We've Got Hollywood Covered

Film Independent Makes Additions to LA Film Fest

Miyazaki’s animated ”Ponyo“ will close the event on June 28.

The non-profit organization Film Independent announced Monday additional official film selections and programs for June’s 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival.


"Ponyo," a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" that tells the story of a goldfish and her quest to become human, will close the festival. The Walt Disney Pictures film comes from Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away") and is voiced by Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey and Cloris Leachman.


"It was our ambition that the tentpoles of the festival reflect the spectrum of great cinema and cinematic experiences," fest director Rebecca Yeldham said in a statement.


It was also announced that "The Cove," a documentary about Japanese dolphin slaughter that was heralded at Sundance, and Rebecca Cammisa’s "Which Way Home" will be a part of the Free Screenings section.


The festival also gives the public access to filmmakers and film industry professionals through programs including Poolside Chats and Director Lunch Talks.


"The festival conversations are a unique platform for film lovers and filmmakers to engage in dialogue not only about cinema, but about the many ways in which it intersects with other art mediums, contemporary social issues, and the Los Angeles cultural scene," said Director of Education Maria Bozzi.


The event will run from Thursday, June 18, to Sunday, June 28.


According to a press release, additional films and programming include:


Closing Night Film:

  • PonyoHayao Miyazaki – Japan (Walt Disney Pictures)


Free Screenings:

  • The Cove, Louie Psihoyos (Roadside Attractions)
  • Which Way Home, Rebecca Cammisa – Mexico/USA (HBO Documentary)


Festival Conversations:


  • Family Man: Robert Rodriguez  Beyond writing, producing, shooting, editing, and scoring his movies, Robert Rodriguez has made filmmaking a family affair.  The Rodriguez household has once again joined forces for the family movie Shorts and is coming to the Festival to talk about their collaboration and share an exclusive look at the making of the film.


  • Spotlight on Ambulante Film Festival: Filmmaking without Borders  Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna’s Ambulante Film Festival highlights the work of Mexican documentaries. Ambulante filmmakers explore their role as storytellers in an increasingly global world with other Festival filmmakers.


  • Graphic Explosion — Adaptations of comic books and graphic novels have proliferated in recent years, and it’s no all superheroes: Sin City, 300, Wanted, and Persepolis all came from graphic novels.  A group of filmmakers, artists, writers, and fans explore Hollywood’s fascination with the medium and the creative challenges of translating them to the screen.  Panelists include Zak Penn (Screenwriter, Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Barry Levine (Publisher, Radical Comics).


  • Propaganda & Satellite Class Reunion  Join us after our Propaganda & Satellite Tribute Music Video Screening with some of its founders and artists to reminisce on a great era of music videos and filmmaking.  Sponsored by IFC. 


  • An Evening with Thom Mayne  Pritzker prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the renowned architectural firm Morphosis, comes to the Festival to share his passion for space, light, and cinema.


  • Post-Gay Hollywood?: Straight Talk about Gay Movies  Now that gays and lesbians have achieved such high cultural visibility, a new crop of films and TV shows is blurring the line between gay and straight – from the buddy love of bromances, to dramatic ensembles that feature LGBT characters whose sexuality is no longer the primary plot point.  In the wake of Prop 8, we examine how LGBT people in film and television are shaping the socio-political landscape and turning the once-closeted into the quotidian.


Poolside Chats: As the sun sets over the pool at the W Los Angeles – Westwood Hotel, sip a cocktail and listen in on some of the city’s most fascinating people discuss their passion for everything film and L.A.  Topics will explore the interplay between contemporary art and film (Reel Art L.A.), transforming the everyday into the cinematic (Reel Life L.A.), and exploring the outer limits of Los Angeles beyond the film industry (Unreel L.A.).  Panelists include: Judy Baca (Artist & Activist), Robbie Conal (Guerilla Artist), Kevan Hall (Fashion Designer), Alex McDowell (Production Designer, Watchmen), and Garth Trinidad (KCRW DJ), with additional names to be announced.  Sponsored by the W Los Angeles – Westwood Hotel. 


Coffee TalksOn June 21 at the W Los Angeles – Westwood Hotel, the Festival’s popular Coffee Talks are back with intimate conversations amongst some of today’s most interesting film figures…and, of course, coffee for everyone.  Panelists include: Michel Gondry (Director, The Green Hornet), Alex Tse (Screenwriter, Watchmen), and Lyle Workman (Composer, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), with additional names to be announced.  Sponsored by BMI, Directors Guild of America, SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild, and Writers Guild of America, West. 


Film Financing Conference: The Film Financing Conference, on Saturday, June 20 at the Landmark, is a day full of workshops and panels for both the novice and the seasoned producer.  From a primer on film financing to detailed discussions on current trends in production and distribution, this conference will provide first-hand information on advice from the experts.  This year’s keynote speaker is James D. Stern, CEO of Endgame Entertainment, co-producer & co-director of Every Little Step, and producer of An Education and I’m Not There.  Panelists include Christian Gaines (Withoutabox), Sacha Gervasi (Director, Anvil! The Story of Anvil), Sten Iverson (Montana Film Office), Scott Kirsner (Author, Fans, Friends & Followers), Amy Lemisch (California Film Commission), Ted Mundorff (Landmark Theaters), Jean Prewitt (IFTA), Paula Schmit (Film Finances), Bob Teitel (Producer, Notorious), Ryan Werner (IFC Entertainment), and Adam Yauch (Oscilloscope), with additional panelists to be confirmed.  Sponsored by Montana Film Office and Surpin & Mayersohn, LLP. 


Director Lunch Talks: Los Angeles Times entertainment writer John Horn hosts conversations with some of Festival’s leading directors and producers.  Bring your lunch and join us for informal chats with filmmakers.  This year’s Lunch Talks will take place in the ZonePerfect live.create. lounge.  


Kodak Focus:  An afternoon conversation with a master cinematographer, focusing on the artistry and technology behind great film photography.  Sponsored by Kodak. 


Tech Talks: Drop by the ZonePerfect live.create. lounge and learn something new at our Tech Talks.