With its presenting organization sporting a new name, the Los Angeles Film Festival announced its 2005 lineup of programs and special events highlighted by an eclectic mix of films and L.A.-focused panels and presentations.
Film Independent -- formerly IFP/Los Angeles -- continues to expand the festival both geographically and cinematically with screenings and events stretching from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica.
The previously announced crime drama "Down in the Valley," directed by David Jacobson ("Dahmer") and starring Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood, opens the festival June 16 at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome. Rodrigo Garcia's intricate ensemble drama "Nine Lives," starring Kathy Baker, Glenn Close and Holly Hunter, is the centerpiece film, screening June 21 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The festival wraps June 26 with Don Roos' biting comedy "Happy Endings," featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lisa Kudrow and Tom Arnold, at the Mann National in Westwood.
The RZA, a founding member of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and more recently a film composer ("Kill Bill"), is this year's artist in residence. In addition to laying down a live score to a crazy assortment of cartoons as part of ToonTime (Ford Amphitheatre, June 22), the RZA has chosen a selection of films including the 1977 Shaw brothers classic "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin."
This year's guest director, Sydney Pollack, has chosen to screen three films that have inspired him and his career -- Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Conformist," Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious" and Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront."
In addition to the narrative and documentary competition categories, there will be sections and events spotlighting films from the U.S. and around the world, including Cinema East (Asian and Asian American), Cinema Stereo (music), CineCultura (Latino), Cinema Soul (African and African American), Between East & West (Middle Eastern) and shorts programs.
The popular Family Day expands and moves to the Santa Monica Pier. The daylong event June 25 includes art, music and kid-friendly activities, culminating in a 10th anniversary screening of "Babe." Also back are festival favorites such as Porch Parties, Coffee Talks, Poolside Chats, panels, conferences and free community screenings.
Additionally, the festival affords film aficionados the opportunity to preview upcoming releases such as Wong Kar-wai's "2046," Lodge H. Kerrigan's "Keane" and Gus Van Sant's "Last Days."
The center of the festival will once again be at 8000 Sunset Blvd., with the majority of screenings at Laemmle's Sunset 5 and the Directors Guild. Pass holders may reserve and purchase tickets beginning today; tickets for individual screenings and events go on sale June 1. For more information, call (866) FilmFest or visit www.lafilmfest.com.