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Friday, 03 July 2009 01:00

L.A. Film Festival 2009

Written by  Jennifer Marino
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The L.A. Film Festival took place from June 18-28 at various venues in Westwood, CA. The festival is remarkable for keeping festival-goers occupied with a wide array of panels, cinematic discussions, screenings and conferences. Popular film premieres included Paper Man, Public Enemies and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The premiere of It Might Get Loud also attracted favorable attention...
Elisabeth Shue reviews footage with Director Davis Guggenheim. Photo by Jennifer MarinoThe L.A. Film Festival took place from June 18-28 at various venues in Westwood, CA. The festival is remarkable for keeping festival-goers occupied with a wide array of panels, cinematic discussions, screenings and conferences.

Popular film premieres included Paper Man, Public Enemies and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The premiere of It Might Get Loud also attracted favorable attention.  The documentary traces guitarists Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2) and Jack White’s (White Stripes) musical roots and the paths they took to develop their own unique sounds. The film does not contain critics or historians; instead, the musicians tell the story.

Among the guests who attended were Jack White, Jimmy Page and Director Davis Guggenheim’s wife, Elisabeth Shue, who joined the paparazzi that evening as she took photos of friends and husband, Guggenheim, on the red carpet.

“We need to make a different kind of rock documentary, instead of [the common rock documentaries] about drug overdoses and girlfriends screwing up the band. They miss the art of what it is to write a song,” said Director Davis Guggenheim, who attended the premiere.

The “Filmmaker Lunch Talks” was a unique one-hour daily panel that consisted of various filmmakers conversing about their production. Suzi Yoonessi, the director of Dear Lemon Lima, spoke abut her film, which premiered at the festival, and advised filmmakers “not to take no for an answer” when asking for money to finance their productions. Also, doubling locations can come in handy when it is crucial to save money. According to Yoonessi, Dear Lemon Lima doubled Seattle for Alaska to take advantage of Washington’s tax incentives and avoid the difficulties of importing items into Alaska

The “Free Film Festival Seminars/Tech Talks” was another educational aspect of the festival. From June 20-28 the sessions were held at Bel Air Camera. The sessions included an introduction to the JVC GY-HM100U and the Sony HVR-Z7U; seminars on the Canon 3 Chip HD Camcorders, Prosumer Sony camcorder and Reflect Media Chroma Key--a low cost green screen special effect; and Photoflex’s “Lighting Techniques for Filmmakers on any Budget”.

The festival wrapped with the premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo and the 2009 L.A. Film Festival award ceremony. The Target Filmmaker Awards went to Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace’s Wah Do Dem (What They Do) for Best Narrative Feature and Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman’s Those Who Remain for best Documentary Feature. Sam Rubin’s Lipstick won the Target Dream in Color Award (for Best Short in the Future Filmmaker Showcase) and the Outstanding Performance in the Narrative Competition went to Shayne Topp in Dear Lemon Lima.

Cyrus Nowrasteh’s The Stoning of Soyraya M. won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature; Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s Soul Power won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; and Eva Norvind’s Born Without (Nacido Sin) won the Audience Award for Best International Feature.

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