Los Angeles Film Festival Goes from Indies to 'Twilight'

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the animated "Despicable Me" and the well-received independent films "The Kids Are All Right" and "Cyrus" are among the selections at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival, which takes place in downtown Los Angeles from June 17 through June 27.

The festival lineup, announced on Tuesday, is long on indie films, but with a strong commercial component via the world premieres of "Eclipse" and "Despicable Me."

The latter film is the closing night attraction, a LAFF slot that typical goes to a big-studio production.

The festival's opening-night film is director Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right" (right), a Focus Features indie that stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore and has picked up raves on the festival circuit. "It really is the best of American indie filmmaking," LAFF artistic director David Ansen told theWrap.

"We've tried to embrace the full spectrum of cinema," said festival director Rebecca Yeldham. "Some of the films are born out of the studio system, and some are born out of somebody's kitchen. Some hail from Denmark and Australia, and some are homegrown in our backyard. The idea is just to get people excited about movies, and about a spectrum of movies."

Added Ansen, "There's something for the cineastes, something for people who like horror movies, and some wonderful retrospectives and rediscoveries. We were trying to make a festival that's going to appeal to all Angelenos."

The invitation-only screening of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" will mark that eagerly-awaited film's world premiere, and will be a change-of-pace that Ansen refers to as "festival adjacent." Tickets will not be available to the public, except to LAFF's premium passholders.

"It was an incredible opportunity," adds Yeldham. "It's their world premiere, but one that we can offer to our passholders if they're passionate about seeing the film before anybody else."

The festival, produced by the non-profit Film Independent, will be centered at the L.A. Live complex, which includes a Regal Theaters multiplex. For the past few years it has been located in the Westwood neighborhood, though in previous years it had also been based in Hollywood and West Hollywood.

The festival will showcase more than 200 films, including narrative features, documentaries, shorts and music videos, representing work from more than 40 countries.

The lineup of directors with new work includes Jay and Mark Duplass, Davis Guggenheim, Claire Denis and D.A. Pennebaker. Retrospective screenings include Walter Hill's "The Driver," Robert Culp's "Hickey and Boggs," Luchino Visconti's restored "The Leopard" and four little-seen films by the late Argentinian director Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, who Ansen calls "the first breakthrough South American film director.

This year’s slate marks the first to be overseen by former Newsweek film critic Ansen, who was appointed artistic director of LAFF last November.
Ansen became the second one-time critic to assist in programming a major Los Angeles-based film festival: former Variety critic Bob Koheler was a programmer at last fall’s AFI Fest.

LAFF is an outgrowth of Filmex, an L.A. festival that began in 1971. It was taken over by Film Independent in 2001.

The festival is a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards’ live-action and animated shorts categories, and for all categories of the Spirit Awards.

Passes go on sale on May 10, and individual tickets on June 1.
Bonus By Invitation Screening:
• The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, David Slade (Summit Entertainment) – WORLD PREMIERE


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