The 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival is in full swing through June 22 with a diverse slate of 48 feature films, 51 short films, 15 high school short films and 10 short episodic works representing 32 countries.
The festival’s five competitions, at ArcLight Cinemas Culver City, Hollywood and Santa Monica, feature 37 world premieres, two international premieres and nine North American premieres.
Across the competition categories, 42 percent of the films are directed by women and 40 percent are directed by people of color.
Among the highlights scheduled is the season two premiere of “Queen Sugar” on June 19 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, followed by a conversation with creator Ava DuVernay and her team of talented female directors including Julie Dash (“Daughter of the Dust”), Cheryl Dunye (“Watermelon Woman”), DeMane Davis (“Lift”) and Amanda Marsalis (“Echo Park”).
“Don’t Come Back From the Moon,” directed by Bruce Thierry Cheung and starring James Franco and Rashida Jones; “Izzy Gets the F*** Across Town” with Mackenzie Davis, Lakeith Stanfield, Carrie Coon, Haley Joel Osment, Alia Shawkat, Annie Potts and Brandon T. Jackson; “Shot Caller,” starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal and Benjamin Bratt: and the festival’s closer Matt Spicer’s “Ingrid Goes West,” starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen and O’Shea Jackson Jr., are just some of the anticipated gala screenings.
The hot documentaries “Mankiller,” about the woman who became the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief; and “Two Four Six,” following extremely tall Haitian teenagers with U.S. hoop dreams, lead the slate.
South African director/writer Kagiso Lediga’s “Catching Feelings” and Trinidad and Tobago director/writer Vashti Anderson’s “Moko Jumbie” are among the films to catch in the world fiction category.
The spirit L.A. Muse Competition features “Built to Fail,” defining streetwear with observations from A$AP Rocky, Russell Simmons, Tommy Hilfiger and others; Jennifer Arnold’s “Fat Camp” from Netflix “Dear White People” writer Chuck Hayward starring Chris Redd, Anabelle Acosta, Mel Rodriguez, Bre-Z and Vivica A. Fox; “What We Started,” charting the history of electronic dance music with Carl Cox, Moby, David Guetta, Afrojack, Paul Oakenfold, Usher, Ed Sheeran and Louie Vega; and a stylish update on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Lily Rabe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Ted Levine, Paz De La Huerta and Saul Williams.
Shorts to be unveiled include Bradford Young’s “Black America Again,” inspired by Common’s opus; and Shola Amoo’s “Dear Mr. Shakespeare” exploring the bard’s intentions when writing “Othello,” while drawing wider parallels with immigration in the UK today.
Two contributions from production house Stage 13 kick off Episodes: Indie Series From The Web on June 21: “High & Mighty,” a stoner comedy about a lovable lush of a superhero who needs a buzz for powers; and “Two Sentence Horror Stories: Guilt Trip,” directed by J.D. Dillard.
Contact the Festival Box Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling (866) 345-6337), or visit tickets.lafilmfestival.com.
CLIPPETTES: If you’re among the many amped up from that teaser trailer for “Marvel’s Black Panther,” which garnered 89 million views, know that its director Ryan Coogler and co-star Michael B. Jordan will be reteaming for a fourth time on “Wrong Answer.” Ta-Nehesi Coates will write the screenplay based on the Atlanta Public Schools test cheating scandal …
Raekwon: The Wild Tour hits Union on June 16. Also that evening (which happens to be Tupac Shakur’s birthdate), Omar Gooding, Brian Hooks and Gary Sturgis are hosting an “All Eyez on Me” movie release party at The Study/Project LA …
“Luther,” the BBC detective drama series starring Idris Elba, returns for a four-episode fifth season next year …
The Heart and Soul Tour featuring violinist Damien Escobar is booked for June 17 at The Wiltern …
Among the Father’s Day offerings on June 18 are Kehlani at the Novo DTLA; Reggae Night XVI featuring Ziggy Marley with orchestra, the Specials and U-Roy at the Hollywood Bowl; and Paul Mooney at the Comedy Store …
Music executive/film producer Clarence Avant and radio pioneer Lee Bailey will be feted at the Black Business Association Awards Dinner on June 20 at the Millennium Biltmore …
The annual Make Music Day will be held on June 21 in more than 750 cities across 120 countries. Among the L.A. offerings are a sunrise gospel celebration to be held at Griffith Park Observatory. For more info, visit www.makemusicday.org …
Center Court at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw hosts the Ella Fitzgerald At 100 Traveling Tribute, featuring Barbara Morrison at 3:30 on June 21. It also will be broadcast on Facebook Live …
The BET Experience kicks off on June 22 at the Staples Center with Kid Cudi, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, Desiigner and Playboi Carti.
TC ON TV: June 16 – “Counterpunch” (Netflix): Boxing prodigies are profiled in this documentary.
June 17 – “The Last Hours of …” (Reelz): Bernie Mac “Being” (Centric): CeCe Winans
June 18 – “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC): Eva Longoria vs George Lopez and Yvette Nicole Brown vs Ashley Graham “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (CNN): Trinidad “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level” (Comedy): Premiering with comic Spank Horton.
June 19 – “The Therapist” (Viceland): Katy Perry opens up to Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh in this emotional and raw extended episode.
June 20 – “The Haves and the Have Nots” (OWN): Returns in time to heat up the summer. “No Cover” (Aspire): Tank and The Bangas launch this concert series. “Queen Sugar” (OWN): The second season begins on this special night followed by another episode on its regular night tomorrow.
June 21 – “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” (NBC): Executive producers Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey (who also hosts) flip the script on their hit show by focusing on the talents of seniors including 11-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer and pastor Shirley Caesar. “Lip Sync Battle” (Spike): Metta World Peace takes on Skylar Astin to open the fourth season.
June 22 – “Live with Kelly & Ryan” (ABC): Gina Rodriquez, Guillermo Diaz “Boy Band” (ABC): Rita Ora hosts this search for the next great music group with Timbaland in the judging room.
TASTY QUIP: “To all the white people on the planet: Just don’t use it! One of my white friends asked, ‘Is it ever appropriate?’ I was like, ‘You can use it if you’re ready for what comes afterwards.’ I mean when I was growing up prepare to get your ass whupped. I grew up in Detroit. You will get a knuckle in your eye.” – DAVID ALAN GRIER discussing the June 21 ‘N’ word episode of NBC’s “The Carmichael Show” to Tavis Smiley.
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.