The 13th annual DTLA Film Festival, which is set to run from September 14th – 18th at Regal L.A. LIVE, announced its full lineup of 112 titles including 36 features and 76 short films.
Opening the festival is “Carlos Through The Tall Grass,” a coming-of-age tale about a brilliant young Latinx high school student who is having doubts about going to college when he realizes how much all the needy, desperate and deranged people in his dysfunctional world depend on him.
The festival’s Centerpiece Film is “Cherry,” a narrative drama about a driftless young woman who discovers she’s 11 weeks pregnant and has only 24 hours to make a consequential decision.
“ ‘Cherry’ is fascinating in how director Sophie Galibert and her cast, and particularly Alex Trewhitt who plays the lead character, seamlessly bridge the divide between comedy and drama. The fact that it fearlessly tackles a hot-button issue – abortion – with aplomb made the film our obvious choice this year for our Centerpiece,” says Sosa.
Other feature highlights from the festival include the narratives “The Allnighter” with David Koechner (“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”), Justine Bateman (“Family Ties,” “Violet”) and James Russo (“Django Unchained”), “In Her Name” from actress Sarah Carter (“The Vow,” “Rouge”) in her directorial debut, “Match” starring Ahna O’Reilly (“The Help”), Austin Nichols (“The Day After Tomorrow,” “The Walking Dead”), and Spencer Garett (“Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” “Bombshell”), “Covid 19 Sins & Virtues” starring Oscar Torre (“Gaslit,” “The Haves and the Have Nots”) and Mauricio Mendoza (“Counterpunch”), “In Broad Daylight” starring Noel Gugliemi (“Training Day,” “The Fast and the Furious”), “Catalyst” with David Bianchi (“A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.,” Tyler Perry’s “Ruthless”) and “Nix” with Dee Wallace (“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, “Cujo”) and Michael Paré (“Gone,” “The Lincoln Lawyer”).
Among the festival’s documentaries are “Pepe Serna: Life Is Art,” a biopic of the veteran character actor of 200+ films with appearances from Serna (“Scarface,” “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”), Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Blade Runner”), Cheech Marin (“Born in East L.A.”) and Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”), and Alyssa Milano-produced (“Charmed,” “Melrose Place”) “Surviving Sex Trafficking,” and “Nothing But The Blood,” an intimate look at a community Gospel group that flourished for decades by Grammy nominated jazz singer-songwriter Carmen Lundy.
Short film highlights include “Vuja De” starring Filippo Scotti (“The Hand of God”), “Post No Bills” from producer Francis Maxwell, “Borders” with Daniel Mora (“The Bridge”) and “Black Hollywood & COVID” by Oscar recipient filmmaker Charles Burnett and directors Jonathan Burnett and Joy Shannon.
Closing the festival is writer-director Florencia Krochik’s “The Rest of Us,” a stunning, thought-provoking documentary shot over a seven year period during the rise and fall of DACA that explores the broken American immigration system.
2022 DTLA FILM FESTIVAL LINEUP
American Girl / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alfred Robbins) – After an argument with her emotionally abusive step-father, a smart 19-year-old young woman from rural Georgia hastily moves to Atlanta with hopes of staying with a friend. Motivated by the social justice movement of 2020, she wants to work for Stacy Abrams and register people to vote. She has lots of natural talent and personality but lacks the work experience to get the job. After an argument with her friend, she finds herself suddenly homeless and must survive on the mean streets of Atlanta by any means necessary. Help comes from the most unexpected places. Cast: Jamila Gray. Los Angeles Premiere
Carlos Through The Tall Grass / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Rick Dominguez) – A brilliant young man has doubts about going off to college when he realizes how much all the needy, felonious, desperate and deranged people in his dysfunctional world depend on him. Cast: Miguel Angel Garcia, Ammy Ontiveros.
Catalyst / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Christopher Folkens) – Seven men are abducted by a mysterious organization. In a fight for their lives, they soon find out they have every reason to hate each other based on their dark pasts. As the mystery behind their captivity unfolds they must decide: choose one of them to die or find another way out that could save them all. Cast: Michael Roark, Melanie Liburd, Noel Gugliemi, Patrick Kilpatrick, Steve Eastin, David Bianch, Darin Cooper, F Umar Khan, Joni Bovill, Jermaine Love, Enrico Natale, Chris Michael Wood. World Premiere
Cherry / U.S.A. (Director: Sophie Galibert, Screenwriters: Sophie Galibert and Arthur Cohen) – A driftless and uncommitted 25-year-old in Los Angeles discovers she has only 24 hours to make one of the most consequential decisions of her life — what to do about an unplanned pregnancy. Cast: Alexandria Trewhitt, Hannah Aline, Angela Nicholas, Charlie S. Jensen. West Coast Premiere
Covid 19 Sins & Virtues / U.S.A. (Directors: Yeniffer M. Behrens, Mauricio Mendoza, Oscar Torre, Hugo Garcia, Caroline Brethenoux, Hernan de Becky, Cesar Gamino, Juan Gil, Marabina James, Miguel Paredes, Shanay Patalano, Jesus Schettino & Alex Toedtli Mera) – The first tumbleweeds had barely started to collect on the streets of Hollywood under COVID-19 lockdown before fifty-plus filmmakers figured out a way to get cameras rolling again. Coordinating themselves and using nothing but cell phones and Zoom, the filmmakers of this feature-length anthology leaned into the restrictions of this new isolation in a business that thrives on social contact and in-person collaboration. The result is a film that feels viscerally recognizable to all of us. West Coast Premiere
Feels Like Ghosts / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kali Baker-Johnson) – Two recent exes with an undeniable connection confront what could have been had their cultural differences not pushed them to new lives on opposite coasts. As both come to a crossroads in their lives, Keir and Jade must decide if their relationship is worth a second chance, and what they’re willing to give up to find out. The film explores a long-distance interracial romance in three discrete acts: his story, her story, and their past together. Cast: Nican Robinson, Misha Molani, Mysti Adams, Taylor Owen, Matthew Gallenstein, Sapna Kumar, Ari Dev, Mohana Benerjee, Joe Mackedanz, Paul Chrico, Theresa Deveaux, Jarrol Taylor. West Coast Premiere
I Am Like You / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Haik Kocharian) – This is a classic boy-and-his-dog story between a teenage boy in Montana, who search for love and acceptance. When the two are forcefully separated, their journey to find one another begins. West Coast Premiere
In Her Name / (Director and Screenwriter: Sarah Carter) – Estranged sisters forced to confront their differences while dealing with family bankruptcy and their formerly-important-artist father’s terminal illness. Immersed in the absurdity of the Los Angeles art world, they fall through the spiritual rabbit hole that is their childhood home. However tragic their lives remain, they find love again. West Coast Premiere
Match / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Sean McGinly) – This is the story of two people who meet on a dating site and have a relationship that turns dark — all told using only their emails and texts to one another. Cast: Stacy Edwards, Curtis Butterfield, Terra Mackintosh, Gwen Massey Tietz, Johnathan Hyett, Woolfdog Lucky. World Premiere
Nix / U.S.A. (Director: Anthony C. Ferrante, Screenwriters: Skyler Caleb, Anthony C. Ferrante, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, James Zimbardi) – A family finds themselves on a dark, scary journey into their own self-created madness when a mysterious entity manifests itself. Cast: Dee Wallace, Michael Paré, James Zimbardi. World Premiere
Northern Shade / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Christopher Rucinski) – A disenchanted Army vet emerges from isolation when his younger brother is recruited by an extremist militia. Cast: Jesse Gavin, Titania Galliher, Joseph Poliquin, Romano Orzari, Alejandro Bravo). Los Angeles Premiere
Raise Your Hand / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jessica Rae) – Gia and her best friend Lila survived a rough childhood in a neighborhood where every kid had a sad story to tell. Now, as teenagers, Gia struggles to use her gift of writing to reclaim what the world has brutally taken away. Cast: Jearnest Corchado, Hanani Taylor, Joel Steingold, Jess Nurse, DaJuan Johnson, Gregory Scott Cummins, Kenny Vibert, MicahTarver, Nelcie Souffrant, Gracie Marie Bradley, Shawn Turner, Pat Skipper, Isabella Day, Sade Kimora Young, Janet Craig, Gilbert Duran, Imrani Duran, Jeffrey Larson, Fenix Lazzaroni, Lace Williams.
Red Raincoats / U.S.A. (Director: Neal Cohen, Screenwriters: Ericka Clevenger, Neal L. Cohen, Nina Tarr) – Delilah, wealthy and entitled but with a neglectful mother, spends her time daydreaming of a life of romance and adventure. Veronika, studious and straight-laced but with a secret life she hides from her overbearing father, is putting herself through college over the protests of her parents. In an attempt to get away from their families, both girls show up at an old, dilapidated mansion in response to a job ad posted by an eccentric woman named Indigo. Wary of each other at first, the girls begin to bond as the house’s strange forces send them back and forth across time and space, forcing them to help each other overcome the obstacles created by their fantasies and memories as well as their present lives. Cast: Ericka Clevenger, Nina Tarr. World Premiere
Spook / U.S.A. (Directors: Meshuan Lebrone and Nathaniel Starck, Screenwriter: Meshaun Labrone) – Ex-cop, Darryl “Spook” Spokane is about to be executed for the murder of his fellow police officers. His last words become a treatise on institutionalized racism in America and the emotional toll that it brings to Black cops working in America’s precincts. This film is based on Meschaun Labrone’s play, which first premiered in Washington, DC at the 2018 Capital Fringe Festival. Cast: Meshaun Labrone. West Coast Premiere
Stay The Night (Director and Screenwriter: Renuka Jeyapalan) – A failed work opportunity prompts chronically single Grace to pursue a one night stand with a stranger. Turns out he’s an on-the-outs professional athlete in town with a problem of his own. Maybe they can help each other.
The Allnighter / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Aimee Graham) – When an astrophysics student working towards his PhD loses priceless research to an auto theft, he makes a bargain with a woman at a local pawn shop in order to get it back. Seeking to resolve issues from the past, Belle drags Terence to the desert where the two unwittingly play integral roles in healing old wounds — inspiring deliverance. Cast: David Koechner, Justine Bateman, James Russo, Tiny Lister, Owen Beckman, Gretchen Lodge. Los Angeles Premiere
The Best Day of Your Life / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Aaron Dougherty) – Derrick’s best friend is now married. He dreads the idea of marriage and resolves that he’ll never tie the knot. But on one fateful and frightful day, Derrick falls asleep and the unexpected rears its head. Worse yet, it’s more real than he thinks. Cast: Alan Michael Dougherty, Kyle Ament, Benzino, Lawrence “Omega” Edwards, Christian Kimbrough, Jake Brown, Cilicia Clarkson, Brian Newman, Mike Samp. West Coast Premiere
The Falling World / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jaclyn Bethany) – October 1992. A group of law students head to a remote home upstate where a girl disappeared two years earlier. Cast: Ayumi Patterson, Lucy Walters, Kaley Ronayne, Michael Rabe, Joshua David Robinson, Jonathan C. Kaplan, Anna Crivelli. West Premiere
The Severing – (Director: Mark Pellington) – A cathartic movement film expressing feelings and emotions through a ‘story of movement and text’, rather than a plot. Capturing emotion and physicality on an experiential and non-linear narrative level. Los Angeles Premiere
Townhouse Confidential / U.S.A. (Director: Patrick Perez Vidauri, Screenwriter: Rosalind Resnick) – When Liz Perry and her two sisters inherit a crumbling New York City townhouse from their parents, the race is on to find a wealthy tenant to rent the downstairs apartment and to avoid a one-way trip to Jersey City. Enter Jonathan Grove, a single young hedgefunder from San Francisco, and his best friend, George Barrow, the arrogant Prince Charming of West Village real estate. Together with bad boy handyman Tommy Leroy, sleazy mortgage broker Sal Carmine, and Liz’s best friend Billie Jane, it’s “Pride and Prejudice” meets “Sex and the City” in this hilarious romp through New York’s West Village. Cast: Sam Simone, Lee Tyler, Ernest Pierce, Russell Sperberg, Georgie Kate Haege, Allison Wick, Al Linea, Joseph D’Onofrio, Allison Pittel, Brittany Bennett, Cory Stonebrook, Jonas Barranca, Danny Bolero, Pepi Streiff, Bek Markas, Nicola Gorham, Chelsea Diane, Emma Vance, Chi-Hua Lee-Secci, Philip Trossarello, Geo Rodriguez, Franck Raharinosy, Sixto DeJesus, Paige Simunovich, Ashley Grombol. West Coast Premiere
Turbo Cola / U.S.A. (Director: Luke Covert, Screenwriters: Samantha Oty, Luke Covert, Matthew Kiskis) – Austin Morris is foregoing the biggest party of the year to work overtime at the Quality Mart, much to the chagrin of his new girlfriend, Mary Jane. What his friends don’t know, however, is that his true plan is to rob the store’s ATM with his stoner side-kick, Swearsky, so that he can be with the girl of his dreams. This New Year’s Eve will change everything. Cast: Nicholas Stoesser, Jared Spears, Jordyn Denning, Landon Tavernier, Brooke Maroon, Anthony Notarile, Erin Nordseth, Brandon Keeton. West Coast Premiere
Beyond Ed Buck / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Jayce Baron and Hailie Sahar) – Beyond Ed Buck follows the tragic murders that took place by the hands of Democratic political donor, Edward Buck. Los Angeles Premiere
Blurring the Color Line / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Crystal Lee Kwok) – Digging into her grandmother’s past growing up Chinese in a Black neighborhood in Augusta, Georgia’s Black during Jim Crow, director Crystal Kwok complicates the black and white narrative while exposing uncomfortable truths behind today’s Afro-Asian tensions. West Coast Premiere
Hudson, America / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Zuzka Kurtz and Geoffrey Hug) – This is a poignant portrait of America seen through the eyes of six Bangladeshi Gen-Z students and their conservative Muslim community, documented between 2016 and 2022. World Premiere
Imperfect / U.S.A. (Directors: Brian Malone and Regan Linton) – A company of actors with all nature of disabilities – from spinal cord injury to Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy to autism – attempt an unprecedented version of Kander, Ebb and Fosse’s beloved musical Chicago. Capturing the raw, honest stories of the actors inside the production process and outside the theater in their everyday lives, the film reveals a rare behind-the-scenes look at talented artists who push to succeed as professional performers, no matter the obstacles. Los Angeles Premiere
Lost and Found / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kevin Roman) – Not all stories of the homeless are hopeless. In this inspiring documentary, a wide range of individuals with disparate histories reveal how they overcame personal demons and addiction to leave once and for all the streets that once claimed them. Los Angeles Premiere
Nothing But The Blood / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Carmen Lundy) – The Apostolic Singers of Miami have performed for over forty years and never made a studio recording documenting their incredible voices until December 26, 1991… This film documents the taping of their first recording session ever, complete with interviews. World Premiere
Okay! (The ASD Band) / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Bone, Screenwriters: Gregory Rosati, Andrew Simon) – “Life is a play, and everybody has the script but you. -Jackson D. Begley This is how one member of The ASD Band, featuring four talented autistic individuals, describes what’s it like when you’re on the spectrum. Through a shared loved of music, Rawan, Jackson, Spenser and Ron shatter the stigma of those with autism as loners, coming together to express themselves through song. OKAY! (The ASD Band Film) follows the members of the ASD Band as they embark upon the difficult journey of writing and recording their first album, and ultimately performing their first public show. Along the way we delve into the deep corridors of their lives, as they learn to navigate a world foreign to them by finding strength in others who share the same challenges. Life on the spectrum has many individual challenges, but together, anything is possible.” Los Angeles Premiere
Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Soren Sorensen) – Multiple Grammy-nominee Omar Sosa is one of the most versatile musical artists on the scene today, infusing a wide range of jazz, world music and electronic elements with his native Afro-Cuban roots to create a fresh and original sound. The film traces Sosa’s artistic origins from his birth and childhood in Cuba to his relocation to the U.S., In his 25+ years as a solo artist, Sosa has released more than 30 albums. As Eugene Holley wrote in a Village Voice piece that inspired the film’s title, “Sosa’s pianisms evoke distant echoes of McCoy Tyner’s power, Keith Jarrett’s improvisational flights of fancy, and Thelonious Monk’s angular harmonies, transforming the piano into 88 well-tuned drums.” West Coast Premiere
Pepe Serna: Life is Art / U.S.A. (Director: Luis Reyes) – Groundbreaking Mexican-American character actor and artist Pepe Serna finally takes the spotlight in this joyous paean to Sema’s life and his hundred-plus charismatic, scene-stealing roles that paved the way for generations of Chicanx actors in Hollywood and beyond. Los Angeles Premiere
Surviving Sex Trafficking / U.S.A. (Director: Sadhvi Siddhali Shree) – With 45 million sex trafficking victims worldwide, only 1% manage to escape. This documentary examines the ongoing struggles of survivors as they fight to break free of their past, heal their bodies and minds, and find hope for the future. Los Angeles Premiere
The Art of Rebellion (Director: Libby Spears) – An LA-based street artist fights an unforgiving health care system while she battles the symptoms of progressive multiple sclerosis.
The Great American Lowrider Tradition / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Martin Torrez) – The previously untold story of the East L.A. car culture known as Lowriders is revealed in this feature-length documentary. The Lowrider movement was born in the midst of racism and social injustice in America targeting Latinos and specifically Mexican-Americans/Chicanos. In spite of what it endured, the culture prevailed, becoming an authentic American tradition, celebrated worldwide. Los Angeles Premiere
The Rest of Us / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Florencia Krochik) – Shot over a seven year period during the rise and fall of DACA, the fllm explores the broken American immigration system and follows the lives of five undocumented students as they live, study and work towards a better life in a country that doesn’t recognize them as its own. Los Angeles Premiere
2 Dollars / U.S.A. (Director: Robin Cloud) – Syd works at one of the worst property management firms in the city. As a black queer masculine of center artist, Syd deals with the daily slights from ignorant co-workers, an oblivious boss, and a killer workload. Louise, a gambling-addicted coworker, pressures Syd into contributing to the office lotto pool. The following morning, Syd learns that they have won the lotto or so they think. In an act of rebellion, Syd trashes the office that has caused her so much pain and when confronted, finds the courage to leave this life behind and pursue their dreams.
Brownsville Bred / U.S.A. (Director: Elaine Del Valle) – Set in 1980’s Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY– At the height of the crack and crime epidemics–A spunky Latina must find her own path as she comes of age to face the grim realities of the deteriorating neighborhood she calls home and the musician father she once idolized.
Faculty Lounging / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Andrew Janes) – When teacher Michelle Kelley catches her wealthy husband in bed with a neighbor she immediately moves out, leaving her cushy, artisanal cheese life behind. Unable to secure a hotel, she has only one place to go: Green Pastures High School to sleep in her faculty lounge. At the same time, across town, science teacher Kathy Ford discovers her parents are moving to South Padre and have Airbnb’ed the family house out from under her. Being abruptly forced from the nest with no money, 200K in student loan debt, and minimal life skills, she has the same idea. The two ladies find themselves spending just “one night” together in the school’s faculty lounge as they figure out how to get back on their feet. One night quickly turns into months as they find it’s hard to save for an apartment on a public school teacher’s salary especially during a housing crisis. Los Angeles Premiere
Flow! / U.S.A. (Director: Lin Que Ayoung) – FLOW! is a semi auto-biographical dark comedy about a struggling teacher by day and an even more struggling stand-up comedian by night. Zita is a thirty-five-year-old vivacious independent Latina with health benefits and a pension, a decent bank account, her own apartment, and growing relationships with family and friends. As time ticks on, her craving for what she believes she should have received long ago: the perfect husband, a gifted child, and Havanese puppy, exacerbates. The only thing standing in her way is Zita… namely, her self-destructive tendency to look for love in all the demoralizing places. Throughout the season, Zita’s “no-nonsense tell-it-like-it-is” friends, coworkers, neighbors, and students set Zita on a somewhat upwards track toward self-respect! World Premiere
Hot Mess / Austria (Director: Evelyne Tollman-Werzowa) – A Jewish American Princess moves to Vienna and is burning up due to CULTURE SHOCK, GLOBAL WARMING, Austrian History, and the death of the American Dream. Can she stop schwitzing and swearing at everyone to find the peace she longs for? World Premiere
How to Hack Birth Control / U.S.A. (Director: Sassy Mohen) – ‘How to Hack Birth Control’ is a 3-segment pilot of the satire series ‘How to Hack’ by Sassy Mohen. The pilot focuses on how to navigate and take charge in today’s contraception universe. Told through the sharp wit and perky charm of the narrator Ruth (Xanthe Paige), Birth Control takes a run at ‘not supposed to talk about,’ scenarios and answers all of the questions women truly want to know but are taught to be too afraid to ask. Filled with tongue-in-cheek graphics and special effects, musical numbers and game shows, each memorable contraceptive milestone is a riotous new discovery. Hailed as, “wickedly funny,” and “charmingly scathing,” by Indie Shorts Magazine, ‘How to Hack Birth Control,’ dishes out invaluable hacks with a merciless sense of humor.” Los Angeles Premiere
Black Hollywood & Covid and Advocates / U.S.A. (Directors: Joy Shannon, Jonathan Burnett and Charles Burnett) – Black Hollywood & COVID and Advocates are episodes from the award-winning docuseries After The LockDown: Black In LA. Charles Burnett warmly directs Black Hollywood & COVID, exploring how Blacks in the film industry experienced COVID-19, but he also goes beneath the surface as his Hollywood guests, Debbie Allen, Bill Duke, Sheryl Lee Ralph and others, examine the social dynamics that makes Blacks more vulnerable to the coronavirus. In Advocates, dynamic thinkers such as Dominique DiPrima, Dr. David Carlisle, Holly Mitchell, Bernard Parks and Nina Harawa, Ph.D., discuss if Blacks are disproportionately impacted from COVID-19 due to racism, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lower wages, or a combination? Both episodes are voices of those who refuse to be ‘vulnerable.’ World Premiere
Handsome / U.S.A. (Director: Devon O’Kane) – HANDSOME is a 6-episode, queer web series about a gay man in his early 30’s who has just ended a 10 year relationship. Now he has to navigate a modern dating scene he knows nothing about.
Retrograde / U.S.A. (Director: Millie Rose Heywood) – A tight-knit coven of millennial witches invites a seemingly innocent outsider into their midst, threatening the intricate balance of their clique and unwittingly exposing them to powerful witchcraft. Caught up in the drama within their circle, they are left vulnerable to the malefic threats closing in and will discover that awakening real magic comes with dark consequences.
(Un)Claimed: Digital Web Series / U.S.A. (Director: Carolyn Ratteray) – (Un)Claimed follows Fiona Devers, a facilities-manager-but-wanna-be-performer, and her longtime girlfriend Kimberly Mills as they navigate polyamory for the first time. With the help of friends, can this motley crew learn to be true to themselves while realizing that love doesn’t always look the way you expect?
11 / U.S.A. (Director: Alexey Wind) – Jack and his girlfriend, Laura, return home from a trip, but lost his way, Jack decides to stay overnight at a roadside motel. Jack wakes up at night to find that Laura is missing. He goes in search of her and does not yet guess what secrets will be revealed to him. World Premiere
30 Weeks / U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Hackenberg) – 30 Weeks follows Lia (Princess Adenike) and August (Mister Fitzgerald), a young couple dealing with loss and immense grief. The loss forces them to face deeper issues within their relationship, including mental health. In a matter of 15 minutes, the couple finds themselves pushed towards a reckoning deciding the fate of their relationship. West Coast Premiere
As Bitter As Sweet / U.S.A. (Director: Dorothy Xiao) – Two single mothers struggle with the expectations and pressures of motherhood, and conflict arises when one of them develops a deeper bond with the other woman’s child.
Azizam/ U.S.A. (Director: Alci Rengifo) – Set in 1970s Iran. Two young students from opposite ends of society meet by the sea in a time where revolution hangs in the air. Bijan, the son of aristocrats close to the regime of the Shah, prepares to leave for college and feels the pressures of a future already decided by his powerful father. He meets Layla, a girl from the wrong side of Tehran, who forces him to question everything. Their bond will challenge class and social divisions in a world soon to disappear. Los Angeles Premiere
Black Dragon (Rồng đen) / U.S.A. (Director: Alexander Thompson) – Vietnam, 1968. A feared American colonel nicknamed “the Black Dragon” by Vietnamese locals must face his inner shadow when his platoon presents him with a captured Vietcong girl who harbors some very unusual powers. A Jungian psychological thriller/parable examining the capacity for monstrous evil lurking within us all, the film is loosely inspired by the My Lai Massacre, one of America’s most pernicious wartime atrocities. Hailing from the producer of “Cabin Fever”, the film stars Matthew Del Negro (Scandal, The Sopranos, West Wing, City on a Hill, Wind River) and Celia Au (Lodge 49, Nora From Queens, Wu Assassins).
Bloom / U.S.A. (Director: Freddie Lopez) – After going his whole life drowning in many dark thoughts, a 20 year old young male, finally breaks through with the courage of his sexuality. Facing the undeniable fear of rejection from the people that he loves the most. Will he Bloom? World Premiere
Bonus Time / U.S.A. (Director: Alexander Hanno) – A stubborn and self-centered Latino cancer survivor returns home with a second lease on life, determined to make amends with the people he’s wronged – whether they like it or not – all in hopes that the good karma will keep him cancer free. Los Angeles Premiere
Border-Ball / U.S.A. (Director: Joel Tauber) – Border-Ball chronicles Joel Tauber’s 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. – Mexico border. He walks, repeatedly, from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, along the Border Wall, to the Otay Mesa Detention Center—and back. People share their thoughts and stories, and Tauber wonders how we can be so cruel to so many immigrants and refugees. They play catch. They hug. Sometimes they even laugh, despite it all. And Tauber continues walking, praying that things will change. Los Angeles Premiere
Borders / U.S.A. (Director: Frank Velasquez) – “Borders” examines what it is to be a person of color in a country that is addicted to the oppression of your people. The horrors of war and at home are explored, as two veterans – a social worker making a house call to the other – discuss their service, while the client’s artwork comes alive in a surreal experience. Los Angeles Premiere
Burnt Feathers, Broken Wings / U.S.A. (Director: Cady McClain) – An artful look at the trials and triumphs of four diverse girls in the foster system as they struggle with addiction and histories of abuse.
Coastal Crisis: California’s Vanishing Beaches / U.S.A. (Director: Scott Hays) – California is known for its scenic coastline, but its coastline is in danger. Sea-level rise, land development, and other factors are leading to coastal erosion and potentially affecting billions of dollars in property. This documentary explores what is happening, how local governments are dealing with the issue, and what the consequences are if there is a lack of adequate action. Los Angeles Premiere
Dog Lover / U.S.A. (Director: Anne-Sophie Bine) – A woman prefers her dog to her husband. What will he do? Los Angeles Premiere
Fly, Black Boy / U.S.A. (Director: Spencer Elliott-Hair) – “Fly, Black Boy” shares the story of Bronson Hill, a young man from inner city, Grand Rapids, Michigan who defied odds with the support of his family and belief in god to become an NFL athlete and more. West Coast Premiere
Glory & Injustice / U.S.A. (Director: Jamieson Tabb) – When a custody petition arrives, 13-year-old girl “Glory” must break her dad “Lord Injustice” out of a depression or they will lose each other forever. West Coast Premiere
Gold / U.S.A. (Director: Roland Smith) – Kicked out of the Mormon church for having sex out of wedlock, headstrong Ava drags her rigid twin sister Lavinia through the dangerous California wilderness in search of a new life with their uncle, who is rumored to have found gold in a nearby town. When they find themselves lost, alone, and out of food, the twins must decide whether to push on toward a life that is unknown but free or to return to a life that is certain but stifling.
Havana / U.S.A. (Director: Faith Strongheart) – Cuba, 1970’s. Antonio, an immigration officer by day, sells exit visas illegally by night at exorbitant prices. Antonio’s secrets go beyond his secret job, though: he is also hiding his homosexuality, which comes to light when his lover, Jian, comes in looking for an exit visa for himself. Los Angeles Premiere
Homeless / U.S.A. (Director: Lance Hopper) – While living on the street, Winston gets a generous donation from a friendly stranger. He uses the money and his wit to get a new job, and turn his life around … losing a part of himself in the process. Can he redeem himself, and find what he’s lost? World Premiere
How to Lose Weight and Look Great / U.S.A. (Director: Nolan Wang) – An animated autobiographical true story of having a severe case of brain cancer and trying to make sense of a world where people don’t seem to know how to communicate about illness. Los Angeles Premiere
I Am Jalaiah / U.S.A. (Director: Kayla Johnson) – The story of an Atlanta-based teenager that used her gift to change dance culture on the internet as we know it today. The Renegade was a global phenomenon, yet its creator hardly reaped the fruits of her labor. This is the story about the pursuit of redemption, a reshaped Internet and where culture really comes from.- West Coast Premiere
Identification / U.S.A. (Director: Martha Elva Rodriguez) – In a small border town, Rigoberto Hernandez teaches his 15-year-old daughter, Marcela, how to drive. They both undergo cultural and life realizations strengthening their father-daughter relationship, as they, unfortunately, encounter a situation that will change their future as a family. Los Angeles Premiere
In Broad Daylight / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Ferrufino) – A Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy is faced with a life-altering decision after following his training officers’ unwarranted orders. West Coast Premiere
InVade / U.S.A. (Director: Eunice Levis) – An undocumented scientist and his son try to stop an environmental disaster. Los Angeles Premiere
Just a Man and a Woman / U.S.A. (Director: Oscar Torre) – Meeting secretly at a hotel once a week, a man and a woman are soon forced to make a decision that will change their lives forever.
La Cuarentena / U.S.A. (Director: Johaira Michelle Dilauro) – Two nurses take you on a journey about their experience during the pandemic in a colorful feel good journey of hope in this PSA short film/music video.
La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World) / U.S.A. (Director: Erika Valenciana) – Three brave girls tell their harrowing stories through a combination of experimental camerawork and paper stop-motion animation to protect their identities, including animation created by survivors. Shortly after being rescued, underage survivors are in the process of healing in a safehouse in Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador, a town located at 0 degrees latitude. Far from being throwaways, the girls are but young people searching for their true selves after surviving traumatic events. Years later, they acclimate to life outside of the safehouse. Although robbed of their childhoods, once far along, it becomes apparent they have yet to lose their dreams and hope for the future. West Coast Premiere
Le Ballon Bleu (The Blue Balloon) / U.S.A. (Director: Katherine Griffin) – A curious blue balloon leads a girl on an adventure through the streets of Paris, but she quickly discovers all is not what it appears to be. When she crosses paths with a little boy and his red balloon, it becomes clear there’s a greater magical force at work. It is in French with English subtitles. And, this film was shot entirely on iPhone. World Premiere
Los Patines / U.S.A. (Director: Loren Escandon) – Forced to be a servant to a white woman, an Afro-Colombian orphaned girl dreams of freedom, a normal childhood, and a pair of roller-skates.
Mister Albright / U.S.A. (Director: Mad Matthewz) – A mother grows increasingly concerned when her adopted eight-year-old son forms an unsettling attachment to an old ventriloquist doll. Los Angeles Premiere
My House / U.S.A. (Director: Mary Elizabeth Boylan) – One woman’s lifelong journey told through the prism of her childhood home. Los Angeles Premiere
Nate / U.S.A. (Director: Earl Bolden Jr) – This is a story both about Nate and utterly not about him at all. The titular character is the husband of Archelle and the reason she and her former best friend, Cassandra, are bitterly estranged. When Nate is out of the picture, the two women reconnect and can’t help but fall back into old rhythms. For better or for worse… NATE explores the depths of a female friendship that skirts the line between love and toxic codependency.
No Leaders Please / U.S.A. (Director: Joan C. Gratz) – No Leaders Please is an animated film based on a poem by Charles Bukowski. Works inspired by artists Basquiat, Banksy, Haring and A Weiwei represent the poem’s theme of self-invention. Los Angeles Premiere
Noor / U.S.A. (Director: Lidiya Korotko) – An Arab-American woman, isolated in rural America, is forced to confront the ghost of her marriage when she meets a sexy next-door neighbor.
Open House / U.S.A. (Director: Grant Housely) – If you thought elementary school open house was about the cute projects your kids made, this hilarious short about an optimistic first year teacher facing off with a conniving veteran will reveal the truth — it’s a comical Battle Royale! First time, first year elementary school teacher Ms. Wright has no idea that she is walking into a wacky world of hilarious conflicts that include highly competitive teachers, kids with zero verbal filters, a quirky coworker in mermaid couture, and a conniving teacher who will stop at nothing to remain on top. Can Ms. Wright hold onto her idealistic zeal and not fall prey to the dark side of Open House? Will she successfully navigate her curious students’ embarrassing bluntness, no matter how intimate or personal it may be, and manage to find her own rhythm in the zany world of elementary school education?
Pete Hates the Dodgers / U.S.A. (Directors: Maceo Montoya and Tomás Montoya) – Pete is surrounded by Dodgers fans who infuriate him to no end, and none more than his die-hard Dodger fan father. But Pete’s Dodger-hating is put to the test when Jenny, the new girl at work, invites him to watch the first game of the 2017 World Series. Pete está rodeado de fans de Los Dodgers que lo enfurecen hasta el final, y ninguno más que su propio padre quién es un super fanático de Los Dodgers. Pero su odio sobre Los Dodgers es puesto a prueba cuando Jenny, la nueva chica en su trabajo, lo invita a ver el primer partido de la Serie Mundial 2017. Los Angeles Premiere
Post No Bills / USA (Director: Francis Maxwell) – A late night encounter in a Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn penthouse during a blackout leaves a profound connection between the young handyman and a dead cleaner.
Powers / U.S.A. (Director: Paige Morrow Kimball) – A budding artist in her 60s hangs sculptures on telephone poles to spread joy in her urban community. Afraid to get caught, she disguises herself as a man and through her random acts of kindness, she comes into her own, making peace with her troubled past. This heart-warming story reminds us that it’s never too late to discover one’s true passion. The film was shot during the Pandemic with an all-female crew of one, on an iPhone 11pro.
Raw / U.S.A. (Director: Drake Shannon) – Past and present are blurred by a horrifying transgression as a female soldier faces the aftermath of a military patrol in the Middle East. RAW exposes military sexual trauma through the eyes of a soldier struggling to readjust to everyday life.
Record Highs / U.S.A. (Director: Beryl Allee) – Frogs compete to reach the ultimate vantage point, where anything is possible and everything can be seen. Los Angeles Premiere
Reggie and June / U.S.A. (Director: Brandon Thomas) – In Oakland California we’re introduced to a family leaving their 3 year olds “Red Egg & Ginger” party. A young Black father named Reggie is completely oblivious to how he botched a traditional Chinese event important to his Asian-American wife. June will one-up Reggies mistake with her lack of understanding of her husband’s Black experience. In the heat of an argument Reggie leaves to reach out to his father and meets him at his fencing club. Even then Reggie doesn’t get the validation he desperately seeks. We’ll witness a married couple fighting for their toddler to know and understand their cultures fully. Los Angeles Premiere
Ro & the Stardust / U.S.A. (Director: Eunice Levis) – A free spirited teen and her terminally ill grandmother build a rocket ship they plan to launch into outer space. Los Angeles Premiere
Second Hand / U.S.A. (Director: Omar Juarez) – An old mirror bears more than self-reflection, and waits for its magical secrets to be revealed.
Something Fishy / U.S.A. (Director: Christina Woo) – Sara is getting ready to go on a date with her new boyfriend, but Jessica, Sara’s pet goldfish, notices something not quite right about him.
Stranger at the Gate / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Seftel) – U.S. Marine Richard “Mac” McKinney had planned to return home to Muncie, Indiana as a hero – in an American flag-draped coffin. But that didn’t happen. Instead, after 25 years of service, he returns alive and filled with an all-consuming rage. Still fueled by his desire to die for his country, he plans to bomb the local mosque. But when he comes face to face with the community of Afghan refugees and others of Muslim faith that he seeks to kill, his plan takes an unexpected turn.
Super Scar / U.S.A. (Director: Lauren Aboulafia) – In Super Scar, writer/actor/animator Lauren Aboulafia shares her real-life traumatic birth experience with humor and humanity. After giving birth three months early, she struggled to stay sane amidst the madness of the NICU. In telling her story, Lauren learns to be grateful for all the goodness in her life, especially her new scar, which ultimately symbolizes her newfound warrior spirit. West Coast Premiere
Sword, Skill, & Sorcery / U.S.A. (Director: Shayna Raye Funderburk) – A baker’s son quests to locate a wanted sorceress, but mistaken identities cause the wannabe knight to plunder more than he bargained for. West Coast Premiere
The Agent / U.S.A. (Director: Emily Francis Kaplan) – A C-list talent agent moves through the world all but invisible, until he enters a pay-to-play audition room where actors looking for their big break mistakenly imbue him with a god-like power to change their lives.
The Blonde Bombshell / U.S.A. (Director: Jamielyn Lippman) – The Blonde Bombshell follows the life of a 1960’s famous Hollywood actress (Marilyn Monroe). We follow the “The Actress” through the last few hours of her life up to her untimely demise. World Premiere
The Golden Bull / U.S.A. (Director: Pedro Perez Nuñez) – Valentine Gallardo, a Mexican matador is torn between the love of his life and his love for bullfighting after having a near-death injury in his last fight. Valentin has to come to terms with what is truly important to him, family or fame. Los Angeles Premiere
The Interview / U.S.A. (Director: Gino Jose) – Gay newlyweds Danny and Luke prepare for an interview that can change the course of their relationship, for better or worse. World Premiere
The Obedience Project / U.S.A. (Directors: Shaylen Haller, Kyla Harrison) – Unexpectedly stuck in a twisted 1950s simulation, test subject Mary undergoes a brutal experiment that molds women into becoming the ideal wife that every man desires. World Premiere
The Pomegranate Tree / U.S.A. (Director: Kanika Vora) – After losing her father, a sixteen year old Muslim girl must convince her Hindu neighbors to provide her refuge for one violent night during the Partition of India.
The Product / U.S.A. (Director: Deana Molle) – The Product in Human trafficking never has a real name. World Premiere
The Story of Mama Butterfly / China (Director: Yuqian Cao) – A minor ethnic group, Miao, in Guizhou, China, holds butterflies as their totem and applies the symbol in their embroidery.
The Vortex / U.S.A. (Director: Karolyne Sosa) – An artist (ArstbySosa) entrusts the fire within to become a portal of creativity. He gives over to the universe and becomes one with nature. World Premiere
T.I.M.E (Treasure Intimate Memories Everyday) / U.S.A. (Director: Maurice Alan Elrod) – A life journey between a father and his only daughter. World Premiere
Viva / U.S.A./Dominican Republic (Director: Esteban “Steven” Petersen) – Desperate to escape Cuba and find freedom, a young ballerina struggles to believe that she has the talent to dance her way off the impoverished island.
Vuja De / U.S.A./France (Director: Viktor Ivanov) – Forced by the parents to be married, a young couple in Paris discover things about themselves as they mature through their romance together. A ffesh and comedic look into questions of sexuality, gender identity and love for the sake of love, the film is a mix of styles from documentary to traditional narrative and referencing the French New Wave. Los Angeles Premiere
We All Die Alone / U.S.A. (Director: Jonathan Hammond) – The hubris of an inept conflict negotiator leads two warring gangs into an 8-way standoff. The consequences are both comical and tragic in this whip-smart short.
Weak / U.S.A. (Director: J S Mayank) – AUDRA (Katherine Castro) who’s suffering from depression, and her friend JEN (Bridget Regan), who’s trying to help her cope with the mental health issues. They visit a shooting range to “let off some steam”, when an unexpected turn of events leads to a surprising and horrifying revelation. Los Angeles Premiere
Welcome to the Family / U.S.A. (Director: Conner Robert Hensley) – A young man named Ben, wants to propose to his girlfriend, but first he must get the blessing of her father. When Ben finds out the kind of dangerous man her father is, and what it will take to get his approval, he may question whether it is really worth it. World Premiere
When the Rain Sets In / U.K. (Director: James Hughes) – Kenzie and Treyden, a couple who’ve been swept up in a whirlwind six-month romance, find themselves confronting a painful question: Has their love story come to an end? Los Angeles Premiere
When You Leave / U.S.A. (Director: Jason Yamamoto) – A young Japanese American must confront his past and learn the price of freedom when given the opportunity to leave the WWII internment camp where he is imprisoned.
White Noise / U.S.A. (Director: Mikkel Aranas) – White Noise is a short film showing the many layers and complexities of racism. We believe the best way to fix the brokenness of this world has to start with the ONE. One person at-a-time, one conversation at-a-time, and one action at-a-time. We cannot underestimate the power and story of the one.
Wolves / U.S.A. (Director: Jesús Celaya) – Three criminals fight boredom in a lonely cantina by humoring a mysterious old woman when she offers to tell them a story…a story that may have their fates sealed within it.
Yae: Blind Samurai Woman / U.S.A. (Director: Akiko Izumitani) – In the mountains of the Edo Period Japan, when a blind woman’s samurai father is killed by a young samurai avenging his own father’s death, she agrees to be escorted to the nearest village, but she’s not as helpless as she appears.
Yanantin / U.S.A. (Director: Glenda G. Delgado) – A lonely, stay at home mother summons an Incan Priestess version of herself from a world where Incans and all other Native Americans defeated conquistadors with their special abilities like force choke holds! This isn’t an introduction or discussion about mystical travel to different dimensions because we all know it exists…so many movies have proven it so. But rather a lonely stay at home mother who abuses her Native American abilities for a second conversation with her Incan Priestess self, breaking their agreement to never speak again. The Incan Priestess does not take this unexpected summoning lightly…however when the Incan Priestess discovers the lonely woman is a mother she decides to stay, as she and no other versions of her have a child. They serve each other’s needs as one wants to know what motherhood is like and the other just wants someone to talk to and who better to talk to when you’re lonely than yourself…from another dimension. West Coast Premiere