2013 Los Angeles Film Festival Complete Lineup and FAQ

The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival takes place from June 13-23 at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. One of the things which makes this festival unique is that it's sponsored by Film Independent, the same organization responsible for the "Oscars" for indies -- the Spirit Awards.

As someone whose life revolves around indies, it's been truly exciting to attend a festival every year which is run by the same folks who put on the ceremony that honors these movies, as it always has a schedule second-to-none for fans of independent film -- or simply great cinema. Plus there are always celebrity guests galore as the event is within a stone's throw of Hollywood.

"Our programmers culled through thousands of submissions and emerged with unique cinematic jewels from both seasoned masters and first time directors that will take you around the world," said Festival Director Stephanie Allain. "Whether witnessing the border up close in Rodrigo Reyes’ Purgatorio, hanging courtside with Venus Williams in Ava DuVernay’s Venus Vs., howling with Almodovar’s I’m So Excited!, or feeling the love in Rash and Faxon’s The Way, Way Back, you are in for an eye-opening experience. Bring your shades."

"We’ve put together a program that will appeal to every kind of movie lover, from exciting new American indies to the best international art house fare and eye-opening documentaries to family films, thrillers and horror flicks," Artistic Director David Ansen added. "We have 20 World Premieres and have discovered some amazing new filmmaking voices to introduce alongside such masters as Pedro Almodovar, Marco Bellocchio, Costa-Gavras and Johnnie To. I’m excited to turn Los Angeles on to these incredible movies."

This year's 19th LAFF received 5,428 submissions from filmmakers around the world, compared to 5,283 last year. Of these, nearly 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos were selected, representing more than 40 countries. The final selections represent 35 World, North American, and US premieres, which includes premiere status for films previously announced. 22 of the premieres are in the Narrative and Documentary Competition sections. Supplementing the screenings are the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film Nights at The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE, Poolside Chats, and Master Classes. Previously announced, filmmaker David O. Russell will serve as Guest Director and will receive the Spirit of Independence Award. Also confirmed were two Master Classes with Artists in Residence Maya Rudolph and Gustavo Santaolalla, “An Evening With Costa-Gavras,” including the US premiere of his new film Capital, and an “In Conversation” with playwright/filmmaker David Mamet and actor/stage magician/author Ricky Jay. Opening the Festival will be the North American premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited!. Special Screenings and Programs will be announced in the coming weeks.

Several of my recent film festival favorites are featured in the lineup, including the official Closing Night Film The Way, Way Back. The Academy Award-winning writing team of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who shared the Oscar with Alexander Payne for Best Adapted Screenplay for 2011's The Descendants, are back as co-writers/directors of this coming-of-age dramatic comedy. For their refreshingly authentic directorial debut, the pair has assembled an all-star cast including Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, and Rob Corddry. The youngsters in the spotlight include Zoe Levin, AnnaSophia Robb, and River Alexander. A far-reaching search for the critical lead role of Duncan, the 14-year-old protagonist, turned up Canadian actor Liam James. After attending the World Premiere at Sundance this past January, I gave The Way, Way Back five stars and a place on my 2013 Sundance Film Festival Top 8 Picks (see my review and photos of the World Premiere Q&A). It was then picked up by Fox Searchlight in the largest deal in the history of the Sundance Film Festival. James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now, featured in the Summer Showcase section, also made my Sundance Top 8 (see my review and photos of the World Premiere Q&A). In addition, I saw Concussion, Crystal Fairy, and Wadjda at Sundance as well as The Act of Killing and Short Term 12 at the SXSW Film Festival. I recommend them all.

For all feature film synopses, casts, and credits, along with all short film titles, see the 2013 Line-Up Addendum. (PDF)

Here is the complete lineup of feature films, followed by answers to the most frequently asked questions I receive each year:


• I'm So Excited!, Pedro Almodóvar – SPAIN -- NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE


• The Way, Way Back, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash – USA


• Only God Forgives, Nicholas Winding Refn – USA/Thailand/Sweden/France – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler – USA

NARRATIVE COMPETITION -- The Narrative Competition is comprised of 12 films made by talented emerging filmmakers that compete for the Filmmaker Award. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature or Best International Feature. The Narrative Competition and Grand Jury Prize are sponsored by DIRECTV Cinema.

• All Together Now, Alexander Mirecki – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Forev, Molly Green, James Leffler – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Forty Years From Yesterday, Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Four Dogs, Joe Burke – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Goodbye World, Denis Henry Hennelly – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• The House That Jack Built, Henry Barrial – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Mother, I Love You, Janis Nords – Latvia – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• My Sister’s Quinceañera, Aaron Douglas Johnston – USA – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• Pollywogs, Karl Jacob, Todd Arthur Cottam – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Winter in the Blood, Andrew Smith, Alex Smith – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Workers, Jose Luis Valle – Mexico/Germany – US PREMIERE

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION -- The Documentary Competition is comprised of 12 films made by talented emerging filmmakers that compete for the Documentary Award. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors, and films in this section are also eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature or Best International Feature. The Documentary Competition and Grand Jury Prize are sponsored by DIRECTV Cinema.

• All of Me, Alexandra Lescaze – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, Grace Lee – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Code Black, Ryan McGarry – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• The Island of Saint Matthews, Kevin Jerome Everson – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Llyn Foulkes: One Man Band, Christopher Quilty, Tamar Halpern – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• My Stolen Revolution, Nahid Persson Sarvestani – Sweden – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• The New Black, Yoruba Richen – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Rain, Olivia Rochette, Gerard-Jan Claes – Belgium – US PREMIERE
• Tapia, Eddie Alcazar – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Purgatorio, Rodrigo Reyes – Mexico/USA – US PREMIERE

INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE -- The International Showcase highlights 15 innovative independent narrative and documentary features from outside of the United States. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.

• The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn – Denmark/Norway/UK (Drafthouse Films)
• Black Out, Eva Webber – UK – NORTH AMERCAN PREMIERE
• Boxing Day, Bernard Rose – UK
• Dormant Beauty, Marco Bellocchio – Italy
• Drug War, Johnnie To – China
• Ernest & Celestine, Stéphanie Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner – France (Gkids)
• The Expedition to the End of the World, Daniel Dancik – Denmark
• The Fifth Season, Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth – Belgium/Netherlands/France
• House with a Turret, Eva Neymann – Ukraine
• The Moo Man, Andy Heathcote, Heike Bachelier – UK
• Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, Hong Sang-soo – Korea – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
• The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi – Afghanistan/France/Germany/UK (Sony Pictures Classics)
• Wadjda, Haifaa Al Mansour – Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates/Germany (Sony Pictures Classics)
• When I Saw You, Annemarie Jacir – Palestine/Jordan/Greece/United Arab Emirates/USA
• The Women and the Passenger, Valentina Mac-Pherson, Patricia Correra – Chile – US PREMIERE

SUMMER SHOWCASE -- The Summer Showcase section offers an advanced look at 17 of this summer’s most talked about independent film releases and will include highlights from the festival circuit and premieres. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature, Best Narrative Feature, or Best Documentary Feature.

• Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, David Lowery – USA (IFC Films)
• Brothers Hypnotic, Reuben Atlas – Netherlands/USA
• Casting By, Tom Donahue – USA (HBO Films)
• Concussion, Stacie Passon – USA (RADiUS-TWC)
• The Crash Reel, Lucy Walker – USA (HBO Films)
• Crystal Fairy, Sebastián Silva – Chile (IFC Films)
• Europa Report, Sebastián Cordero – USA (Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing) – US PREMIERE
• First Cousin Once Removed, Alan Berliner – USA (HBO Films)
• Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, Sophie Huber – Switzerland
• In a World…, Lake Bell – USA (Roadside Attractions)
• Our Nixon, Penny Lane – USA
• Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, Jeff Broadway – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Short Term 12, Destin Daniel Cretton – USA
• The Spectacular Now, James Ponsoldt – USA
• Venus Vs., Ava DuVernay – USA (ESPN) – WORLD PREMIERE

COMMUNITY SCREENINGS -- These five films will be presented free to the public. New films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature or Best Documentary Feature.

• Brasslands, Adam Pogoff, Jay Sterrenberg, Bryan Chang – USA – FIGat7th Screening
• Dazed and Confused (1993), Richard Linklater – USA – 20th Anniversary Screening – FIGat7th Screening
• Hairspray (1988), John Waters – USA – Grand Park Dance-A-Long – 25th Anniversary Screening
• Inequality for All, Jacob Kornbluth – USA – Grand Performances Screening
• Life of a King, Jake Goldberger – USA– Project Involve Screening – WORLD PREMIERE

THE BEYOND -- The Beyond offers three films that dare to be different. Films in this section are eligible for Audience Awards for Best International Feature or Best Narrative Feature.

• Delivery, Brian Netto – USA – WORLD PREMIERE
• Lesson of the Evil, Takashi Miike – Japan – US PREMIERE
• You’re Next, Adam Wingard – USA (Lionsgate)


• Amarcord (1973), Federico Fellini – Italy – 40th Anniversary Screening
• Between Two Worlds (2009), Vimukthi Jayasundara – Sri Lanka/France – LAFCA’s The Film That Got Away
• Two Men in Manhattan (1958), Jean Pierre-Melville – France (Cohen Media Group) – 55th Anniversary Screening

SHORT FILMS -- Shorts are shown before features and as part of four short film programs consisting of 44 titles. With their diverse and complex content, these films shine brilliantly. Most short films, domestic and international, will compete for prizes in Narrative, Documentary and Animation/Experimental categories. The winner is determined by a panel of jurors. An Audience Award for Best Short Film is also presented.

• Shorts Program 1-4

Future Filmmakers Showcase: High School Shorts (29): These two programs of shorts are made by high school students from around the world, featuring work by the next generation of filmmakers.

• Programs 1-2

Music Videos (33): The Music Video Showcase consists of two programs. Eclectic Mix 1 and 2 are a visual mix tape of this year’s best independent music videos with a few innovative major label artists thrown in for good measure. Music videos will compete for an Audience Award.

• Eclectic Mix


Q: How do I get tickets to the festival?

A: Passes and packages to attend the festival (not individual tickets) are available NOW for the general public and at a discount for Film Independent members. In addition to screenings and events, festival passes and packages provide access to networking receptions, entry to the Filmmaker Lounge, and many other special events where attendees can interact with filmmakers and professionals in the film community. See HERE (PDF) for benefits that apply to the various passes and packages. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 16 for Film Independent members and May 21 for the general public. Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets, and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866-345-6337) Monday-Friday 10AM-7PM Pacific Time or visit lafilmfest.com/tickets.


Q: I see that you have a very affordable Weeknight Pass and Cinema Pass, but the least expensive all access pass that includes both Opening and Closing Night films and parties is the "Industry" Pass. Do I have to be a member of the industry to get an Industry Pass?

A: No. ANYONE who is NOT in the industry can get an Industry Pass if you're a member of Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization putting on the festival. Anyone can join. Memberships start at $95 (same as last year!). As soon as you join you're entitled to buy an Industry Pass. In addition, ALL packages and passes (except the College Package) are discounted for FIND members. Benefits of membership include:

  • Screenings of new, rare, and classic independent films
  • Indie filmmaking education and consultation
  • Affordable production services
  • Gala Parties and Networking Mixers
  • Access and savings at the Los Angeles Film Festival
  • PLUS you get to vote for the Spirit Awards, see member-only screenings of the nominated films, and receive screeners (DVDs) of some of the nominated films in January.

See HERE for all benefits. To join, just go HERE. Once you've joined you can then get the Industry Pass. The cost of the Industry Pass is $540 for members. This year the festival is offering bundles including both FIND memberships along with the passes and packages you want to purchase. You can choose this option HERE. There are also discounted student packages for college and university students.


Q: Does the Industry Pass only include VIP events?

A: No, This is an all-access pass for the entire 11-day festival. Nearly 200 features, shorts, and music videos from more than 40 countries make up the main body of the festival. The pass entitles you to:

  • Admission for one (1) to any regular screening, conversation, chat, and talk
  • One (1) ticket to the Opening Night Film and Party on June 13 (RSVP and hard ticket required)
  • One (1) ticket to the Closing Film and Party on June 23 (RSVP and hard ticket required)
  • One (1) ticket to all Gala Screenings
  • All access badge for one (1) to Filmmaker Lounge (must be 21+) and five (5) additional one-day tickets to the Filmmaker Lounge for guests (must be 21+)
  • Invitation to two Festival mixers (TBD)
  • Discounts at participating L.A. LIVE restaurants
  • Option to purchase parking at L.A. LIVE, June 13-23 for only $65.  Regular Festival rate is $8/day.  Purchase must be made in advance.  Offer expires June 13.
  • Registration to Dwell on Design Expo at L.A. Convention Center


Q: Will there be a red carpet for fans who just want to see the stars arriving?

A: It depends. It is standard procedure for almost ALL LAFF screenings to have red carpets, especially for high-profile events like big premieres. For example, the premieres of Journey to the Center of the Earth in 2008, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2010 were big premieres with red carpets that fans could observe.


Q: What if I have a pass for the festival that includes a ticket to a big premiere and I also want to see the red carpet?

A: There will be a line to get into the screening which will be separate from the red carpet. Festival rules stipulate that even if you have a ticket they will not guarantee admission after 15 minutes prior to the film. The earlier you are in the screening line the more likely you'll get in and get a good seat. The longer you're on the red carpet the less likely you'll get in and get a good seat. Of course, if you're planning to be in the theater for the movie, the talent in attendance will usually do a Q&A after the screening. There is often a meet-and-greet opportunity following the Q&A session as well. 


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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