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LA Film Fest 2014 Schedule

It's that time again! It's officially summer and that means Los Angeles Film Festival has arrived! There are tons of films I want to see this year and I'm sure it'll be another insane year of back to back screenings of the best of what Los Angeles has to offer. It's going to be an intense 9 days hence why, I need to prepare myself nnneoow! Like doing some jumping jacks, bringing back up battery, and finding a diaper (oking but not joking!) cause we all know standing in lines for hours+ is a job of its own. But all my bodily problems aside, I definitely need to prepare myself for the next few weeks which are going to be iiiiiinnnnnnsaaaane with not only LAFF films but other films coming out in theaters! There are so many incredible films LAFF has to offer from foreign gems to American independents but I am the most excited about Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, Club Sandwich, Out in the Night, Han Gong-Ju, Starred Up, Two Faces of January, Dear White People, and Jossy's to say the least! So without further ado, here is my schedule for the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival!

June 11: Opening Night

Snowpiercer (Dir. Bong Joon-ho)

"Bong Joon-ho, director of The Host, Memories of Murder, and Mother, has become a cinematic superstar molding traditional genres to his visionary ends. Working with an all-star international cast and the biggest budget of his career, he gives us in Snowpiercer, a blazingly original--and darkly funny--vision of the future.

In this wild post-apolcalyptic thriller, the planet has frozen, thanks to a botched attempt to reverse global warming, and all the surviving humans are packed aboard a self-sustaining train that endlessly circles the globe. But the train is rigidly divided by wealth and class, the downtroddden massed together in the ear and ripe for revolution. Led by Chris Evans, they begin to make their violent way to the front, where the master of the train awaits them. Is this science fiction, or an allegory of our times?"

June 12: 

Runoff (Dir. Kimberly Levin)

"Goregously shot against the backdrop of rural Kentucky's working farms, first-time writer/director Kimberly Levin's beautifully crafted, emotionally gripping debut explores the all too real struggles of the American farming community.

Betty is a fiercely committed matriarch driven to desperate measures by a failing business, her husband's deteriorating health and a family home on the brink of foreclosure. Played by Joanne Kelly, Better is the beating heart of this sensitive, skillfully written narrative, which flips the standard gender dynamic and brings unexpected insight and realism to an established genre. Levin's stirring family drama touches on matters of social conscience and environmental justice to ask: How far will we go to save our families?"

Jimi: All Is by My Side (Dir. John Ridley)

"Before he was the iconic artist who shook rock and roll to its core, Jimi Hendrix was a backup guitarist working small clubs in New York City and struggling to survive. By chance, he was noticed and befriended by Keith Richards' girlfriend Linda Keith, who was taken by his seductive combination of innate talent and shy sincerity. Chronicling his friendship with her and the short, significant period he spent in London before his groundbreaking performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, Academy Award-winner John Ridley's inspired, poignant biopic reveals a fascinating, complex free spirit on the brink of greatness.

Hip hop star Andre Benhamin is a transcendent as a young Jimi who, largely through his tumultuous, passionate relationships with the women who loved him, found a voice that changed the world."

June 13: 

I See Music: Exploring Beyonce's Visual Album 

"A simultaneous audio/visual experience showcasing the non-linear short films that illustrate the songs on Beyonce's recent release, followed by an extended talk with the creators and directors of those videos."

Comet (Dir. Sam Esmail)

"Hurtling back and forth in time over six years of a passionate, complicated relationship, this high-style love story crackles with brilliant repartee and simmers with true feeling. Emmy Rossum is the bright, skeptical Kimberly, and Justin Long is the tightly wound Dell. They first meet in a random encounter at Hollywood Forever, where they've both come to watch a meteor shower. It's the start of a romantic roller coaster ride that leaps from a Paris tryst to a squabble in New York to the Hollywood Hills, taking risky and unexpected emotional turns with daredevil aplomb."

June 14:

Violette (Dir. Martin Provost)

"Emmanuelle Devos gives an astonishing performance as the volatile, bisexual, pioneering feminist writer Violette Leduc, whose stormy life intersected with the giants of post-war French literary world--Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre.

Director Martin Provost, who showed his affinity for outsider artists in Seraphine, shuns stuffy biopic conventions as he follows Leduc from her asexual marriage to the gay writer Maurice Sachs to her arrival in Paris, where she comes under the wing of her stern, imperious mentor, de Beauvoir, uncannily captured by Sandrine Kiberlain. De Beauvoir opens all of Paris' intellectual doors to Leduc, but our brilliant, difficult heroine, brought to voluptuous life by Devos, wants even more."

'Woman Who Call the Shots' Panel 

Uncertain Terms (Dir. Nathan Silver)

"Needing a sudden escape from the city, Robbie leaves Brooklyn to stay in the Hudson Valley with his aunt, who runs a home for pregnant teens. As the only man in the house, Robbie captures the attention of many of the girls, and when he strikes up a friendship with Nina, who is dealing with her own relationship troubles, tensions run high in the house. In trying to stop Nina from making the biggest mistake of her life, Robbie finds himself caught in a love triangle between Nina and her baby daddy, Chase."

Frank (Dir. Lenny Abrahamson)

"When an American band with an unpronounceable name asks him to sit in for their ailing keyboardist, Jon, a dreamer with aspirations of musical stardom, finds himself with an unlikely ticket out of his drab seaside town A weekend gig soon turns into months--long recording sessions in a remote cabin in Ireland, where, under the Dadaist guidance of frontman Frank, who always--always--wears an oversized fake head, Jon and his cohorts struggle to record the greatest album ever made, equal parts musical genius and total absurdity."

Club Sandwich (Dir. Fernando Eimbcke)

"Paloma and Hector are best friends; they're also mother and teenage son. On their annual summer vacation, their unique relationship is tested when Hector meets Jazmin, an assertive young woman his own age who vies for his affections. Dreading the inevitable, Paloma attempts to maintain her position, but room-service milkshakes with his mom, no matter how cool she is, can't compete with the promise of a romantic encounter, and Hector begins to withdraw more frequently to Jazmin's hotel room down the hall."

June 15:

Out in the Night (Dir.  Blair Dorosh-Walther)

"In New York City's West Village in 2006, four gay African-American women were brutally assaulted by a stranger whose unwanted sexual advances they'd jude spurned. In defending themselves, they also unwittingly left themselves vulnerable to draconian prison sentences that wrested them from their supportive New Jersey families. Dorosh-Walther returns to the scene of their alleged crime, using security footage to condemn the deplorable conduct of unscrupulous reporters and callous police officers. With a deep compassion for its subjects tempering its outrage over the indignities they've suffered, the film poses a troubling question: How would have this unfolded had it been four straight white women instead."

The Overnighters (Dir. Jesse Moss)

"When the small North Daokta town of Williston turns into a boom town due to fracking, unearting vast pools if oils, hordes of unemployed men, some with questionable backgrounds, descend on the unprepared, overcrowded and anxious search of work."

Funny Talk: A Conversation with Key and Peele

"A special comedic journey with Keegan--Michael Key and Jordan Peele, the stars of the hit comedy sketch show, Key and Peele. The Peabody Award winning duo, who are included in Time Magazines list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2014, will discuss the roots of their comedic philosophy, their experiences growing up biracial, and present clips from some of their favorite movies that have influenced their irreverent style."

June 16:

Han Gong-Ju (Dir. Lee Su-jin)

"One of the most successful Korean independent films on record, Han Gong-Ju is the harrowing tale of a young girl's struggle to find herself after having the life she knew traumatically taken away from her.

The film begins as Gong-ju, the titular high school student played in a remarkable turn by 26-year-old Chun Woo-hee, is informed she is being forcibly transferred to another school, one where nobody knows her. There, even as she takes tentative steps toward building a new life, she finds she must face the ordeals of her past, the details of which are slow and sensitively revealed by first-time filmmaker Lee Su-jin. Never allowing his scathing social critique to overwhelm the emotional core of Han gong-ju, Lee has made the most acclaimed Korean film of the year."

Starred Up (Dir. David Mackenzie)

"Blood flows thicker than water in this gritty prison drama. In a breakout performance reminiscent of Tom Hardy's elemental turn in Bronson, Jack O'Connell is astonishing as Eric, a young offender whose explosive rage lands him in the correctional facility that also houses his estranged father, played by Ben Mendelsohn. As Eric takes the savage measures necessary to ensure his survival, he occasionally drops his guard, betraying a keen analytic mind and anarchic sense of humor, and while he's not beyond hope, he may have finally pushed his luck too far."

June 17:

Two Faces of January (Dir. Hossein Amini)

"In the summer of 1962, on holiday in Greece, a glamorous American couple--played by Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst--meet a penniless young Yale dropout turned tour guide played by Oscar Isaac. This, however, being an adaptation of a novel by Patricia Highsmith, creator of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train, no one is quite who they seem to be. Soon enough Mortensen is dragging a corpse down the corridor of his luxury hotel, and these three not-so-innocents abroad are thrown together in a tangled web of jealousy, deceit and dancer, with the Greek police in hot pursuit."

The Well (Dir. Tom Hammock)

"At the edge of a barren valley, all that remains of the Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth is a few hollowed--out husks of buildings and the memories of Kendal, a seventeen-year-old girl who can barely recall when the valley was lush. It's been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. Only Kendal and a few others remain, barely scarping by while dreaming of escape. When a gang leader named Carson lays claim to what little precious water remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run or hide or bravely fight for what little she has left in this post-apocalyptic thriller."

June 18:

Dear White People (Dir. Justin Simien)

"Samantha White is a bold young student at the prestigious Winchester University who wants change and is not afraid to provoke it. Tired of the empty gestures and the phony platitudes over students offer the administration in the name of diversity, Samantha walks the ornery talk she gives on her radio show, Dear White People by running for president of the all-black residence hall. If only everyone could keep up with her politics."

Jossy's (Dir. Yuichi Fukuda)

"Five reluctant young women are recruited to become Earth's last line of defense in this broad parody of Japanese Super sentai shows like Kamen Rider and the countless iterations of the Power Rangers. Wearing the prerequisite color-coded uniforms, the team must fight off intergalactic villains like StinkBug and Mutant Mucus despite an utter lack of training. Even more problematic, however, is discovering that alien invasions are terribly inconvenient when they arise during a first date or trip to the salon, forcing our heroes to choose between their personal lives and saving the planet. (Spoiler: The planet doesn't always win.)"


Whew! The only day I am probably not going to is the closing night. By this time, I will be so delusional and tired, I will probably be speaking in tongues and my eyes will be rolled back to back of my head.  Even with all these films that I am going to see, I am only scratching the surface of what the Los Angeles Film Festival has to offer. There is definitely a lot of films I am going to miss like Cut Bank (ft. Liam Hemsworth), the Shorts and Music Video program (which I helped program!), 10 Minutes, Harmontown (doc about Community creator, Dan Harmon!), and so many others I wish I had time to see. But sadly, I only have one body and don't have little minions to send to watch all these films for me! Regardless, its going to be another fantastic year and something about June, it's always such an intense month of film watching! EVERYTHING GOOD COMES OUT IN JUNE! It's going to be one hell of a month! Be sure to follow all my other social media outlets so you can follow my crazy adventures!

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