2015 Los Angeles Film Festival announces Opening, Galas, Buzz, Zeitgeist, Nightfall, LA Muse section

The 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival celebrates its 21st annual event from June 10-18 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.

The complete lineup will be revealed on May 5, but a number of films and special events have been announced in advance. A pre-Festival gala event, LA Nights, a private art auction featuring the work of 2015 poster artist Noah Davis and over 40 artists, will be held at The Underground Museum on May 6. The works will be on display and open to the public May 7-21. Proceeds of the auction will go to support the Los Angeles Film Festival as well as the Underground Museum. There will also be two special Pre-Festival Screenings: Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope will have its LA Premiere on Monday, June 8 and Inside Out will screen on Tuesday, June 9 preceded by a Master Class with writer/director Pete Docter.

The Official Opening Night Film will be the Los Angeles Premiere of Paul Weitz’s Grandma. Starring Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, and Laverne Cox, Grandma is being released by Sony Pictures Classics. Rodrigo García was named Guest Director of the Festival, Gale Anne Hurd will receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, and Lily Tomlin will receive this year’s Spirit of Independence Award.

Gala Screenings and Master Classes were also announced. For the first time the Festival will feature a TV Gala with the premiere of the highly anticipated new MTV/Dimension TV series Scream on June 14. Todd Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls will have a Gala Screening on Tuesday, June 16 and on June 17 the Festival will hold a Gala Screening of Benson Lee’s Seoul Searching.

The Festival's Closing Night will also feature a special Mad Men event. On Sunday, May 17, at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA, there will be a Live Read of a classic Mad Men script directed by Jason Reitman. The evening will also include a screening which will be the series finale of Mad Men. All proceeds go towards supporting the year-round programming efforts of Film Independent.

This year’s Master Classes will include a Master Class in Animation with Pete Docter (Disney•Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out, Up, Monsters, Inc.); a Master Class in Editing with Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey (the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Star Trek Into Darkness); and a Master Class in Composition with Mark Isham (A River Runs Through It, Crash, 42).

The following four sections have also been unveiled:

BUZZ  --  LA premieres of celebrated titles from festivals around the world.

    Chuck Norris vs Communism, dir. Illinca Calugareanu, UK/Romania/Germany
    The Dark Horse, dir.James Napier Robertson,New Zealand
    Diary of a Teenage Girl, dir. Marielle Heller, USA
    In Football We Trust, dir. Tony Vainuku, USA/American Samoa
    Infinitely Polar Bear, dir. Maya Forbes, USA
    Manson Family Vacation, dir. J. Davis, USA
    The Overnight, dir. Patrick Brice, USA
    People, Places, Things, dir. James C. Strouse, USA
    Victoria, dir. Sebastian Schipper, Germany
    Sweet Micky for President, dir. Ben Patterson, Haiti/USA

ZEITGEIST -- A competitive section of six curated films that embody key trends. 2015 captures hard knock, coming of age stories.

    Band of Robbers, dir. Aaron Nee & Adam Nee, USA, World Premiere
    A Girl Like Grace, dir. Ty Hodges, USA, World Premiere
    In the Treetops, dir. Matthew Brown, USA, World Premiere
    Manifest Destiny, dir. Michael Dwyer, Kaitlin McLaughlin, USA, World Premiere
    Stealing Cars, dir. Bradley Kaplan, USA, World Premiere
    What Lola Wants, dir. Rupert Glasson, USA, World Premiere

NIGHTFALL -- From the bizarre to the horrifying, these are films to watch after dark. Films premiering for the first time in the U.S. are nominated for the Nightfall Award.

    Caught, dir. Maggie Kiley, USA, World Premiere
    The Confines, dir. Eytan Rockaway, USA, World Premiere
    Crumbs, dir. Miguel Llansó, Spain/Ethiopia/Finland, North American Premiere
    Crush the Skull, dir. Viet Nguyen, USA, World Premiere
    Dude Bro Party Massacre III, dir. Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, USA, World Premiere
    Plan Sexenal, dir. Santiago Cendejas, Mexico, North American Premiere
    Ratter, dir. Branden Kramer, USA, LA Premiere
    Shut In, dir. Adam Schindler, USA, World Premiere

LA MUSE -- Films made by talented emerging filmmakers that are set, shot or inspired by Los Angeles.

    Aram, Aram, dir. Christopher Chambers, USA, World Premiere
    A Beautiful Now, dir. Daniela Amavia, USA, World Premiere
    Can You Dig This, dir. Delila Vallot, USA, World Premiere
    Day Out of Days, dir. Zoe R. Cassavetes, USA, World Premiere
    The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce, dir. Baron Davis, Chad Gordon, USA, World Premiere
    The Escort, dir. Will Slocombe, USA, World Premiere
    Flock of Dudes, dir. Bob Castrone, USA, World Premiere
    French Dirty, dir. Wade Allain-Marcus & Jesse Allain-Marcus, USA, World Premiere
    No Más Bebés, dir. Renee Tajima-Peña, USA, World Premiere
    Weepah Way for Now, dir. Stephen Ringer, USA, World Premiere

Passes are on sale now to the general public, with discounted prices for Film Independent members. In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Festival Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with filmmakers and professionals in the film community. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale May 14 for Film Independent members and May 19 to the general public. You can also contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by phone at 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337). For more details visit lafilmfest.com, follow @LAFilmFest, and find them on Facebook at facebook.com/LAFilmFest. Use the official event hashtag #LAFilmFest


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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