Yippie-ki-yay! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is throwing a 20th birthday bash for the action thriller “Die Hard” tonight at the Linwood Dunn Theater. “Die Hard,” which was one of the top box office hits of 1988, made Bruce Willis a movie star for his portrayal of wisecracking New York cop John McClane, who winds up battling terrorists on a trip to L.A.
The screening will feature a panel discussion with film historian and author Eric Lichtenfeld and several members of “Die Hard’s” technical crew, including editor Frank J. Urioste and visual effects producer and academy governor Richard Edlund. www.oscars.org.
Kent Mackenzie’s 1961 debut feature, “The Exiles,” which chronicles one evening in the lives of young Native American men and women living in L.A.'s Bunker Hill district, will receive its L.A. premiere Friday at the Billy Wilder Theater. The “lost” independent feature was recently restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. It will screen through Aug. 23 at the Wilder. www.cinema.ucla.edu.
The first Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles continues with such eclectic films as the documentary “Faubourg Treme: The Story of Black New Orleans” and the new Don Cheadle thriller, “Traitor,” both of which screen Saturday at the L.A. Center Studio. The festival also has several programs of short films and a presentation Friday at Broadway’s venerable Los Angeles Theater of the 1929 silent “Piccadilly,” starring Anna May Wong. www.dffla.com.
Screenwriter and director Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) will be honored by the LA Shorts Festival on its opening night Friday with the 2008 Maverick Filmmaker Award. Now in its 12th year, 30 of the shorts that have played here have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations, with nine of them winning. Among the films screening at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters are “Windows in the Skies” featuring U2, “Missing Pieces” with Rainn Wilson, “Woman in Burka” starring Sam Rockwell and “Haber,” about a chemist in WWI Germany. The festival continues through Aug. 21. www.LAshortsFest.com.
The American Cinematheque’s Festival of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction features new prints of rare pre-code horror films Wednesday evening at the Egyptian, including 1932’s creepy “Island of Lost Souls,” based on H.G. Wells’ “Island of Dr. Moreau,” starring Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen and Bela Lugosi as a beast-man, and 1932’s “Kongo,” a remake of the Lon Chaney classic “West of Zanzibar,” starring Walter Huston, Virginia Bruce and Lupe Velez. americancinematheque.com.