Press Home / Press Releases


Contact: Melanie Bates, Film Independent
Tel: 323 556 9338 or [email protected]

Ryan Collins, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323 645 6800 or [email protected]



Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown’s United Skates Closing Night Documentary

Stephanie Beatriz, Jay Ellis, Dominique Fishback, Leonardo Nam,
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. & Millicent Simmonds honored at The New Wave

Panels with Kay Cannon, Emily V. Gordon, Nicole Holofcener,
Karyn Kusama, Joi McMillon & Kumail Nanjiani

Retrospectives, Blockchain Panels and More!

LOS ANGELES (September 13, 2018) — Today the LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced a 20th Anniversary screening of François Girard’s The Red Violin with a special performance by Joshua Bell; a new conversation series Unscripted with…Hilary Swank; Closing Night Documentary Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown’s United Skates; the Member Screening of Hannah Fidell’s The Long Dumb Road starring Tony Revolori (Spider-man: Homecoming) and Jason Mantzoukas (The League); additional panelists added for We the People Inclusion Summit include Kay Cannon (Blockers), Emily V. Gordon (The Big Sick), Joi McMillon (If Beale Street Could Talk), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) and more; Coffee Talks panelists Nicole Holofcener (Lovely & Amazing), Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) and Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice); The New Wave Brunch at the LA Film Festival honoring actors Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine Nine), Jay Ellis (Insecure), Dominique Fishback (The Hate U Give), Leonardo Nam (Westworld), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Bumblebee) and Millicent Simmonds (A Quiet Place); retrospective screenings of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Sing-Along, a 20th anniversary screening of Tamra Davis’ Half Baked, a 4k restoration screening of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, a 30th anniversary screening of Donald Petrie’s Mystic Pizza; Hulu’s The First starring Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone and Netflix’s Wanderlust starring Toni Collette; a free community screening of A.R.T.S. (African Refugees Telling Stories) Renga For The West followed by a musical performance; and free blockchain panels.

“We are thrilled by the rich array of conversations, performances, and points of view represented across all programs selected for our 2018 LA Film Festival,” said Jennifer Cochis, LA Film Festival Director. “From our series and retrospectives to our free inclusion summit We the People, the Festival is deeply honored to present these screenings and conversations with many of the greatest creative forces working today.”


20th Anniversary Screening of The Red Violin with special performance by Joshua Bell

Wednesday, September 26, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The Red Violin, dir. François Girard, 20th Anniversary Screening, special performance & conversation with Joshua Bell

When an infamous instrument nicknamed “The Red Violin” appears in a modern auction house, an appraiser discovers its mysterious and dark history spanning four hundred years and five countries. Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, the original soloist in the film’s soundtrack, will join us for a special performance and panel discussion with Elvis Mitchell and special guests following the film. Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era, with a career spanning over thirty years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, conductor and director.


Unscripted with… Hilary Swank

Saturday, September 22, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Hilary Swank has had a remarkable career over the past 25 years, appearing in films by Kimberly Peirce, Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan, Mira Nair, and Clint Eastwood. Most recently she stars in Elizabeth Chomko’s What They Had. Swank has won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Critics Choice Awards, a Film Independent Spirit Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Her emergence as a producer and sought-after collaborator have put her in a class all her own. We are thrilled to have Hilary Swank join us for what will undoubtedly be an engaging onstage conversation about her extraordinary body of work.


Closing Night Documentary Film (1)

Friday, September 28, ArcLight Culver City

United Skates, Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown, USA, LA Premiere

When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture–one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.


Film Independent Members-Only Screening (1)

To become a Film Independent Member visit

Wednesday, September 26, ArcLight Culver City

The Long Dumb Road, dir. Hannah Fidell, USA, LA Premiere

Two very different men, at personal crossroads, meet serendipitously and take an unpredictable journey through the American Southwest. Starring Tony Revolori and Jason Mantzoukas.


We the People Inclusion Summit (Additional Panelists)

Saturday & Sunday, September 22-23, Writers Guild Theatre

We the People will feature free panel discussions and keynote conversations addressing issues like representation in writers’ rooms, below the line crew, and entertainment critics; the largely unseen community of people with disabilities in filmmaking; the intersection of art and social activism; the sheer good business of films made for diverse audiences; and seeking solutions beyond industry diversity programs.

Additional panelists include Gloria Calderón Kellett (One Day at a Time), Rafael Casal (Blindspotting), Kay Cannon (director, Blockers), Congyu E (co-producer, Searching), Kumail Nanjiani (writer, The Big Sick), Emily V. Gordon (writer, The Big Sick), Holly Gordon (Chief Impact Officer, Participant Media), Jeanne Mau (VP, Entertainment Diversity, CBS Entertainment), Joi McMillon (editor, If Beale Street Could Talk), LaToya Morgan (Inclusion Initiative, AMC), Jamil Smith (political journalist, Rolling Stone) and more.


Coffee Talks

Saturday, September 22, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Coffee Talks feature some of today’s most fascinating directors and writers, in fun and unpredictable conversation with their peers and are sponsored by the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America West.

Panelists include: Nicole Holofcener (The Land of Steady Habits, Enough Said, Karyn Kusama (Destroyer, Girlfight), Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians, Lethal Weapon) and Wash Westmoreland (Colette, Still Alice) and more to be announced.


The New Wave

Sunday, September 23, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine Nine), Jay Ellis (Insecure), Dominique Fishback (The Hate U Give), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Bumblebee), Leonardo Nam (Westworld) and Millicent Simmonds (A Quiet Place) will be honored at the inaugural New Wave brunch at the LA Film Festival. The New Wave highlights a diverse group of talented actors, selected by Film Independent and SAGindie, who continue to deliver breakout performances and deserve industry recognition. The New Wave is a partnership between Film Independent, SAGindie and SAG-AFTRA, with additional support from Easterseals.


Additional Retrospectives (4)

Rediscover classic, cult and beloved films on the big screen, often celebrating anniversaries or restored versions. 

Friday, September 21, ArcLight Hollywood

Half Baked, dir. Tamra Davis, USA, 20th Anniversary

The story of three not so bright men who come up with a series of crazy schemes to get a friend out of jail.


Sunday September 23, ArcLight Culver City

The Little Mermaid Sing-Along, dir. Ron Clements, John Musker, USA

A mermaid princess makes a Faustian bargain with an unscrupulous sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on land.


Sunday, September 23, ArcLight Culver City

Mystic Pizza, dir. Donald Petrie, USA, 30th Anniversary 

Three teenage girls come of age while working at a pizza parlor in the Connecticut town of Mystic.


Monday, September 24, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The Dark Crystal,dir. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, USA, 4K Restoration 

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.


Additional Series (2)

Saturday, September 22,Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Wanderlust, dir. Luke Snellin, US Premiere

Wanderlust looks at how we build and maintain happy relationships and asks whether lifelong monogamy is possible – or even desirable. Toni Collette plays Joy Richards, a therapist trying to find a way to keep her spark alive with her husband after a cycling accident causes them to reassess their relationship. As we meet her family, friends, neighbours and clients, remarkable yet relatable stories of love, lust and forbidden desire emerge. Wanderlust launches on Netflix on October 19.


Tuesday, September 25, Writers Guild Theatre

The First, dir. Agnieszka Holland

Sean Penn leads an ensemble cast in Hulu’s near-future drama about a crew of astronauts attempting to become the first humans on Mars. Under the direction of visionary aerospace magnate Laz Ingram (Natascha McElhone), the crew contends with peril and personal sacrifice as they undertake the greatest pioneering feat in human history. Executive Producers include creator and showrunner Beau Willimon and Jordan Tappis for Westward Productions.


Free Screenings & Conversations (3)

Sunday, September 23, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Renga for the West, dir. A.R.T.S. (African Refugees Telling Stories), in collaboration with Bryan Bello, Ryan Seitz, Gabe Sweeney and Claire Haughey, California Premiere

If a poem were written by different poets one stanza at a time, it would be called a Renga, a form of Japanese poetry pre-dating the haiku. Renga for the West is a documentary-renga about residing in Missoula, Montana with each stanza made by a different refugee resident, some from Tanzania, others from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as they encounter the American dream for the first time. Presented in association with KCRW’s The Document, with a panel hosted by Matt Holzman. Renga for the West is supported by Tribeca Film Institute’s IF/Then Shorts initiative.


Sunday, September 23, ArcLight Hollywood

Pow Wow and the Human Face of Blockchain: Sponsored by TREETI

Blockchain is so much more than secure transactions. Used creatively, it can boost the discoverability of content, energize direct-to-consumer marketing and power human connections on a global scale. Join Film Independent and TREETI for an enhanced screening of producer Victoria Nevinny’s documentary Pow Wow — followed by a freewheeling exploration of blockchain’s potential to restore the value of content and connect filmmakers directly to an engaged audience. This event is free to attend.


Sunday, September 23, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Blockchain 101: Presented by SingularDTV

SingularDTV, a blockchain entertainment studio, will join Film Independent to answer all your blockchain questions and lay the foundation for its use in a decentralized entertainment industry. Panelists include Jake Craven, Director of Content Partnerships, SingularDTV, among others. This event is free to attend.


Passes are on sale now; only Film Independent Members get early access and save up to 25%. General admission tickets are also on sale now to the general public. Contact the Festival Box Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337) or visit

Venues for the 2018 Festival include the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City, Hollywood and Santa Monica, as well as the new LMU Playa Vista Campus (opening this fall), the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Writers Guild Theater and the Ford Theatres.



Press materials can be found at


Online & Social Media

Facebook: | Twitter: @LAFilmFestival | Official event hashtag: #LAFilmFestival



The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent. Showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, the Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. Presenting Media Sponsor is Los Angeles Times. Official Host Venue is ArcLight Cinemas. Platinum Sponsors are American Airlines, EFILM | Deluxe, HBO and TikTok. The University Sponsor is Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Official Screening Partner is Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Festival Supporters are Directors Guild of America, eTech Rentals, Kona Productions, TREETI and Visit Seattle. Festival Affiliates are 21st Century Fox Global Inclusion, ATK Audiotek, Konsonant Music, SAGindie and Writers Guild of America West. Additional support provided by National Endowment for the Arts. Stella Artois is the Official Beer. IMDbPro is the Official Industry Resource. CITI is the Official Credit Card. The LINE, NoMad Los Angeles and Freehand LA are the Official Hotel Partner. Essentia Water is the Official Water. Hillersden Estate Wines is the Official Wine. Getty Images is the Official Photographer.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Albina Oks, Director of Corporate Sponsorship, at [email protected] or 323.556.9352.