LA Film Festival

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Culver City ArcLight - LA Film Festival.jpg
LA Film Festival
Location Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Hosted byFilm Independent
Festival dateDiscontinued

The LA Film Festival was an annual film festival held in September in Los Angeles, California. It showcased independent, international, feature, documentary and short films, as well as web series, music videos, episodic television and panel conversations.


Since 2001, it had been run by the nonprofit Film Independent, which since 1985 has also produced the annual Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. The festival began as the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival in 1995. The LAIFF ran for six years until it was absorbed into Film Independent in 2001.

Event features

Over the course of nine days each edition, the festival screened nearly 200 features, shorts, and episodes. The event also included world premieres of films, a variety of panels, seminars, and free screenings.

It also screened short films created by high school students as a part of the Future Filmmakers program. Films submitted to the Festival were reviewed by Film Independent's programming department, which evaluated each film, looking for the best in new American and international cinema.

Notable screenings and debuts

Guest directors

2001 Ang Lee
2002 Alfonso Cuaron
2003 Chen Kaige
2004 Mira Nair
2005 Sydney Pollack
2006 George Lucas
2007 Curtis Hanson
2008 Melvin Van Peebles
2010 Kathryn Bigelow
2011 Guillermo del Toro
2012 William Friedkin
2013 David O. Russell
2014 Lisa Cholodenko
2015 Rodrigo Garcia
2016 Ryan Coogler
2017 Miguel Arteta

Artists in residence

2003 Kasi Lemmons
2004 Neil Young
2005 The RZA
2007 Pharrell Williams
2009 Thom Mayne
2009 Khaled Hosseini
2010 Quincy Jones
2010 Jonathan Gold
2010 Paul Reubens
2012 Danny Elfman
2012 Michael Voltaggio
2012 Raphael Saadiq

Spirit of Independence Award Recipients

2005 George Clooney
2006 Charlize Theron
2007 Clint Eastwood
2008 Don Cheadle
2013David O. Russell
2014 Michael Barker
2014 Tom Bernard
2015 Lily Tomlin
2016 Ava DuVernay
2017 Miguel Arteta

Awards presented

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


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 media sponsor.

In 2010, the festival 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, the Orpheum Theatre, and the REDCAT Theatre. The Festival also has a long tradition of screenings at the open-air John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Free screenings were scheduled at California Plaza, in conjunction with Grand Performances and FIGat7th.

In 2016, the LA Film Festival moved to ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City & Hollywood, California. And expanded in 2017 to ArcLight Cinemas in Santa Monica. In 2018, the LA Film Festival further expanded and added the WGA Theater as a venue. It also partnered with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts to screen films there.


The LA Film Festival was a qualifying festival in all categories for Film Independent's Spirit Awards. It was also a qualifying festival for the short films categories of the Academy Awards. [2]

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  1. "Festival History | Los Angeles Film Festival 2012". 2012-06-21. Archived from the original on 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  2. "Short Films Awards Festivals List". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2009-08-12.