Los Angeles Film Festival 2015

4 posts

Los Angeles Film Festival Photoset

It’s been another superb Los Angeles Film Festival this year.  If you have been keeping up with the Podcast coverage, you will have some sense of the quality of the material showcased this year.  Here are few photos from the cast and crew Q and A’s.

Diary of a Teenage girl
Diary of a Teenage Girl
LAFF2015 - 4 (1)
Las Malas Lenguas (Sweet and Vicious)
LAFF2015 - 3 (1)
My Love, Don’t Cross That River
LAFF2015 - 2 (1)
What Lola Wants
LAFF2015 - 9 (1)
JJ Abrams with the cast and crew of Infinitely Polar Bear
LAFF2015 - 8 (1)
The Overnight

Episode 280.3 – 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival – Part 3

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We wrap up our coverage of the 2015 LA Film Festival with a 3rd Podcast:


Ayanda and the Mechanic

(2015 , 112 min.)

Directed by: Sara Blecher
Screenwriter: Trish Malone
Producers: Terry Pheto, Busi Sizani, Robbie Thorpe
Cinematographer: Jonathan Kovel
Editor: Nicholas Costaras
Music: Tiago Correia-Paulo
Cast: Fulu Moguvhani, OC Ukeje, Nthati Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabolo, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba, Venessa Cooke

In a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg community, 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda has a knack for taking neglected pieces of furniture and “bringing them back to love.” Eight years after her father’s death, she is determined to revive his prized garage, which is in deep debt and in danger of being sold. Director Sara Blecher’s sophomore work crackles with infectious energy and style, capturing a vividly contemporary view of a South Africa where cooperation trumps xenophobia. This one-of-a-kind film melds gorgeous still-frame montages inspired by the possibilities of a modern African aesthetic and documentary-like techniques to explore its core theme: how do we let go of the things and people we love?


Atomic Heart

Madar-e Ghalb Atomi

(2014 , 97 min.)

Directed by: Ali Ahmadzadeh
Screenwriter: Ali Ahmadzadeh, Mani Baghbani
Producers: Amir Seyedzadeh
Cinematographer: Ashkan Ashkani
Editor: Ali Ahmadzadeh, Ehsan Vaseghi
Music: Sahand Mehdizadeh
Cast: Taraneh Alidoosti, Pegah Ahangarani, Mehrdad Sedighiyan, Reza Behboudi, Ehsan Amani, Mohammad Reza Golzar

Sometime around the witching hour, Arineh and Nobahar stumble out of a party giddy and spaced out. Donning brightly dyed hair covered just enough by their headscarves, the young women drive around Tehran, picking up their hipster buddy Kami along the way. In a moment of carefree distraction, they get into a car accident that pivots their night into a bizarre series of events, and the possibility of a parallel world. Symbolically lush with sharp dialogue about pop culture, the Western gaze and politics, Ali Ahmadzade’s sophomore directorial feat establishes him as a blazing new independent voice in Iranian cinema.


The Babushkas of Chernobyl

(2015 , 72 min.)

Directed by: Holly Morris, Anne Bogart
Producers: Holly Morris, Anne Bogart
Cinematographer: Japhet Weeks
Editor: Richard Howard, Mary Manhardt, Michael Taylor
Music: Rob Teehan
Cast: Valentyna Sochenok, Hanna Zavorotnya, Maria Shovkuta

For nearly 30 years a community of unlikely heroines have lived in Chernobyl’s post-nuclear disaster “dead zone.” Stylish and stubborn, these fascinating women have survived, and even thrived, on some of the most toxic land on Earth. They are the last survivors of a community who refused to leave their ancestral homes after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. But the babushkas aren’t the only risk-takers: scientists, bureaucrats and even young men called “Stalkers” (who break in illegally to pursue their video game-inspired fantasies) explore the dystopian Zone and seek out its radioactive grandmas. First-time filmmakers Anne Bogart and Holly Morris’ portrait of a community tells a remarkable tale about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one’s own destiny and the subjective nature of risk.


No Más Bebés

(2015 , 79 min.)

Directed by: Renee Tajima-Peña
Producers: Virginia Espino, Renee Tajima-Peña
Cinematographer: Claudio Rocha
Editor: Johanna Demetrakas
Music: Bronwen Jones, Quetzal
Cast: Maria Hurtado, Consuelo Hermosillo, Antonia Hernandez, Bernard Rosenfeld

In 1960s and 70s Los Angeles, Mexican immigrant women allege they were coercively sterilized without their consent at LAC + USC Medical Center. Archival footage of the booming Chicano rights movement is juxtaposed with interviews in a long abandoned hospital. Interwoven are opinions from both sides of the landmark case Madrigal v. Quilligan. The women who brought the case to trial are represented by a young and fearless lawyer, Antonia Hernandez. Academy Award®-nominated director Renee Tajima-Peña (Who Killed Vincent Chin) saved this important case from becoming a forgotten footnote, facilitating a measure of closure and raising a timely topic amid the ongoing battles over reproductive rights and discriminatory practices.


In a Perfect World…

(2014 , 76 min.)

Directed by: Daphne McWilliams
Producers: Daphne McWilliams, Samuel D. Pollard, Brennan Rees, Mary Burns DeFuria
Cinematographer: Henry Adebonojo, Ana Dantas, Francis Augustine, Xavier Rodriguez
Editor: James Codoyannis
Music: Kathryn Bostic
Cast: John Cuevas, Eddie Cuevas, Damon Dash, Kevin Keenan, Ned Martin, Patrice McLeod, Chase Myles, Jason Lampkin, Craig Williams

Entering adulthood, Chase begins to feel the impact of his father’s inconsistent presence in his life. Curious about how boys negotiate the absence of their fathers and the kinds of relationships they forge with their mothers, Chase’s mother turns the camera on him. Daphne McWilliams’ directorial debut takes an astounding risk by grounding her sociological inquiry in the most vulnerable of all subjects: her teenage son, Chase. Revelatory, intimate interviews in this breakout documentary are structured with such grace and skill, they carry a transcendent universal perspective.

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Episode 280.2 – 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival – Part 2

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It’s Day 2 of the LA Film Fest and we Podcast on:


My Love, Don’t Cross That River

(2014 , 86 min.)

Directed by: Mo-Young Jin
Screenwriter: Mo-Young Jin
Producers: Kyungsoo Han
Cast: Byong-man Jo, Gye-Yeul Kang

Known in Korea as “the 100-year-old lovebirds,” 89-year-old Kang Kye-Yeol and 98-year-old Cho Byeong-man have been married for 76 years. Living in a rural, sleepy corner of the Gangwon province like characters from a fairy tale, they wear matching traditional Korean garments, play fight in the snow and hold hands while sleeping. Shot over 15 months by veteran documentary filmmaker Jin Mo-Young, the film chronicles the couple’s last days together as they sense their love and lives drawing to a close, providing a rare glimpse into an intimate marriage that has more than endured the test of time. This remarkable film broke Korean box office records, becoming the biggest Korean indie film of all time.


Las Malas Lenguas (Sweet and Vicious)

(2014 , 88 min. )

Directed by: Juan Paulo Laserna
Screenwriter: Juan Paulo Laserna, Juan Camilo Brigard
Producers: Juan Paulo Laserna
Cinematographer: Oscar Robles
Editor: Jared Simon
Music: Juan Manuel Vasquez, Santiago Amezquita
Cast:  Sara Montoya, Pedro Mejia, Matilde de los Milagros Londoño, Felix Antequera, Maryuri Sanchez

Manuela is the daughter of wealthy parents, their family a part of the Colombian elite. She appears to have every advantage in life but she’s completely unhappy and living a multitude of lies. She yearns to escape the patriarchal city but when she discovers she’s pregnant, her life and dreams begin to unravel. Can she regain control or is her life out of her hands?

Director Juan Paulo Laserna’s feature debut tells an understated cautionary tale pitched in an almost heightened reality with a notably stylized cinematic language.  Lead actress Sara Montoya delivers a breakout performance in a multilayered story rife with sharp and penetrating observations of the complicated world of the Colombian elite.


The Girl in the Book

(2014 , 88 min. )

Directed by: Marya Cohn
Screenwriter: Marya Cohn
Producers: Gina Resnick, Kyle Heller
Cinematographer: Trevor Forrest
Editor: Jessica Brunetto
Music: Fall on Your Sword, Will Bates
Cast: Emily Van Camp, Michael Nyqvist, David Call, Michael Cristofer, Talia Balsam, Ana Mulvoy-Ten

29-year-old assistant editor and aspiring writer Alice Harvey is funny, smart and emotionally self-destructive. Climbing the ranks at a notable publishing company, she struggles to write her own story, forever stymied by memories of her youthful relationship with her dad’s best friend, Milan.
After 15 years Milan and Alice’s paths cross once again, forcing them to confront events that have long gone unaddressed. Artfully intertwining scenes from Alice’s budding teen years and her unsettled adult life, Marya Cohn’s assured directorial debut explores the residual effects that past actions have on present realities in the story of a young woman seeking to reclaim her body, her voice and ultimately her power.


The Diary of a Teenage Girl

(2015 , 101 min. )

Directed by: Marielle Heller
Screenwriter: Marielle Heller
Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit
Cinematographer: Brandon Trost
Editor: Marie-Helene Dozo, Koen Timmerman
Music: Nate Heller
Cast:  Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Meloni

Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe Rutherford. What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.
Set in 1976 San Francisco, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. News commentary of the Patty Hearst trial echoes in the background, as Minnie’s young expressive eyes soak in a drug-laden city in transition— where teenage rebellion and adult responsibility clash in characters lost and longing. Minnie’s hard-partying mother and absent father have left her rudderless. She first finds solace in Monroe’s seductive smile, and then on the backstreets of the city by the bay. Animation serves a refuge from the confusing and unstable world around her. Minnie emerges defiant — taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary.


Flock of Dudes

(2015 , 104 min. )

Directed by: Bob Castrone
Screenwriter: Bob Castrone, Jason Zumwalt, Brian Levin
Producers: Mark Manuel, Aaron Kaufman, Ted O’Neal, Brian Levin
Cinematographer: Yaron Levy
Editor: Lawrence Jordan
Music: Jonathan Zalben
Cast: Chris D’Elia, Hannah Simone, Bryan Greenberg, Eric Andre, Brett Gelman, Skylar Astin

Adam and his friends have the perfect set up:all night house parties, elaborate drinking games, and random hook-ups. The problem is, Adam and his friends are in their thirties. After yet another round of shenanigans, including getting evicted and discovering his ex-girlfriend is now dating a hot actor, Adam decides he needs to break up with his friends if he wants to grow up as a man.
Director Bob Castrone’s debut boasts an ensemble cast with impeccable comedic flow and the genuine rapport necessary for a story about co-dependent friends. One man’s journey to transcend his juvenile ways turns out to be as ridiculous and fun as expected, especially when it’s balanced with welcome moments of romance and reflection.


The Overnight

(2015 , 80 min. )

Directed by: Patrick Brice
Screenwriter: Patrick Brice
Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Adam Scott, Naomi Scott
Cinematographer: John Guleserian
Editor: Christopher Donlon
Music: Julian Wass
Cast:  Adam Scott, Judith Godrèche, Jason Schwartzman, Taylor Schilling

Alex, Emily, and their son RJ have recently moved to Los Angeles’ Eastside and are desperate to find their first new friends. After a chance meeting with an eccentric yet friendly father at the neighborhood park, they gladly agree to join family pizza night at his home. But as it gets late and the kids go to bed, the family “play date” becomes increasingly more revealing and unorthodox as the couples begin to open up. With exhilarating openness and gut-busting humor, writer/director Patrick Brice delves into the sexual frustration and insecurity that many married couples face. Showcasing a memorable ensemble cast including Jason Schwartzman, Adam Scott, and Taylor Schilling, The Overnight tells a complex story of overcoming self-doubt and connecting with our deepest desires.

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Episode 280.1 – 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival – Part 1

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Welcome to Part 1 of our update from the 2015 LA Film Festival.  In this Podcast we discuss:


Shut In

(2015 , 90 min.)

Directed by: Adam Schindler
Screenwriter: David White, TJ Cimfel
Producers: Steven Schneider, Jeff Rice, Lati Grobman, Erik Olsen
Cinematographer: Eric Leach
Editor: Adam Schindler, Brian Netto
Music: Frederik Wiedmann
Cast:  Beth Riesgraf, Martin Starr, Rory Culkin, Jack Kesy

Anna and her older brother share co-dependent lives in their time-worn childhood home. But when her brother passes away, Anna must face her crippling agoraphobia to save herself from a trio of criminals who invade her home. A deadly cat-and-mouse game ensues as the intruders discover the house is not what it first appeared to be. LA Film Fest veterans Adam Schindler and Brian Netto (Delivery: The Beast Within) return to the Festival with a home invasion narrative that explores the detrimental effects of anxiety and trauma and twists it into something truly unexpected.



(2015 , 83 min. )

Directed by: Maggie Kiley
Screenwriter: Marcy Holland
Producers: Jennifer Westin
Cinematographer: Martim Vian
Editor: Vincent Oresman
Music: Matthew Pucket
Cast: Anna Camp, Stefanie Scott, Amelia Rose Blaire, Sam Page

Allie is a dimpled American teen – friendly, hardworking and involved in a secret relationship with a hot older man. Unfortunately, her clandestine beau is married. Even worse, he’s married to Sabrina, a beautiful but wild-eyed suburban housewife who will do literally anything to keep her marriage intact – including kidnapping Allie at knifepoint and keeping her tied to a chair in the attic of her gorgeously decorated home.
Bold and delicious like female-driven, teeth-gnashing dramas of yore – but with more blood and bone – Caught is an exciting departure for director Maggie Kiley, who escalates the tension while ratcheting up the madness. Marital truths and schoolgirl crushes are rarely given this kind of treatment, where camp crashes gleefully into serious suspense.


It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

Cantonese, English

(2015 , 79 min. )

Directed by: Emily Ting
Screenwriter: Emily Ting
Producers: Sophia Shek, Emily Ting
Cinematographer: Josh Silfen
Editor: Danielle Wang
Music: Timo Chen
Cast: Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg

In this sparkling romance, Ruby, a Chinese American toy designer from LA, visits Hong Kong for the first time on business. Finding herself stranded, she meets Josh, an American expat who shows her the city. Meandering through nighttime streets pulsing with energy and possibility, they fall into a winding and carefree conversation, buoyed by an undeniable attraction.  As effervescent as a perfect first date, Emily Ting’s charming directorial debut takes full advantage of the chemistry of its leads, the playfulness of their exchanges, and the magical landscape that is Hong Kong at night.


A Beautiful Now

(2015 , 98 min.)

Directed by: Daniela Amavia
Screenwriter: Daniela Amavia
Producers: Keith Kjarval, Lynn Kressel, Daniela Amavia
Cinematographer: Pat Scola
Editor: Valdis Oskarsdottir, Adam H Mack
Music: Johnny Jewel
Cast: Abigail Spencer, Cheyenne Jackson, Collette Wolfe, Elena Satine, Sonja Kinski, Patrick Heusinger

Romy barricades herself in a bathroom with a handgun and a bottle of champagne on the eve of her birthday. She embodies the easy glamor of a ballet dancer, and is beloved by her friends – but still, she feels alone. Teetering between reality and fantasy over the course of one night, Daniela Amavia’s directorial debut is grounded in a nuanced screenplay about finding beauty even when dreams have spiraled into despair. Supported by an ensemble cast who authentically inhabit the competing neuroses and affection of a group of friends in a moment of crisis, Abigail Spencer’s impassioned performance as Romy lifts the spirit, even as it breaks the heart.


Puerto Ricans in Paris


Directed by: Ian Edelman
Screenwriter: Neel Shah, Ian Edelman
Producers: Joseph Zolfo
Cinematographer: Damian Acevedo
Editor: Justin Krohn
Music: Jonathan Sadoff
Cast: Luis Guzman, Edgar Garcia, Alice Taglioni, Miriam Shor, Frédéric Anscombre, Rosie Perez, Rosario Dawson

Puerto Rican brothers–in-law Eddie and Luis just happen to be NYC’s two best counterfeit detectives. When the latest, must-have “It Bag” from celebrated Parisian fashion designer Colette’s new collection has been stolen, they head to Paris in hopes of cracking the case and collecting a handsome fee.  With clashing sleuthing styles and personality traits, the comedic duo infuses a bit of color into the City of Lights. This hilarious new caper features the incomparable Luis Guzman and co-star Edgar Garcia alongside Rosie Perez and Rosario Dawson.


What Lola Wants

(2015 , 77 min. )

Directed by: Rupert Glasson
Screenwriter: Rupert Glasson
Producers: Monnie Wills, Ayisha Davies
Cinematographer: Eric Leach
Editor: Rupert Glasson
Music: John Gray
Cast:  Sophie Lowe, Beau Knapp, Robert Taylor, Dale Dickey, Charles S. Dutton

17-year-old Lola Franklin, untamed and irrepressible, fools the world into believing she has been kidnapped when in fact she has run away to escape her Hollywood royalty parents. She convinces a charming thief named Marlo to teach her the art of pickpocketing, and soon they tear up the New Mexico countryside like a hyper-stylized ode to Bonnie and Clyde. 
With heightened, poetic dialogue and vividly outsized characters, Sophie Lowe and Beau Knapp inhabit Lola and Marlo with a heartfelt sincerity that embodies their deliciously tragic, dangerous love made especially for the silver screen. Australian director Rupert Glasson’s stylish rendition of a contemporary American western is both cinematically accomplished and delightfully off-kilter.



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