The world premiere of Richard Linklater's "Bernie," with Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine, has been selected to open the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, which begins in downtown Los Angeles on June 16.
The film is a black comedy based on a true story, in which Black plays a universally-beloved mortician who becomes the companion of an aging widow in a small Texas town. MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey also appear in the film.
Linklater has called the film "My 'Fargo' in East Texas."
The festival also announced that director Guillermo del Toro, who will serve as LAFF's guest director, will screen the little-known 1996 Italian film "The Arcane Enchanter" ("L’arcano incantatore"), a gothic thriller written and directed by Pupi Avati.
Del Toro will introduce the screening and do a Q&A about its influence on his own work.
In addition, LAFF revealed additional programming featuring Quincy Jones, Frank Pierson, Phillip Noyce, Dustin Lance Black and Allison Anders.
Jones and Pierson will participate in a forum entitled "Remembering Sidney Lumet," and featuring a number of collaborators of the late director.
Other participants at the festival, said a LAFF release, will include "Salt" director Phillip Noyce; writers Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") and Roberto Orci ("Cowboys & Aliens"); "Reno 911!" actor/writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant; and composers Clint Mansell and Mychael Danna.
A weekend series of conversations titled "Money Talks & Art Matters" will take place on June 18-19, with participants including director Anders, FilmDistrict's Bob and Jeanne Berney, Pandemonium Film's Bill Mechanic and Landmark Theatres' Ted Mundorff.
Additional information can be found at lafilmfest.com.