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Downtown Film Festival Announces Line-Up

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2009, at 10:38AM
dressed to nines 2 Ed Fuentes

A pair of well-dressed movie-goers leave a showing at the Los Angeles Theatre during the 2008 Downtown Film Festival.

The Downtown Film Festival returns for its second run August 12 - 22, with a lineup long in dark themes mixed with a bit of comedy.

Along with its features and shorts, this year's festival features a free homage to Paul Newman and a line-up of music documentaries that will culminate with "Jackson 5 in Africa," filmed in Senegal in 1974.

The Opening Night Gala at AT&T Center will screen "Reach For Me" (2009) on Friday, August 14. Directed by LeVar Burton, the story is of a man confined to a hospice who finds love in what may be his last days. It stars Seymour Cassel, Johnny Whitworth, Lacey Chabert, Adrienne Barbeau and Alfre Woodard.

This is the Los Angeles premiere for the Burton-directed film, and Cassel will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Downtown Film Festival.

The 500-seat theater at AT&T Center will be the main venue for the festival's featured films, which include "My Suicide," a 2008 film about a student filmmaker who announces the documentation of his own death is his new school project. As with many indies, it took a few years of filming and post production before being completed, and the picture happens to be one of actor David Carradine's last filmed performances.

Other featured films include "The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle" (2009), a dark comedy that tells the story of a recently unemployed twenty-something forced to take a job as a janitor at a marketing research firm. He unknowingly becomes a guinea pig testing “self-warming” cookies that carry side effects. "In The Drink" (2009) is about a hipster who walks into a dive only to find he represents the invasion of gentrification, a violation of the old watering hole / dive and finds resistance from the bartender and a long-time customer.

Also featured are varied collective screenings of short films, including the themed Environmental Shorts, Latin-American Shorts, Young Filmmakers, and Digital Arts.

The GRAMMY Museum will host a music series, with documentaries including 2000's "My Generation," 2009's "In Search of Beethoven," and 2008's "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison" The Downtown Independent Theater, formerly the ImaginAsian Center, will host two nights with "special events."

In addition, arts>Brookfield Properties will host a free double feature Paul Newman tribute with a screening of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and "HUD" (1963) at 7+Fig on August 13; The Rowan Gallery will host experimental videos August 13 - 16 from Noon to 5pm; August 20th is the day for 'SUSTAINABLE L.A." The All-Day 'Green' event is part product expo, and mini green film festival.

The Closing Night Gala will be held at the Los Angeles Theatre on August 22 and showcases the West Coast premiere of "Jackson 5 in Africa," a 50 minute documentary about the pop group's first tour of Africa. Filmed in Senegal in 1974, it managed to stay stored away until recently. Fascinatingly, in 1982 an unfinished version of the film was exchanged for a rough diamond. "Jackson 5 in Africa" was recently premiered at Harlem’s National Black Theater.

Downtown Film Festival / August 12 - 22, 2009


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