” (Without Wings), “White Moss”.

Free Screenings: ” Who Framed Roger Rabbit” Zemeckis’ family-friendly mixed live action and Animation classic on the big screen at Union Station, ” Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and The Politics of Race.”.

Buzz : “Brand: A Second Coming”,Ondi Timoner’s portrait of Russell Brand, rocked SXSW, Brand tried too cancel the festival screening), “Chuck Norris vs Communism”, “The Dark Horse” ( James Napier Robertson’s film stars Cliff Curtis (“Whale Rider”) as  the late Genesis Potini, a psych ward patient and chess prodigy turned local hero and subject of New Zealand doc ” Curtis”, Sundance hit “Diary of a Teenage Girl”,  Mark Ruffalo’s a standout in Sundance favorite ”  Infinitely Polar Bear”, “The Duplass brothers star in oddball comic roadmovie “Manson Family Vacation”. the Duplass Bros alos produced the racy sex comedy “The Overnight”,  James C. Strous’s “People, Places, Things” is a single parent comedy, Peruvian director Javier Fuentes-Leon ( “Undertow”) creates a Borgesian noir ‘The Vanished Elephant’ (‘El Elefante Desaparecido’, Sebastian Schipper’s genre bending heist thriller “Victoria.”, by Ben Patterson’s Sweet Micky For president, which won the audience award at Slamdance, follows Haitain born music star Pras Michel of the Fugees’s attempt to  mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician:

LA Muse:”Aram, Aram”, ” Flock of Dudes”, ” No Más Bebés” (No More Babies).

Nightfall  Miguel Llansó’s surreal scifi “Crumbs” , “Plan Sexenal” (Six Year Plan),

Zeitgeist: “Band of Robbers” (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as grown-up stick up men) “Pocha” (Manifest Destiny),”  What Lola Wants”

US Fiction Competition (10)
Original voices with distinct visions from emerging and established American independent filmmakers.

·         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 (12) Sponsored by Netflix and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television.
Compelling, character-driven non-fiction films from the U.S. and around the world.
·         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 (8)
Unique fiction films from around the world from emerging and established filmmakers, especially curated for LA audiences.
·         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
Short Films (60): From over 3,000 submissions, the short films selected represent 15 countries, and 50% are directed by women. Short films are shown before features and as part of six short film programs. Shorts will compete for juried prizes for fiction and documentary shorts, as well as an Audience Award for Best Short Film.

In addition LAFF offers the following free screenings
Free Screenings
§  Love & Basketball, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood
Gina Prince Bythewood’s ode to romance on the court – and the competitive efforts to keep romance alive off the hardwood – stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as friends whose lifelong relationship tracks their obsession with basketball as it blooms into something deeper, and not without pitfalls. This 15th anniversary screening will reunite Prince-Bythewood with her cast including Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Kyla Pratt, Glenndon Chatman, Gabrielle Union, Dennis Haysbert
Debi Morgan and Alfre Woodard. The event takes place on Saturday, June 13, 8pm at FIGat7th.
§  The LXD: The Uprising Begins, dir. Jon M. Chu, Ryan Landels, Charles Oliver, Scott Speer.
Jon M. Chu will be in attendance to present The LXD: The Legion Of Extraordinary Dancers, a groundbreaking cinematic dance adventure. Join seemingly ordinary people who discover they have extraordinary powers in a mythology about hope, greed, love and the force that moves us all. Friday, June 12, 8:00 pm at FIGat7th.
§  Who Framed Roger Rabbit, dir. Robert Zemeckis.
In 1988, Director Bob Zemeckis pulled off something no one dreamed possible: he packed a period detective yarn about the changing landscape of Los Angeles with a energetic, slapstick story about where reality begins and ends. This event is family friendly and will take place at, and in partnership with, Union Station on Friday, June 12 @ 8:00 pm. Festival family programming is supported by Lisa Argyros / Argyros Family Foundation.
Social Impact Free Screenings
§  American DREAMers, dir. Jenniffer Castillo and Saray Deiseil, USA, World Premiere.
Six youth walk 3,000 miles across America’s heartland, from San Francisco to Washington D.C., risking their freedom by publically exposing their own undocumented status to fight for the DREAM Act and immigrant rights. Partial development support provided by the Incubator Lab, a post-graduate program funded by the Elbridge and Debra Stuart Family Foundation and sponsored by Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Tuesday, June 16, 8:00 pm at La Plaza de Cultura Y Artes.
§  Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and The Politics of Race, dir. Lyn Goldfarb, USA, World Premiere.
Thirty-five years before Barack Obama rose to victory to become America’s first African-American President, a young Angeleno named Tom Bradley bridged the racial divide to become the first black mayor elected in a city with an overwhelmingly white majority. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on police and citizen relations moderated by Patt Morrisson of the LA Times and will feature director Lyn Goldfarb, producer Alison Sotomayor and actor Andre Royo (The Wire). Sunday, June 14, 1:30 pm at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live.
§  Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014, dir. Shari Cookson and Nick Doob, USA, World Premiere.
Through found footage from social media, 911 calls and police file material, HBO’s Requiem for the Dead puts a human face on some of the estimated 8,000 individuals who died by gun violence in America from March to June 2014. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on gun safety. Wednesday, June 17, 5:30 pm at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live.

On Saturday, June 13 the Los Angeles Film Festival will hold its annual Coffee Talks. The Festival’s popular series returns with four sessions featuring some of today’s most interesting film figures discussing their craft with their peers in fun and freewheeling conversations including director: Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed), actors Kathryn Hahn (We’re The Millers, Afternoon Delight), David Koechner (Cheap Thrills, Anchorman), Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, The Help) and Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave, Passion Fish), writers David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) and Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club, Mirror, Mirror).  The Directors panel is Sponsored by Directors Guild of America, the Actors panel is Sponsored by SAGIndie, the Composers panel is Sponsored by BMI and the Screenwriters panel is Sponsored by Writers Guild of America, West.
Free UN Panel
§  UN(earthing) Stories: Behind the Scenes on the World Stage
Join us for a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes with filmmakers, narrative as well as documentary, who have found inspiration in real human stories and the experts from the UN who have helped unearth them. Sponsored by Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television.  In partnership with the United Nations and the United Nations Creative Community Outreach Initiative.
Film Independent Members-only Screening
§  Fan Girl, dir. Paul Jarrett, USA, LA Premiere
Ironic cool teen Telulah has two obsessions: music and filmmaking. She hatches a plan to film a concert by her music idols All Time Low and bring her passions together. Starring Kiernan Shipka and Meg Ryan.
Future Filmmakers Showcase: High School Shorts (27): The Los Angeles Film Festival’s Future Filmmaker Showcase brings to the big screen the best films made by budding young filmmakers from across the country and the globe. In this diverse slate of films, incredibly accomplished high school students will present wild comedies, moving dramas, mesmerizing animation, introspective experimental films and everything in between. Program funded by Lisa Argyros/Argyros Family Foundation, Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television and Time Warner Foundation.
Launch (50+)
Independent storytelling crafted through digital media, including music videos, web series, podcasts, interactive games and digital activism shorts.
            Making Cool Sh*t: The Music Videos of OK Go (10)
            Equally comfortable with filmmaking and songwriting through with visual art and    rock concerts, OK Go have bridged art forms that used to be considered    distinct. This showcase of their music videos will be followed by an extended    talk with frontman and director Damian Kulash.
            Episodes: Indie Series from the Web (13)
            A showcase of independently crafted web series, celebrating rising show creators whose work is innovative and unfiltered.
            Movies For Your Ears: Making Picture-less Films (1)
            Creator Jonathan Mitchell explores his podcast The Truth, which showcases crafted, colorful and diverse works of short fiction that are at once cinematic and musical.
            Interactive Storytelling: IndieCade Gaming Favorites (9)
            Innovation and artistry in interactive media is showcased through a collection of rich, diverse, and culturally significant games on custom gaming PCs provided by Dell Computers.
            #BlackLifeBlackProtest (5)
            Bridging content creations and social justice issues, this curated selection of socially relevant short films precedes a public dialogue among noted artists, activists and educators.
            JASH Presents: An Evening of Buh Comedy
An intimate evening with comedy luminaries screening unreleased videos of their creation along with favorite inspiring videos of their choice. Hosted by Dead Kevin, guests include Doug Lussenhop, Henry Phillips, and more.
            Funny or Die’s Make ‘em LAFF Showcase
            A live comedy showcase of today’s most diverse and original independent comedic voices, featuring comedians such as Beth Stelling, Solomon Georgio and Chris Garcia, with additional performers to be announced.
Other Festival sections include Buzz, LA Muse, Nightfall and Zeitgeist.
Buzz (13 films)
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
LA Muse (10 films)
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 (8 films)
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 (6 films)
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

Passes are on sale to Film Independent Members and the general public. In addition to access to screenings and events (even after they sell out), Festival passes provide access to networking receptions and the Festival Lounge, where pass holders interact with Festival filmmakers and industry professionals.

Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337) or visit
Online & Social Media: Find us on Facebook at and Twitter @LAFilmFest. Official event hashtag: #LAFilmFest.
The Festival’s signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film at The GRAMMY Museum®, Celebrating Women Filmmakers, Master Classes, Spirit of Independence Award, Coffee Talks, LA Muse and more. The Festival also screens short films created by high school students and a special section devoted to expanded storytelling across the web, TV and gaming. The Los Angeles Film Festival is presented in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Film Festival team is headed by new Festival Director Stephanie Allain, Film Independent Curator Elvis Mitchell. the programming team includes Associate Director of Programming Roya Rastegar, Senior Programmer Jennifer Cochis, Programmers Jenn Wilson and Drea Clark, Head Shorts Programmer Landon Zakheim,
Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects and works to diversify the film industry. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.
Besides LAFF Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.
Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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