With its central hub at L.A. LIVE entertainment complex, the Festival’s screenings took over downtown movie venues, including Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14, the GRAMMY Museum, Downtown Independent Theater, Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater and John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, with nearly 700 volunteers in bright red T-shirts around every corner. This year’s LAFF had 4,700 submissions and screened over 200 feature films, shorts and music videos representing more than an astonishing 40 countries around the world. It was also the premiere headquarters for many films, such as Dog Sweat, Mahler on the Couch, Circo, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, Lost Angels, Bitter Feast, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and the Festival’s closing film Despicable Me.
The LAFF presented numerous awards to a diverse group of deserving films. Among this year’s winners: Four Lions (directed by Christopher Morris) won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature; Thunder Soul (directed by Mark Landsman) won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith’s Presumed Guilty won the Audience Award for Best International Feature; Director James Blagden’s Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No won the Audience Award for Best Short Film; and the Audience Award for Best Music Video went to OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass, directed by James Frost, OK Go and Syyn Labs.
The Montana Film Office (MFO) sponsored the LAFF Filmmakers Reception at the Standard Hotel’s rooftop bar with host Scott Cooper, the director of Crazy Heart. “The Los Angeles Film Festival moved downtown this year, which gave the Fest quite a different vibe and feel,” says MFO Manager Sten Iversen. “I think the Festival is really trying to reach out to the movie-going public. The interesting thing, however, was the wide range of films screened. This year there were many international short films, and meeting with many of those directors and producers was quite fascinating.”
This year’s LAFF brought together accomplished filmmakers who showcased their work for audiences while sharing the limelight with the new visionaries that are paving the way for a new era of film. The event was such a success that I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2011.