Cinephiles Can Find Their Happy Place at Debut of LA Festival of Movies

Actors Justice Smith (left) and Brigette Lundy-Paine (right) sitting on a couch in a shot from the film "I Saw the TV Glow." This film will open the LA Festival of Movies.

This year marks the debut of a new festival, the Los Angeles Festival of Movies (LAFM), co-presented by MUBI and Mezzanine. The event will run from April 4–7, 2024 and aims to “redefine Los Angeles as a destination for independent film” according to the festival’s website. 

The LAFM is being programmed by Micah Gottlieb, founder and artistic director of Mezzanine, and co-produced by Sarah Winshall, a Smudge Films producer. In a recent interview with the LA Times, Gottlieb said “Film festivals in LA are often defined in relation to the commercial film industry. We wanted to create a space for the kinds of films that either don’t usually play in LA or, if they do, they may not get the platform that they deserve.” Winshall then added, “LA is so much of a company town, but there is really an audience for movies that may not be traditionally commercial.”

The opening night film was announced on March 7 as A24’s “I Saw the TV Glow,” from filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun. Its April 4 showing will be the film’s west coast premiere held at the Vidiots Eagle Theatre. LAFM will also close at Vidiots with the world premier of Connor O’Malley and Danny Scharer’s “Rap World,” on Sunday, April 7, 2024. Of the lineup for the festival, founders Gottlieb and Winshall said, “[t]his lineup is a snapshot of the past and present landscape of independent cinema, and a group of films we feel very passionately about. We’re really proud to be presenting such a varied group of films that are all ambitious, personal and self-determined.”

All LAFM screenings will take place at three venues in Los Angeles, east of Hollywood, which were chosen specifically: Vidiots in Eagle Rock, 2220 Arts + Archives in Historic Filipinotown and Now Instant Image Hall in Chinatown. Each space includes areas for socializing as well as director speaking events to engage audiences even more with the films. All three screening sites have opened their doors within the last three years and were chosen, in part, due to their youthful energy and lack of existing ties to traditional Hollywood culture.

“There’s a whole new audience of predominantly young, really diverse groups of cinephiles who are coming out to these screenings,” said Gottlieb of the most common viewers at film venues. “So we really wanted to harness this new generation of cinephiles who are discovering old classics, but also coming out to new restorations and new independent films.” 

Perhaps the most notable depiction of their goals with LAFM, was what Winshall said to an LA Times reporter: “What we’re trying to do is treat Los Angeles like a small town in some ways, and create a festival for a small community that is really excited and passionate.”

About :

Grace E Rubin is an undergraduate alumnus of Wesleyan University and current graduate student in the Writing and Publishing Master’s program at Emerson College. She concurrently works full-time writing for a nonprofit organization. After spending six years in Washington DC, mostly working on Capitol Hill, she is thrilled to now be back in her hometown of Boston. She loves reading, politics, and her rescue pitbull, Angel.