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FILM INDEPENDENT News: The 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, which returns to downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE for a fifth year

Today the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent, in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times and Host Partner L.A. LIVE, announced its official US and international selections. Warner Bros. Pictures’ Jersey Boys, directed by Clint Eastwood, will be the Closing Night film for the 2014 Festival. The film stars John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza and Oscar® winner Christopher Walken. Also announced are the Festival’s Gala Screenings, which include Ira Sachs’ Love Is Strange, Justin Simien’s Dear White People, and Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Festival.

The Los Angeles Film Festival showcases diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals and emerging talent from around the world.

The 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, which returns to downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE for a fifth year and runs from Wednesday, June 11 to Thursday, June 19, will screen a diverse slate of nearly 200 feature films, shorts and music videos from 40 countries, along with signature programs such as the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film Nights at The GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE, Master Classes, LA Muse and more.

As previously announced, filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko will serve as Guest Director, and Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker will receive the Spirit of Independence Award. A conversation with them will be followed by a screening of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Also announced earlier: the Master Class with Academy Award®-winning musician/producer/composer Atticus Ross (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network);Funny Talk, A Conversation with Key and Peele; and the Festival’s annual celebration of women’s achievements in film, Women Who Call the Shots: A Celebration of Women Directors and Showrunners, featuring Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball). The Festival has also partnered with Funny Or Die to launch Make ’em LAFF, an internet talent search to discover content creators of color and underrepresented voices who specialize in comedy. Opening the Festival will be the North American premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer.“Los Angeles has nurtured the collective hopes and dreams of generations,” said Stephanie Allain, Festival Director. “This year in honor of our 20th anniversary, we’re putting the spotlight on films, conversations and performances inspired by the spirit of L.A. Many events are One Night Only so come out and celebrate!”

The Festival concludes with the Premiere of Warner Bros Pictures’ Jersey Boys. The film is the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys” and tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. The story of their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You” and many more. Warner Bros. will release the film on June 20.

“We’ve got an amazing line-up for our 20th anniversary: starting with a bang with Bong and ending with a musical celebration from Clint Eastwood,” said David Ansen, Artistic Director of the Festival. “It’s exciting to see Eastwood still tackling new forms. His deft, rousing translation of ‘Jersey Boys’ from stage to screen is further confirmation of his amazing, ageless talent.”

Ansen adds, “This is truly a festival for new discoveries—35 Premieres (23 of them World Premieres) and festival gems culled from all over the world. We have more matinees this year, so you can make a whole day of it. I think we’ve put together a feast—a grand mix of comedies, dramas, documentaries, thrillers, shorts, retros and art house fare—that will appeal to movie lovers of every stripe.”

The Gala Screenings at the 2014 Festival include Ira Sachs’ Love Is Strange, which starsJohn Lithgow and Alfred Molina as longtime companions who finally get to marry, only to be separated when they’re forced out of their New York apartment in Sach’s ode to love, family ties and big city life. Also part of the Gala Screenings is Justin Simien’s Dear White People starringTyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell. When a riot breaks out over a popular African-American-themed party thrown by a white fraternity, four black students at Winchester University are provoked to take divergent actions in Simien’s breakthrough satire. Also in the Gala section is screenwriter Hossein Amini’s directing debut, The Two Faces of January, a sleek thriller set in Greece and Istanbul in 1962. Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac are three Americans abroad caught in a web of murder and deceit in this taught, stylish adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith thriller. Amini is the Oscar®-nominated screenwriter of works like Drive and The Wings of the Dove.

Another highlight from this year’s line-up is the Free Community Screenings, including this evening’s pre-festival screening of Clueless from director Amy Heckerling. Other Free Festival screenings include a Dance-A-Long screening of Luis Valdez’s La Bamba, Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker’s I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, Buster Keaton’s Cops and Sherlock Jr., and Thomas Miller’s Limited Partnership.

The Music Video section is comprised of Eclectic Mix 1 & 2 and I See Music: Exploring Beyoncé’s Visual Album, a simultaneous audio/visual experience, screening the non-linear short films that illustrate the songs on her most recent release, followed by an extended talk with the creators and directors of those videos. The Festival is also adding a brand Interactive section called Let’s Play, which features an international selection of video game playthroughs with commentary by the gamers and developers. More special screenings and programs will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year, the Festival received 5,952 submissions from filmmakers around the world, compared to 5,428 last year. The final selections represent 35 World, International, North American and US premieres. 17 of the premieres are in the Narrative and Documentary Competition sections. 9 of the World Premieres are in the inaugural LA Muse section.

Passes are currently on sale to Film Independent members and the general public. In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Festival Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 20.  Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337) or visit LAFilmFest.com.

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