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Los Angeles Film Fest 2014: Film lineup, Opening, Closing Nights and Galas

"Dear White People" Theatrical still
"Dear White People" Theatrical still
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions/Los Angeles Film Festival

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent in conjunction with sponsors the Los Angeles Times and L.A. Live announced the Closing Night film, Galas, much of the festival line-up and special events (the Opening Night film, Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer” had been previously announced).

Opening Wednesday, June 11th and running through Thursday, June 19th at the Regal Theatres downtown and surrounding L.A. Live Complex, the festival presents nearly 200 feature films, shorts, music videos and programs. Equally popular are the festival’s special events, including a Master Class with Academy Award-winning composer Atticus Ross; Funny Talk, A Conversation with Key and Peele; Women Who Call the Shots: A Celebration of Women Directors and Showrunners; and free community screenings.

LA FILM FEST (LAFF) Artistic Director David Ansen proclaimed, “This is truly a festival for new discoveries – 35 Premieres (23 of the World Premieres) and festival gems culled from all over the world…. I think we’ve put together a feast – a grand mix of comedies, dramas, documentaries, thrillers, shorts, retros and art house fare – that will appeal to movie lovers of every stripe.”

Festival Director Stephanie Allain, noted, “Los Angeles has nurtured the collective hopes and dreams of generations. This year in honor of our 20th anniversary, we’re putting the spotlight on films, conversations and performances inspired by the spirit of L.A.”

Selected as the Closing Night film is the premiere of Clint Eastwood’s newest feature, “Jersey Boys.” A cinematic adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Jersey Boys” follows four men, from the “wrong side of the tracks” who form the 1960’s hit-making rock group, The Four Seasons. The film stars John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza and Christopher Walken.

Also announced were three Gala Screenings. Ira Sachs’ “Love Is Strange” stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a newly married couple who are forced out of their NYC apartment. Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” is a satiric look on race relations at a university and stars Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris and Brandon Bell. The third Gala selection is screenwriter Hossein Amini’s (“Drive”) directorial debut, “The Two Faces of January,” starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac as three Americans caught in a tangle of murder and deceit in Greece and Istanbul in 1962. The film is an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith thriller.

5,952 films were submitted to LAFF this year (up from 5,428 in 2013). 9 Narrative and 8 Documentaries vie for a Best Narrative or Documentary, as well as a Best International Feature or Documentary Award. Films in the other showcases including, LA Muse, International Showcase, Summer Showcase and The Beyond are also eligible for “Best” Awards as well as the coveted Audience Awards.

There are also some 69 short films (including High School Shorts) that will have their own programs and also be up for prizes in the Narrative, Documentary, and Animation/Experimental categories.

The Los Angeles Film Festival is one of the best all-around film festivals in the country for both its film programming for film fans and its master classes, conversations, and retreat for the participating filmmakers. So mark your calendar, June 11 – 19, and plan to attend some great films and conversations at L.A. LIVE downtown.

Festival schedule and festival pass information is available at LA Film Fest. General admission tickets for individual films go on sale May 20.