To Live and Write in LA

Archive for Film Festival

Family Film Festival: More Than Just Movies

Unlike most film festivals which are mostly adult affairs, IFFF devotes an entire day and an awards ceremony to young filmmakers.

IFFF: ‘Hot Bath, Stiff Drink, and a Close Shave’

‘Hot Bath, Stiff Drink an’ a Close Shave’ won the Finalist Award for drama at the International Family Film Festival (IFFF). Patterson and Gratzner make westerns fun and exciting again. John Wayne would be proud.

IFFF: Dark, Hopeful Short Films

This collection of short films shown at the International Family Film Festival was on the dark side, but each shed light on why filmmakers create shorts.

IFFF: James Caan as ‘Undercover Grandpa’ Gets Help from Paul Sorvino and Louis Gosset Jr

Is your grandpa really who you think he is? (Are you reading this, grandkids?) Or, like Jake’s grandpa played by James Caan in ‘Undercover Grandpa,’ does he have a secret identity? Jake’s fun and dramatic discoveries about his grandpa helped Undercover Grandpa win the Best Feature Foreign Comedy accolade at the International Family Film Festival.

IFFF: Not Just ‘Another Day in Paradise’ for Jeffery Patterson and Frankie Muniz

‘Another Day in Paradise’ takes us into the world of a recent widower who is trying to reinvent his life

IFFF: ‘Ridge Runners’ – Sex Trafficking in a Small Town

There are many more talented actors, writers and directors than Hollywood has room for. Ridge Runners is proof of that. The first feature film for screenwriter Austin Lott and director Hunter West is an indie crime drama which is a standout on multiple levels.

Anthem Film Festival: Three Short Film Jewels About Dreams, Trauma, and Mules

(First published on blogcritics.org) Three short films at the Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest, billed as the world’s largest gathering of free minds, July 13-16, in Las Vegas, deserve special mention. All less than fifteen minutes long, they each shed light on what it means to be an individual and how we experience the […]

Anthem Film Festival: Police are Coming to Take Your Stuff and Kill You Dog

‘Seized’, winner of Anthem’s Best Short Documentary award, explores a police practice called civil asset forfeiture. ‘Of Dogs and Men’, winner of Best Libertarian Documentary Feature tries to explain why 10,000 pet dogs are killed by police every year.

Anthem Film Festival: ‘Deep Web’ Explores Silk Road, Looking for the Dread Pirate Roberts

Ross Ulbricht received two consecutive life sentences plus 40 years. He must have done something terrible, right? The film Deep Web, which explores his crime, capture and prosecution screened at the libertarian themed Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest, July 13-16 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

Anthem Film Festival: Slavery Is Alive and Well and May Be Living Down Your Street

Slavery has become more subtle and is not just something that happens far away in third world countries. This was the message of The Return, a film by director Matthew Szewczyk and producer Chelsea Fenton, which won the “Best Libertarian Ideals, Short Narrative” award at the Anthem Film Festival.

Anthem Film Festival: Laughing Though the Pain

Lord Byron said, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” If that’s true, then attendees of the Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest, July 13-16 at Planet Hollywood, left Las Vegas well medicated.

Anthem Film Festival: Lenny Bruce, Gilbert Gottfried, and Penn Jillette vs. The Outrage Mob

In the 1960s, cops arrested Lenny Bruce for word crimes, but today the policed have become the police.

Anthem Film Festival: Do Right-Wingers Have a Sense of Humor?

Do right-wingers (meaning conservatives, libertarians and anyone who would not be caught dead wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt) have a sense of humor? You might not think so, if your main sources of news have been John Stewart and Lena Dunham piped into your safe space on a politically correct campus. I have, however, seen right-wing humor in the wild, often at previous iterations of the Anthem Film Festival, and I have laughed and survived.

Interview: ‘Quirky Female Protagonist’ Creator Shares Her Secrets [Embarrassed Giggle]

I caught up with the creator of web series “Quirky Female Protagonist” at this year’s LA Film Festival. She shared her secrets with me.

‘Wolf Mother’ and ‘I Live For You’

There seems to be a new meme in indie film: scary ladies. “Danger: Crazy Lady Ahead” award goes to a pair of films shown at the Dances With Films Festival.

‘Don’t Think Twice’ with Keegan-Michael Key – Success Can Be Both Funny and Sad – But Mostly Funny

The new dramedy “Don’t Think Twice” begins as if it’s a documentary on how to do improv. Then the members of the fictional improv group, The Commune, violate all the rules in their improv dire results, in their personal lives.

Interview: ‘Creedmoria’ Director Alicia Slimmer Admits Coming-of-Age Flick is All About Her

‘Creedmoria’, a film by first-time writer/director Alicia Slimmer, made its SoCal premier at the Dances With Films Festival. It chronicles the efforts of sweet-sixteen Candy Cahill, played by Stef Dawson, to come of age in one of the most dysfunctional families in movie history. As I watched the film, I hoped, for Slimmer’s sake, that this movie wasn’t too autobiographical. It turns out that it was.

Interview: ‘Virtual Revolution’ Writer/Director Guy-Roger Duvert Spills Real and VR Blood in His First Feature

‘Before the shooting, people were asking me all the time in which studio I would be filming, assuming that most of the film would be shot in front of green screens. The reality is very different. Out of the 30 days of shooting, we shot only one day in a green screen studio.

‘Opening Night’ – A Screenwriting School in Ninety Minutes

The LA Film Festival ‘Opening Night’ world premiere was Screenwriting 101 in 90 minutes. Filmmakers did everything right in this film, which stars Topher Grace as a failed Broadway star.

‘Girl Flu’ – A Movie About Firsts that Gives New Meaning to the Phrase ‘Period Piece’

In Hollywood parlance, a “period piece” is a script or film that takes place in the past. ‘Girl Flu’, a film written and directed by Dorie Barton, gave a new meaning to that phrase. It’s a film about firsts. Without a doubt, it is the only film you’ll ever call charming, funny and heartwarming that has menstruation as its focus.

An exploration of film and filmmaking