Elvis Mitchell Named Film Independent Programming Chief

David Ansen steps down as LA Film Festival director as restructuring gives Mitchell year-round responsibilities

Elvis Mitchell

Elvis Mitchell has been named to the new position of year-round Film Independent Curator, in a restructuring that will find him taking the reins of the Los Angeles Film Festival from departing artistic director David Ansen.

The moves were announced on Thursday by Film Independent, the non-profit organization that runs the festival and the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

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Mitchell, a former film critic and the host of the KCRW radio program “The Treatment,” had been serving as curator of Film Independent’s programming at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The new position will expand his scope to also include the festival, and will coincide with what Film Independent said was the “mutally agreed-upon departure” of Ansen from the position he had occupied for the past five years.

In a statement, Ansen said that he would return to “writing and pursuing new prospects.” He was the longtime film critic for Newsweek magazine.

The move will consolidate Film Independent’s programming under Mitchell’s leadership. That programming includes the June festival, the Film Independent at LACMA series, which includes Jason Reitman‘s popular “Live Read” evenings, and a variety of other programs.

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In the release announcing the move, LAFF director Stephanie Allain said, “Unifying the Festival and our year-round programming under Elvis’ remarkable vision will facilitate Film Independent’s mission to support a community of diverse, innovative and unique-minded artists.”

Mitchell has served as a film critic at the New York Times, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the LA Weekly and the Detroit Free Press, and has served as a lecturer at Harvard and the host of the TCM interview program “Under the Influence.”

He also hosts most of the Film Independent programs at LACMA.