Contact: Alia Quart Khan, Film Independent
Tel: 310.432.1287 or

Gina Lang, Ginsberg/Libby
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LOS ANGELES (July 10, 2014) – Film Independent today announced a restructuring of its programming team with the mutually agreed-upon departure of David Ansen from his role as Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival and Elvis Mitchell assuming the newly created year-round position of Film Independent Curator. In creating this new position, Film Independent has expanded Mitchell’s responsibilities and united all of its exhibition programs – the Los Angeles Film Festival, Film Independent at LACMA, and all other programming initiatives – under his leadership.

“I am thrilled to announce Elvis Mitchell as our new Film Independent Curator,” said Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent. “For the last three years, Elvis has done a phenomenal job programming the Film Independent series at LACMA, and we’re excited that he will now oversee the Festival’s programming as well. I would also like to acknowledge the enormous contribution of David Ansen who, as the Festival’s Artistic Director for the past five years, brought so many incredible films and filmmakers to Los Angeles – new films by such filmmakers as Pedro Almodóvar, Nicholas Winding Refn, Richard Linklater, Costa-Gavras, Woody Allen, Lisa Cholodenko and Bong Joon-Ho, to name but a few. He leaves an indelible mark on this Festival, and a legacy of excellent programming that we will work to uphold.”

“I’m grateful to David for bringing his critical eye and international taste,” said Los Angeles Film Festival Director Stephanie Allain. “Unifying the Festival and our year-round programming under Elvis’ remarkable vision will facilitate Film Independent’s mission to support a community of diverse, innovative and unique-minded artists. I can’t wait to deepen our collaboration and am excited about the future of the Festival.”

In announcing his departure, David Ansen said, “These five years as Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival have given me great joy, and I’m very proud of the way the Festival has grown since our move downtown.  Working alongside my sterling programming team, led by the incomparable Doug Jones and Maggie Mackay, and getting the chance to bring so many terrific movies and filmmakers to the Los Angeles audience has made this a dream job.   Now it’s time to turn over the reins to make way for a new vision of the Festival’s future, and I look forward to getting back to writing and pursuing new prospects.  I want to thank Film Independent and its great team for giving me this wonderful experience.”

“I’ve been cheered by the reaction to what I’ve done with Film Independent at LACMA, and the organizational support I’ve received in pursuing it, “ said Elvis Mitchell about his appointment. “I’m honored to be asked by Stephanie Allain – whom I’ve long admired – to add to the scope of my programming purview at Film Independent. I salute David Ansen for his work with the Festival, and look forward to continuing to follow his example.”

David Ansen joined the Los Angeles Film Festival as Artistic Director in 2010. He was Newsweek‘s movie critic from 1977 through 2008. He’s written several documentaries for television, on Greta Garbo (for TNT), Groucho Marx (HBO), Elizabeth Taylor (PBS) and the Ace Award-winning All About Bette (Bette Davis) for TNT. He served on the selection committee of the New York Film Festival from 1990 to 1998, and has served on film festival juries around the world.

Ansen is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and is a three-time winner of the Page One Award from the Newspaper Guild of New York. He’s written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Film Comment, Interview, Cineaste and other publications.

For the last three years, Film Independent’s Elvis Mitchell has reinvigorated the film program at LACMA, which includes the Jason Reitman Live Read series. Mitchell also hosts “The Treatment,” with its inside look at the creators of popular culture, which he has been doing since KCRW first aired the program in April of 1996.  Mitchell served as the film critic at the New York Times from January 2000 until May of 2005.  In October 2002, he gave the prestigious Alain Locke lectures on African American culture at Harvard University, and subsequently, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard in Visual and Environmental Studies, and in African American Studies.

The former entertainment critic for NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” Mitchell has also been film critic at the Fort Worth Star Telegram, where he received the 1999 AASFE award for criticism, the LA Weekly and the Detroit Free Press. He has been editor-at-large at Spin magazine and is special correspondent for Interview magazine. He also hosts the TCM interview program “Under the Influence.”

A WGA Award nominee for his work on “The AFI Lifetime Achievement Award: Sidney Poitier,” he produced and co-created the NAACP Image Award winning The Black List, Volume One a documentary focusing on achievement in the African American community that HBO acquired and ran after the film’s debut at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival (where Mitchell has twice served on the Dramatic Competition Jury). Black List Volume Two was carried by HBO in February 2009, and the final installment had its premiere February 2010.


Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover. Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit