“QT8: Quentin Tarantino The First Eight,” a documentary that focuses on the first 21 years of Quentin Tarantino’s career and includes interviews with frequent collaborators: including Zoë Bell, Bruce Dern, Robert Forster, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Kruger, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Eli Roth, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Christoph Waltz, amongst others, will open this year’s 11th annual DTLA Film Festival.
In a special presentation on October 26th the festival will present the documentary “Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story.” Griffin will be honored with the festival’s Independent Film Pioneer Award for her body of work in independent cinema and television. Past recipients include Laura Dern, John Hawkes, William H. Macy, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Julie Delpy and Mark Ruffalo.
The 11th edition of the DTLA Film Festival will run from October 23rd to 27th at Regal L.A. LIVE, and showcase 38 feature-length movies – evenly divided between narrative and documentary. In this year’s festival’s lineup of 38 feature films, 74% were directed by women.
More highlights from the festival include this year’s Closing Night Film – a special 25th anniversary screening of Lesli Linka Glatter’s “Now and Then” starring Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rosie O’Donnell and Rita Wilson, with special appearances from the cast and crew. This follows the festival’s tradition of presenting an archival movie to conclude the festival. Attending the screening will be the director, who also will be honored with the festival’s Independent Film Pioneer Award. When the film was first released in 1995, critics (almost entirely men) did not know what to make of its coming-of-age storyline revolving around girls and women – unusual for an era when “Stand By Me” was the benchmark for this film genre. Nevertheless, audiences embraced “Now and Then” and the film has garnered a large cult following since its release.
Additional programs in the festival include sidebars with TV pilots, Web series and Dome films, which use 360-degree cinematography like Virtual Reality but screen the films in specially built theaters. The “Dome Film Series” will take place at the Vortex Theater at L.A. Center Studio and the new Wisdome in the heart of DTLA’s Arts District.
The continuing homeless crisis in Los Angeles is addressed in two feature-length movies, “The Advocates,” a documentary about homeless activists, and “Lost Transmissions,” a narrative film starring Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Star Trek”) as an L.A. music producer who loses everything, including his home, as he succumbs to mental illness. A second, special screening of both films is planned for Skid Row during the festival.
The African American Experience is explored in four features: “Devil’s Pie: D’Angelo,” a biopic about the seminal neo-soul singer-songwriter; “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools,” which documents the shocking discrimination of young black women in our nation’s public schools; “Willie,” an inspiring nonfiction biopic about the first black hockey player to play in the NHL, and “Cory In Brick City,” a documentary about the U.S. Senator Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark and current candidate for U.S. President.
This year’s festival’s foreign lineup includes films from around the globe, all making their Los Angeles premieres, including the narrative features “Yeva” by Armenian woman director Anahid Abad, “The Golden Age” by French woman director Jenna Suru, and “You Will Never Walk Alone” by Chinese director Geng Xu”; the music biopic documentary,” Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to the World” by Cynthia Biestek and Ruben Gomez about the guitarist and founding member of the famed Buena Vista Social Club, and a showcase of new short films from notable Mexican directors.
Of the 55 shorts films in this year’s lineup, selected by senior curator Carolyn Schroeder, 55% were directed by women, and comprise seven programs on a wide range of current topics and traditional film genres: LGBQT Spotlight, Social Injustice, Race and Immigration, #metoo, Horror, Experimental and Student Shorts.