© Edward Ruscha

Festival History

Festival Timeline and Milestones

The Los Angeles Film Festival began as the Los Angeles International Film Festival [LAIFF] in 1995. The first LAIFF took place over the course of five days in a single location: the historic Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA. In 1996, the LAIFF expanded to include the Directors Guild of America. The LAIFF ran for 7 years, until it was absorbed by Film Independent (formerly IFP/West) in 2001. At it’s height, the LAIFF attracted 19,000 attendees. Today the Los Angeles Film Festival attracts as many as 92,000 visitors.

In 2006, the Festival moved to Westwood Village. The transition from Hollywood to Westwood was met with great success, with an audience increase of more than 20,000 attendees from 2005. Strategic partners involved in the transition to Westwood included the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Mann Theatres, Landmark Theatres, the Majestic Crest Theatre, the Geffen Playhouse and the Hammer Museum.

In 2010, the Festival joined the independent arts community in downtown Los Angeles, and screened in multiple venues that included Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14, The Orpheum Theatre, REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater), GRAMMY Museum, Downtown Independent, Nokia Plaza & Nokia Theatre, California Plaza, 7+Fig at Ernst & Young Plaza and the outdoor John Anson Ford.

With each year, the Los Angeles Film Festival continues to grow in leaps and bounds, both in film submissions and attendance, as well as the caliber of work the Festival screens: the number of films submitted to the Festival increased from 350 submissions in 1995 to more than 5,200 in 2012. The number of premieres each year has also risen at a steady rate, from 9 in 1995 to 31 World, North American and U.S. Premieres in 2012. Over the past 18 years, the Festival has grown from being held in 1 theater with 5,700 attendees to include a sprawling list of event venues that attract as many as 92,000 attendees.


Festival Acquisitions

Recent films, which were acquired for theatrical distribution out of the 2010 Festival, include Mark Landsman’s “Thunder Soul” (Roadside Attractions), Aaron Schock’s “Circo” (First Run Features), J. Clay Tweel’s “Make Believe” (Showtime), and Lisa Leeman’s “One Lucky Elephant” (OWN).  Acquisitions from the 2009 Festival include AJ Schnack’s “Convention” (Sundance Selects), Jason Bushman’s “Hollywood, Je t’aime” (Wolfe Video), with 2008 Festival acquisitions including Darius Marder’s “Loot” (HBO), Morgan Dews’ “Must Read After My Death” (Gigantic Releasing), Mark Mann’s “Finishing Heaven” (HBO), and Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker’s “Pressure Cooker” (BEV Pictures).

Previous acquisitions include “Kabluey” (Regent Releasing), “Severed Ways” (Magnet Releasing), “What We Do Is Secret” (Vitagraph Films), “Constantine’s Sword” (First Run Features), “Resolved” (HBO), “Young @ Heart” (Fox Searchlight), “August Evening” (Maya Releasing), “Deliver Us From Evil” (Lionsgate Films), “Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror” (Xenon Pictures), “Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple” (Seventh Art Releasing), “The Foot Fist Way” (Paramount Vantage), “Rock School” (Newmarket Films), “Mayor of the Sunset Strip” (First Look Media/Lakeshore Entertainment), and “Kissing Jessica Stein” (Fox Searchlight).


Guest Directors Through the Years

Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”)

Alfonso Cuaron (“Children of Men,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien”)

Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”)

Chen Kaige (“Farewell My Concubine”)

Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “Vanity Fair”)

Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa,” “Tootsie”)

George Lucas (“Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones”)

Melvin Van Peebles (“Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” “Panther”)


Notable Speakers and Panelists Through the Years

Ben Affleck (“The Town,” “Gone Baby Gone”)

Roger Corman (“Little Shop of Horrors,” “Death Race”)

Jonathan Gold (Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic for LA Weekly)

Quincy Jones (Legendary and award-winning music impresario)

John Lithgow (“The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai,” “Twilight Zone: The Movie”)

Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight”)

Paul Reubens aka Pee-wee (“The Pee-wee Herman Show,” “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”)

Sylvester Stallone (“The Expendables”)

Edgar Wright (“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” “Hot Fuzz”)

Khaled Hosseini (author “The Kite Runner,” “A Thousand Splendid Suns”)

Thom Mayne (Pritzker Prize-winning architect)

Allison Anders (“Things Behind The Sun,” “Gas Food and Lodging”)

Philip Baker Hall (“The Insider,”  “Magnolia”)

Tom Cruise (“Collateral,” “Jerry Maguire”)

Ileana Douglas (“Ghost World,” “Goodfellas”)

Diane English (“The Women,” “Murphy Brown”)

Jodie Foster (“The Brave One,” “Silence of the Lambs”)

William Friedkin (“Rules of Engagement,” “The Exorcist”)

Janeane Garofalo (“Ratatouille,” “Dogma”)

Daryl Hannah (“Kill Bill,” “Splash”)

Agnieszka Holland (“Washington Square,” “Europa, Europa”)

Holly Hunter (“Thirteen,” “Home for the Holidays”)

Lawrence Kasdan (“Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones”)

Neil LaBute (“Nurse Betty,” “In The Company of Men”)

Kasi Lemmons (“The Silence of the Lambs”)

Richard Linklater (“Before Sunrise,” “A Scanner Darkly”

Michael Mann (“Collateral,” “The Aviator”)

Cheech Marin (“Grindhouse,” “Up in Smoke”)

Michael Moore (“Sicko,” “Farenheit 9/11”)

Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “Vanity Fair”)

Sidney Poitier (“Brother John,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”)

Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa,” “Tootsie”)

Bob Rafelson (“Five Easy Pieces”)

Rob Reiner (“The American President,” “A Few Good Men”)

Mark Ruffalo (“Collateral,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)

Bryan Singer (“X-Men,” “The Usual Suspects”)

Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s Eleven,” “Erin Brockovich”)


Notable Screenings and Debuts Through the Years

“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” directed by David Slade

“Despicable Me,” directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud

“Public Enemies,” directed by Michael Mann

“Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen,” directed by Michael Bay

“Ponyo,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki

“Wanted,” directed by Timur Bekmambetov

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” directed by Guillermo Del Toro

“Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” directed by Sacha Gervasi.

“Transformers,” directed by Michael Bay

“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim

“The Clearing,” directed by Pieter Jan Brugge

“The Cooler,” directed by Wayne Kramer

“Deadman,” directed by Jim Jarmusch

“The Devil Wears Prada,” directed by David Frankel

“Fahrenheit 9/11,” directed by Michael Moore

“Garden State,” directed by Zach Braff

“Little Miss Sunshine,” directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

“Monster House,” directed by Gil Kenan

“Sidewalks of New York,” directed by Ed Burns

“Things Behind the Sun,” directed by Allison Anders

“With A Friend Like Harry,” directed by Dominik Moll