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L.A. Film Festival to close with an immigration thriller based on the U.S.-Mexico border

L.A. Film Festival to close with an immigration thriller based on the U.S.-Mexico border
Actors Gael García Bernal, from left, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and filmmaker Jonás Cuarón from the film 'Desierto.' (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The L.A, Film Festival will close with the U.S. premiere of Jonás Cuarón's immigration thriller "Desierto," starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

The festival will also host the world premiere of James Wan's "The Conjuring 2," starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators, according to an announcement.

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"Desierto" transforms the journey of a group of Mexican immigrants crossing the border into America into a chase thriller. The film was co-written by Cuarón and Mateo García, and among the film's producers is Cuarón's father, Academy Award winner Alfonso Cuarón.

"Jonás Cuarón's 'Desierto' is a gripping thriller and a perfect way to close the LA Film Festival," Film Independent President Josh Welsh said in a statement. "Cuarón again reveals himself as a powerful new director."

The festival also announced a series of master classes and conversations. On June 2, a conversation will be held with the filmmaking team behind "The Birth of A Nation," including writer, director and star Nate Parker alongside actress Aja Naomi King and other members of the cast. The film tells the story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. It won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award when it premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

The final episode of FX's "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" will be shown on June 7, followed by a  conversation with writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and actors Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance.

"Creed" director Ryan Coogler will participate in a master class that focuses on the film's soundtrack, along with sound designer Steve Boedekker. A separate class will feature Alex McDowell -- production designer of films such as "Man of Steel" and "Fight Club" -- discussing virtual reality.

The festival will also present its Glory to the Filmmaker award to cinematographer Maryse Alberti, who recently shot Coogler's "Creed" and the upcoming film "Collateral Beauty" starring Will Smith and Kate Winslett.

The LA Film Festival runs from June 1 to 9 at the Arclight Cinemas. For more information, go to lafilmfestival.com

Follow on Twitter: @IndieFocus

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