This just may be the best time of year in L.A. As the Los Angeles Dodgers hit the field and the jacaranda trees bloom, Film Independent will take over Westwood Village for the Los Angeles Film Festival, June 19-29. With more than 275 screenings and events, and with attendance expected to top 100,000, the 2008 LAFF will once again be one of the biggest film events of the year in a town obsessed with movies.
“There are so many film festivals around the world and even in this city. What we try to do is create something that is very unique, that’s very L.A.,” said LAFF director Rich Raddon. The festival, which last year opened with Transformers, continues the trend of screening studio and independent films by opening June 19 with Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. Another action flick based on a comic book, Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, will close the festival June 28.Raddon came under fire in the press last year for featuring a blockbuster in a festival known as a platform for low-budget indies. He said it might seem LAFF is sending a mixed message by screening Wanted and Hellboy II alongside films such as The Choir, Michael Davie’s documentary about life in South Africa’s largest penitentiary (June 22 and 26). However, the festival has always made a point of offering something for everyone.
“The reality is there are many people who don’t attend film festivals because they feel like it is film snobbery and the movies aren’t for them,” Raddon said. “Our whole message to the general public of Los Angeles is, ‘Hey, this film festival is for you.’ The hope is that when you go to one of these big movies — if that’s the kind of movies you want to see — you’ll also pick up a film guide, see all of the other films we’re playing in the film festival, and realize…90 percent of what [we] do at the L.A. Film Festival is screen independent, foreign, documentaries, and music videos. That’s the bulk, the main content of the film festival.” [read more]