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Downtown Independent is L.A.'s Indie Film Fest Hub

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Friday, January 14, 2011, at 10:48AM
Mikey Wally

While it may seem like the New Media Film Festival, the Bicycle Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the L.A. Comedy Shorts Festival, and the Latino Student Film Festival have nothing in common, think again. All of these and many more have found their home at the Downtown Independent, making the theater L.A.'s hub for small-scale film fests. But why?

Opened in 2008 after the closure of the overly ambitious "The ImaginAsian Center," The Downtown Independent has finally found its niche. Offering a view of Downtown, a full bar, and ample stadium seating makes the theater a dream come true for festival organizers who are looking to impress their audiences.

Downtown's revitalization combined with the support from local businesses and Downtown residents makes it a great location for festivals like The L.A. Music Video Festival and the premiere event for up and coming production company Movie Magic Media.

"Downtown has everything for a company like mine who is just starting to get their name out there," said Movie Magic Media's (MMM) Head of Production Mark Cramer. "I’ve been in the theater before and what they align themselves with is how I align my company."

MMM, a Culver City-based independent production company, focuses on everything from development to final delivery of a wide array of new media.

"We are new to the Downtown scene," Cramer said. Why would Cramer chose Downtown over L.A.'s numerous theaters? "Downtown is new and fresh. You feel like a pioneer here."

Director of the L.A. Music Video Festival (LAMVF) Sami Kriegstein is new to the festival scene and was inspired to start her first annual music video festival when she saw no creative outlet for aspiring music video creators. "There is no great way to really appreciate them," Kriegstien said.

Not only does Downtown offer one of L.A.'s best theaters, but here "Everyone is looking out for everyone else," Cramer stated.

While studying at USC, Kriegstien became "enamored by the revitalization effort." After organizing several smaller film festivals at the Independent, she was ensured that the Independent was the right location for LAMVF. "They are really genuine with their time and expertise, and now going into the festival I feel super confident."

The support that Cramer garnered from local businesses and from employees at the Independent has affected his future plans for his company. "We are vying to open up shop Downtown," Cramer said.

Check out MMM's blog to learn more about its premiere screening of its first feature film "Opus" on January 17th.

LAMVF will take place on Sunday, January 23rd and will feature several panels as well as a music video screening.

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