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The Los Angeles Film Festival's Stanley Cup stickiness

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Will the Stanley Cup finals cramp the Los Angeles Film Festival's style on opening night?

When the Los Angeles Film Festival kicks off Wednesday night with "Snowpiercer," Bong Joon-ho's post-apocalyptic thriller set aboard a train traversing a frozen wasteland, it won't be the only communal viewing of action on ice.

Just a stone's throw away from the LAFF opener at the Regal Cinemas downtown, about 1,500 hockey fans will gather at Club Nokia to watch a live broadcast of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, in which the Kings have a chance to sweep the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Though bringing the Cup back to Los Angeles would no doubt be great for civic pride, it could also cramp LAFF's style on its big night, depending on how rowdy fans get.

Four years ago, when LAFF first moved downtown, the fest opened with a screening at the Regal and an after-party at L.A. Live on the same night the Lakers beat the Celtics at adjacent Staples Center to claim the NBA title.

The festival events went off without a hitch, but leaving was another issue. Some festival-goers trying to head home, including a Times reporter, encountered a phalanx of riot police and swarms of unruly fans. (The Times' Steven Zeitchik wrote about the chaos downtown that evening.)

Festival organizers did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether any special measures will be taken this year.

There are some notable differences this time around. Because the Kings are on the road, there will be far fewer fans in the vicinity of LAFF than there would be for a home game. (Staples Center's capacity is about 18,000). Then again, disorderly sports fans have been known to congregate around Staples Center even for title victories on the road.

Adding to the crowds, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is underway at the nearby Convention Center. On Wednesday night, that means the multimedia concert Video Games Live will be taking place at the Nokia Theatre.

For Game 4, the puck drops on the early side, at 5 p.m. PDT. Depending on how the timing works out, the game's conclusion could overlap with the red-carpet arrivals for "Snowpiercer," which is set to screen at 7:30 p.m., although it's more likely the game will run a bit later than that. That could put the bulk of the post-game activity during the screening itself, when festival-goers are inside the theater.

Kings fans are also less numerous than Lakers fans, and anecdotal evidence suggests that they're somewhat less rambunctious as well. The Kings last won the Stanley Cup in 2012, at home, and though throngs of fans did take to the streets, major commotion was avoided. (LAFF started three days later that year.)

All of this is also contingent on a Kings win -- a loss would likely just mean that fans would go home and prepare for Game 5 back at Staples Center on Friday.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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