The 20th annual Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) now has two towering bookends. A month after Film Independent announced Bong Joon-ho’s much anticipated and talked about Snowpiercer as the festival’s opening film, it has now announced that Clint Eastwood’s movie adaptation of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys will be the closing attraction.
Adapted from one of the most successful and praised Broadway productions in history – and seemingly being a much different project than the rest of Clint Eastwood’s repertoire – Jersey Boys seems like a bold choice to end the festival (we’ve talked more about the film here).
Though closing in song, the festival is certainly opening with a bang with Bong Joon-ho’s train thriller Snowpiercer. The film’s journey from South Korea to the United States has been well publicized for several reasons – it is the most expensive film made and one of the biggest box-office successes in Korea, and it swept the Korean Film Awards (the Korean equivalent to the Oscars) earlier this year. We also reported a controversy surrounding the Weinstein Company’s insistence on cutting the film down to a more “digestible” product for American audiences. Nevertheless, the film has been well received: LAFF’s Artistic Director David Ansen has already called Snowpiercer “amazing” and praised the director of The Host and Mother for “tak[ing] popular genres to a visionary new level.”
Run by Film Independent, which also produces the Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival is one of the nation’s leading independent film festivals. This year, writer-director Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids are All Right, High Art, Six Feet Under) has been selected as guest director. Festival Director Stephanie Allain noted the writer-director’s strong résumé of quality films and television and her ability to render “REAL” women on screen. The festival is also hosting “Women Who Call the Shots: Women Directors and Showrunners,” which features notable female filmmakers and show runners – including Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) – who “will share with Festival audiences their process and progress as women at the helm.”
Gala screenings include Ira Sach’s modern love tale Love is Strange, Justin Simien’s satire Dear White People, and Hossein Amini’s romance-thriller The Two Faces of January. The festival runs from June 11 to June 19. The full list of narrative and documentary competition films are listed below.
10 Minutes, Lee Yong-Seung
Comet, Sam Esmail
Lake Los Angeles, Mike Ott Man
From Reno, Dave Boyle
Recommended By Enrique, Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia
Runoff, Kimberly Levin
Someone You Love, Pernille Fischer Christensen
Uncertain Terms, Nathan Silver
The Young Kieslowski, Kerem Sanga
Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound, William J. Saunders
The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest, Gabriel London
Meet the Patels, Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel
My Name Is Salt, Farida Pacha
Out in the Night, Blair Dorosh-Walther
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story, N.C. Heikin
Stray Dog, Debra Granik
Walking Under Water, Eliza Kubarska