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The LA Film Festival is an annual film festival held in September in Culver City, California. It showcases independent, international, feature, documentary and short films. Since 2001 it is run by the organization Film Independent, which also has been arranging the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica since 1985.

LA Film Festival
Location Los Angeles, California
Founded 1995
Hosted by Film Independent
Festival date September 20–28, 2018
Language International

The festival began as the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (LAIFF) in 1995. The LAIFF ran for six years, until it was absorbed into Film Independent in 2001. At its height, the LAIFF attracted 19,000 attendees. Today, the LA Film Festival attracts more than 36,000 visitors.


Event featuresEdit

With an attendance of more than 36,000 people,[1] it screens more than 100 feature films. The event also includes world premieres of films such as Disney/Pixar's Brave,[2] and a variety of panels, seminars, and free outdoor screenings.

The Festival features signature programs including the exclusive Filmmaker Retreat, hosted by a veteran film director. In 2010, the Filmmaker Retreat was hosted by Kathryn Bigelow. In 2011, it was hosted by George Lucas at his Skywalker Ranch.

In addition to feature films, it also screens short films created by high school students.

Films submitted to the Festival are reviewed by Film Independent's programming department, which evaluates each film, looking for the best in new American and international cinema.

In 2011, the Festival showed over 200 films, music videos and shorts from over 30 countries.[3]

Awards presentedEdit

Awards are given out in the following categories at the conclusion of the Festival:

  • US Fiction
  • Documentary
  • World Fiction
  • Nightfall
  • Short Fiction
  • Short Documentary
  • Audience Award for Best Fiction Film
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary Film
  • Audience Award for Best Episodic Story
  • Audience Award for Best Short Film


After the film festival Filmex, which ran from 1971 to 1983, there was no film festival in Los Angeles until 1995, when the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (LAIFF) was started. The first LAIFF took place over the course of five days in a single location: the historic Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.

In 1996, the LAIFF expanded to include the Directors Guild of America Building in Hollywood.

In 2001, the Festival became part of the organization Film Independent (formerly IFP/West).

In 2006, the Los Angeles Times became the Festival's main sponsor.

In 2010 the Festival was moved to the Regal Cinemas at the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles, with additional screenings at several other downtown venues including the Downtown Independent, Orpheum Theatre and the REDCAT Theatre (below the Walt Disney Concert Hall). The Festival also has a long tradition of screenings at the open-air John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Free screenings are scheduled at California Plaza, in conjunction with Grand Performances and FIGat7th .

Today the LA Film Festival attracts over 36,000 visitors.


The LA Film Festival is a qualifying festival in all categories for Film Independent's Spirit Awards. It is also a qualifying festival for the short films categories of the Academy Awards.[4]


During the festival of 2009, festival officials were approached by Dole Food Company. Dole urged festival officials to "immediately cease and desist" their sponsorship of the documentary Bananas!*, directed by Fredrik Gertten. The festival did screen the documentary but removed it from competition in the festival. The documentary was also referred to as a case study of how truth could be twisted. Fredrik Gertten implies in his documentary Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, a movie dealing with him being sued by Dole and his experience during that time, that the Los Angeles Film Festival gave after for the fear of losing their own interests in[clarification needed] prior to protect freedom of speech.[5]


  1. ^ "LA Film Festival History". Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (18 May 2012). "Pixar's 'Brave' to play at Dolby Theatre for L.A. Film Fest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times - 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival lineup unveiled
  4. ^ "Short Films Awards Festivals List". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  5. ^ Big Boys Gone Bananas!* by Fredrik Gertten

External linksEdit