L.A. Film Festival competition lineups mix familiar faces with fresh discoveries


The L.A. Film Festival announced the lineups for the competition sections for its 2017 edition on Tuesday. Playing in the sections of U.S. fiction, documentary, world fiction, L.A. Muse and Nightfall will be 48 feature films representing 32 countries with 37 world premieres.

Continuing the festival’s recent commitment to diversity, 42% of the films are directed by women and 40% by people of color. The L.A. Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, takes place June 14 to 22 and is headquartered at the ArcLight Culver City with additional events in other venues around the city.

“Our competitions reflect who Film Independent is as an organization,” said Jennifer Cochis, marking her first year as festival director, in a statement. “Within each section you’ll find discovery, diversity, and promising talent both in front of and behind the camera.”


Also in a statement, programming director Roya Rastegar added: “The films curated for the 2017 competition reflect the changing political climate’s impact on emerging independent filmmakers, who are compelled to tell stories about the power of conviction, collectivity and resilience.”

The U.S. fiction competition will give audiences more familiar faces than in the festival’s last few years. Christian Papierniak’s “Izzy Gets the … Across Town” features Mackenzie Davis, Lakeith Stanfield and Carrie Coon. Vincent Grashaw’s “And Then I Go” has a cast including Melanie Lynskey, Justin Long and Royalty Hightower. Camille Thoman’s “Never Here” features Mireille Enos and Sam Shepard.

Also in the U.S. fiction section are Leena Pendharkar’s “20 Weeks,” Harris Doran’s “Beauty Mark,” Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell’s “Becks,” Bruce Thierry Cheung’s “Don’t Come Back From the Moon,” Andrea Sisson and Pete Ohs’ “Everything Beautiful Is Far Away,” Daniel Peddle’s “Moss,” and Paul Briganti’s “Village People” starring Aya Cash.

The documentary competition will feature Arshad Khan’s “Abu,” Julia Meltzer’s “Dalya’s Other Country,” Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp’s “Liyana,” Valerie Red-Horse Mohl’s “Mankiller,” Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s “Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators,” David Fenster’s “Opuntia,” Ciara Lacy’s “Out of State,” Yatri N. Niehaus’s “Stella Polaris Ulloriarsuaq,” Sara Lamm’s “Thank You for Coming” and Leyla Nedorosleva’s “Two Four Six.”

Among the biggest treats for local world cinema fans will be the North American premiere of South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo’s “On the Beach at Night Alone” as part of the world fiction competition. The film’s star, Kim Min-hee, picked up the best actress award when the film had its world premiere earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival. Hong also has two films premiering at the Cannes Film Festival later in May.


Also playing in the world competition will be Rafael Kapelinski’s “Butterfly Kisses” from Great Britain; Kagiso Lediga’s “Catching Feelings” from South Africa; Mascha Schilinski’s “Dark Blue Girl” from Germany and Greece; Sunao Katabuchi’s “In This Corner of the World” from Japan; Vashti Anderson’s “Moko Jumbie” from Trinidad and Tobago; Diego Ros’ “The Night Guard” from Mexico; and Luis Ayhllón’s “Nocturne” from Mexico.

The L.A. Muse section, highlighting films set in Los Angeles, will include the world premiere of “The Year of Spectacular Men,” the feature directing debut from actress Lea Thompson. The film stars her daughters, Madelyn Deutch (who also wrote the screenplay) and Zoey Deutch.

Also in the Muse section will be Savannah Bloch’s “And Then There Was Eve,” Timothy McNeil’s “Anything,” Bobby Kim, Alexis Spraic and Scott Weintrob’s “Built To Fail,” Billy McMillin’s “The Classic,” Jennifer Arnold’s “Fat Camp,” Casey Wilder Mott’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Delila Vallot’s “Mighty Ground,” Kate Hickey’s “Roller Dreams,” Mark Hayes’ “Skid Row Marathon,” Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi’s “What We Started” and Brandon Buczek’s “Your Own Road.”

The festival’s Nightfall section, for horror and genre films, will spotlight Sam Patton’s “Desolation,” Derek Nguyen’s “The Housemaid,” Colin Minihan’s “It Stains the Sands Red,” Julius Ramsay’s “Midnighters,” Giancarlo Ruiz’s “The Neighbor,” Norbert Keil’s “Replace,” Amanda Evans’ “Serpent,” and “Thread” from a Greek director credited as the Boy.

As previously announced, the 2017 L.A. Film Festival will open with the world premiere of Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry” and also feature a gala screening of Dave McCary’s “Brigsby Bear.”

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