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The US Premiere of Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto will be the Closing Night Film of the LA Film Festival. The film stars Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hildalgo and Diego Cataño and will close the Festival on June 9.

The Closing Night Film is Desierto from Jonás Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón, the acclaimed filmmakers of Gravity, starring Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries and Y Tu Mamá También) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen). What begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life becomes a harrowing and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.-Mexican border. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer.

In addition the Festival will host the World Premiere Special Screening of James Wan’s supernatural thriller The Conjuring 2 on June 7 during the Festival. Wan now brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, first seen in the blockbuster The Conjuring, which debuted at the LA Film Festival in 2013. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to a house plagued by malicious spirits. The film also stars Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney and Franka Potente. It was written by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes & James Wan and David Leslie Johnson, and produced by Peter Safran and Rob Cowan. From New Line Cinema, The Conjuring 2 will be released in theaters nationwide on June 10.

A Conversation will be held with filmmaker Nate Parker, actress Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder) and the cast of The Birth of a Nation. In this year’s Master Classes, Festival Guest Director Ryan Coogler and sound designer Steve Boeddeker will talk sound design and production designer Alex McDowell will give a primer on virtual reality world building.

Additionally the cast and creators of one of the most acclaimed and highest rated basic cable series in years, The People v. O.J. Simpson, will be at the Festival for a screening of the final episode and to discuss the making of the show.

For the third consecutive year at the LA Film Festival, Principal Sponsor Jaeger-LeCoultre pays tribute to a filmmaker who has brought great innovation to contemporary cinema by awarding its Glory to the Filmmaker Award. This year’s recipient is Maryse Alberti. Alberti is a multi award-winning French cinematographer and artist, whose work is lauded for its technical elegance, grit and beauty. She is one of the most notable female cinematographers in the United States. Alberti recently completed principal photography on Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Edward Norton and lensed the 2015 hit Creed, directed by Coogler. She will be honored at the Women Behind the Lens Brunch during the Festival on Saturday, June 4. Lisa Cholodenko and Gale Ann Hurd are past recipients of the award.

The Festival will present a series of Master Classes and Conversations inviting acclaimed film artists to take part in moderated conversations that delve deeply into the creative process. On Thursday, June 2, a Conversation will be held with filmmaker and actor Nate Parker, actress Aja Naomi King and other cast members from the film The Birth of a Nation, who come to the LA Film Festival to reveal what it took to bring the story of African-American preacher and slave Nat Turner, who led one of the most important slave rebellions in U.S. history, to the big screen.
This year’s Master Classes will include an in-depth look at crafting the soundtrack to last year’s acclaimed Rocky reboot Creed, with director Ryan Coogler and his sound designer Steve Boeddeker, sponsored by the Dolby Institute. The event takes place on Saturday, June 4.

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