Do not confuse the Los Angeles Film Festival with the plethora of other film festivals in the city. I would list them all for reference but I have better things to do with my time. The “LA Film Fest” wrapped up this past weekend (June 16-26) and it was my first time in attendance.

In a city like LA, with the abundance of film festivals and savvy audiences made up of filmmakers, festivals tend to go one of two ways; they are either populated by pretentious Hollywood douchebags, or they are struggling to survive selling tickets only to the families of the filmmakers. I shamefully admit I expected the first of the two options, but The LA Film Festival was neither pretentious nor struggling.

I attended the opening night filmmaker and press party where I ran into old friends, met knew ones, and was happy to discuss the state of Indie films with a group from Austin, TX. (Who isn’t a filmmaker or musician from Austin nowadays?) I immediately discovered that this festival is a unique gem in the city.

With a large catalogue of films playing at the festival, I unfortunately did not see many because I got hit with an unexpected cold. However I did spend a night seeing Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, from Brazilian director Jose Padilha, and L!fe Happens from director Kat Coiro. Both films were entertaining and worth seeing, and I hope they’re successful in their post-festival lives.

The LA Film Festival is exactly what you want from a festival with plenty of parties to keep you mingling with people throughout, provides the resources for unknown movies to get publicity, and the selection of films is top-notch. If you’re an independent filmmaker deciding on where to submit your movie, the LA Film Festival is a prime destination.

Check out my reviews for the films below…

The Enemy Within:

L!fe Happens:

Written by Guest Writer and Filmmaker Michael May