My capsule review & pics of “Runoff” World Premiere Q&As at 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival

On Sunday, June 15, 2014 I attended the long awaited World Premiere of Runoff at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The sold-out screening was held at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE. The film was a selection in the Narrative Competition section.

Runoff truly deserves the label "highly anticipated." For one, writer/director Kimberly Levin's gritty drama has a cast including several actors who've appeared in my previous festival favorites over the years. Star Neal Huff's credits include Stephanie Daley (which I saw at the Williamstown Film Festival in 2006), Michael Clayton (Toronto 2007), and Vanishing on 7th Street (Toronto 2010), along with the box office hits Big Daddy, The Good Shepherd, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  

But it was star Alex Shaffer himself who put this film on my radar. Win Win premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and went on to play SXSW in March 2011. I attended that screening (see my photos of the Q&A) and interviewed star Alex Shaffer, who was 16 and the New Jersey state high school wrestling champion at the time the film was shot (hear the interview). I then selected Win Win as one of my SXSW Top 5 and it went on to make my Top 10 of 2011. Following the SXSW premiere, Alex was selected as the #1 Rising Star of 2011 by Popcorn N Roses.

The annual Rising Stars Awards are presented every Fourth of July, honoring the Top 10 male and female up-and-coming young performers of the year. Popcorn N Roses is the entertainment web group that includes my site IndieFilmSpotlight. Alex was not able to receive his award in person at the time. So when his second film, The Lifeguard, premiered at Sundance in 2013 I had the chance to sit down with Alex for an extended video interview, during which I presented him with his certificate. Then 19, Alex was thrilled at the honor. In discussing other work he had in the can, we talked about Runoff (titled Cantuckee at the time of the interview, and Land of Tomorrow before that), which had been shot in Kentucky towards the end of 2011.

So, needless to say, I was thrilled to finally see Kimberly Levin's long-awaited work in its debut at LAFF, and it did not disappoint. This is what the sweet little American indie should authentic story with believable actors in an honest setting, with production values worthy of a bigger budget movie. I was moved to laughter and tears, delight and horror, and in the end felt like I'd witnessed a true slice of Americana rapidly disappearing to Big Agriculture...the small family farm. 

For a synopsis see the festival's official page.

I shot the Q&As for both screenings -- following the film's first showing on Thursday, June 12 as well as the second one on Sunday, June 15. After Thursday's screening, writer/director Kimberly Levin was joined by actors Tom Bower, Joanne Kelly, Neal Huff, and Darlene Hunt, along with cinematographer Hermes Marco and producer Kurt Pitzer. Sunday's screening was moderated by David Ansen, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. He introduced Levin along with Huff, Marco, and Pitzer.    

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&As:

GALLERY (9 photos)


NOTE: I selected Runoff as one of my Top Picks from the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival.

A teaser trailer is below.


  • Video Release: June 09, 2014
  • Length: 1.00 min
  • Views: 549


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

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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