The former critic's penchant for quality over star power also helped lead to the festival this year abolishing the rule that previously prohibited too many films that played other festivals, as LAFF hopes to broaden the quality pool as much as possible.
As he nibbles on French fries and a hamburger, Ansen is remarkably calm for a man in his first year in a volatile job. He acknowledges — in a mind-mannered way — some of the stresses of the last seven months. "There are moments when it's been interesting to see another side of people you thought you knew," he says, referring to studios and producers with films he sought for LAFF. "When you see people as a critic they're always nice and wearing their smiley face. And when you deal with them as a programmer you see them differently. You see them playing hard to get. And you have to hold your tongue and not call them on their horrible behavior."