LA Film Festival competition lineup announced: new docs on Montgomery Clift, flat earth conspiracists & more
Festival set to run September 20-28 after shift from summer
The LA Film Festival is switching to the fall in 2018 after years as a summertime festival, but one thing has remained consistent: a commitment to documentary programming.
The festival announced its competition program Tuesday, showcasing a range of fiction and nonfiction work from around the world. The LA Muse section -- which the festival describes as "a whole entire category dedicated to stories from and inspired by Los Angeles" -- will feature the world premiere of Making Montgomery Clift, a documentary about the late Hollywood star who earned four Oscar nominations over the course of his relatively brief career (he died in 1966 at age 46).
These storytellers are united by their ability to transport, impact and inspire audiences with the power of their craft.
Clift's nephew, Robert Anderson Clift, directed the film along with Hillary Demmon. The actor was known not only for his great talent and beauty but for a tortured life as a gay man in an industry that did not countenance such an identity, especially in a leading man.
"Clift’s legacy has been a story of tragedy and self-destruction, but a more complicated picture emerges when his nephew dives into the family archives," the festival noted in its announcement of the program.
Joining that film in LA Muse section is another world premiere documentary -- Fire on the Hill, directed by Brett Fallentine. The festival provided this thumbnail description: "Three Black cowboys in South Central share their stories following a mysterious fire that burnt down the community’s stables, leaving the fate of the culture in question."
The documentary competition section features 10 films, including Behind the Curve, directed by Daniel J. Clark. It examines the subgroup of people who take issue with conclusions dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks who first noted the roundish shape of Planet Earth.
"The internet breathed new life into an old conspiracy theory: that the earth is flat instead of spherical," the festival writes in its description of Behind the Curve. "America’s flat-Earth movement appears to be growing, in spite of its detractors in the scientific community."
In doc competition entry Mamacita, director José Pablo Estrada "fulfills his promise to make a film about his 95-year-old grandmother, showcasing her big personality and along the way uncovering the source of deep familial wounds."
“Our mission of finding fresh new voices from different geographical and cultural axes remains true,” LA Film Festival Director Jennifer Cochis said in a statement that accompanied the lineup release. “These storytellers are united by their ability to transport, impact and inspire audiences with the power of their craft.”
The festival noted "42% of competition films are directed by women and 39% directed by people of color."
The LA Film Festival runs from September 20-28. For information on the ticketing and more, click here.
Here is the documentary slate as announced by the LA Film Festival:
It’s been said that we’re living through a new golden age of nonfiction film. A pretty lofty claim, but a hard one to dispute looking at the titles in this very “truth = stranger than fiction” selection of courageous and outrageous docs.
Behind the Curve – USA (DIRECTOR Daniel J. Clark PRODUCER Caroline Clark, Nick Andert, Daniel J. Clark) SUBJECTS Mark Sargent, Patricia Steere, Bob & Cami Knodel, Jeran Campanella, Nathan Thompson, Chris Pontius, Robbie Davidson, Cpt. Scott Kelly, Dr. Per Espen Stoknes, Dr. Joe Pierre, Dr. Spiros, Michalakis, Stephen Hagberg, Hannalore Gerling-Dunsmore, Tim Urban) – The internet breathed new life into an old conspiracy theory: that the earth is flat instead of spherical. America’s flat-Earth movement appears to be growing, in spite of its detractors in the scientific community. US Premiere
Facing the Dragon – USA/Afghanistan (DIRECTOR Sedika Mojadidi PRODUCER Jenny Raskin) – After international withdrawal from Afghanistan, two remarkable Afghan women working within the government and media struggle to maintain their hard-won rights while balancing what’s best for their families. West Coast Premiere
False Confessions – Denmark (DIRECTOR Katrine Philp PRODUCER Katrine A. Sahlstrøm SUBJECT Jane Fisher-Byrialsen) – “Would you confess to a crime you did not commit?” A defense attorney fights against the complex and manipulative tactics of US police interrogations, focusing on victims of coerced confessions as she helps exonerate her incarcerated clients. North American Premiere
hillbilly – USA (DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS Sally Rubin, Ashley York) – Two filmmakers visit rural Kentucky, one returning home to Appalachia, to unpack the stereotype of “hillbilly” and explore the personal and painful experiences fueling our polarizing political climate. LA Premiere
Mamacita – Germany/Mexico (DIRECTOR José Pablo Estrada Torrescano PRODUCERS José Pablo Estrada Torrescano, Arne Birkenstock) – A filmmaker fulfills his promise to make a film about his 95-year-old grandmother, showcasing her big personality and along the way uncovering the source of deep familial wounds. US Premiere
Moroni for President – USA (DIRECTORS Saila Huusko, Jasper Rischen PRODUCERS Saila Huusko, Jasper Rischen, Sara Goldblatt) – Determined to shake up the status quo and bring positive change to his people, a young, gay college professor begins a grass-roots campaign to become the next President of the Navajo Nation. LA Premiere
Same God – USA (DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER Linda Midgett SUBJECTS Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Dr. Michael Mangis, Patti Mangis) – It started out simply: a demonstration of solidarity. What followed? Life-changing events violating university and ethical codes and a public attack on a tenured professor’s ideals, faith, racial and religious identity. World Premiere
The Silence of Others – Spain (DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar) – In a country with streets that still bear his name, a group of resolute Spanish citizens seek justice for crimes committed during the brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco by organizing a groundbreaking international lawsuit. West Coast Premiere
Stammering Ballad – China (DIRECTOR/WRITER Nan Zhang PRODUCERS Ruby Chen, Yong Zhang, Sinae Ha SUBJECT Ga-song Zhang) – The visual and musical journey of a Chinese folk musician torn between his desire for fame and his love for singing rural folk songs that are on the verge of being lost. North American Premiere
Wrestling Ghosts — USA (DIRECTOR Ana Joanes PRODUCERS Ana Joanes, Toni Nagy) — Unable to understand why parenting seems like a constant uphill battle, an emotionally exhausted mother who can’t connect with her two young sons courageously confronts the events of her own traumatic childhood. World Premiere
The Advocates – USA (DIRECTOR Rémi Kessler PRODUCERS Rémi Kessler, Robert McFalls) – A sweeping look at the homeless crisis in Los Angeles and an intimate view of the tireless advocates who strive to create better lives for their clients. World Premiere
Fire on the Hill – (DIRECTOR/WRITER Brett Fallentine PRODUCER Brett Fallentine, Jordana Glick-Franzheim) – Three Black cowboys in South Central share their stories following a mysterious fire that burnt down the community’s stables, leaving the fate of the culture in question. World Premiere
Funke – (DIRECTOR Gabriel Taraboulsy PRODUCERS Gabriel Taraboulsy, Alex Emanuele, Jay Holzer, Cecile Murias SUBJECTS Evan Funke, Janet Zuccarini, Nancy Silverton, Jon Shook, Vinny Dotolo) – A prodigious chef mounts his culinary comeback, eyeing the most competitive street in America as a stage for his ode to the dying art of handmade pasta. World Premiere
Making Montgomery Clift – (DIRECTORS/WRITERS/PRODUCERS Robert A. Clift, Hillary Demmon SUBJECT Montgomery Clift, Brooks Clift, Patricia Bosworth, Jack Larson, Judy Balaban, Lorenzo James) – Classic film star Montgomery Clift’s legacy has been a story of tragedy and self-destruction, but a more complicated picture emerges when his nephew dives into the family archives. World Premiere
Stuntman – USA (DIRECTOR Kurt Mattila PRODUCERS Steven Golebiowski, Kurt Mattila, Eddie Braun) – A veteran stuntman sets out to complete the jump that bested his idol Evel Knievel: clearing the Snake River Canyon in a rocket-powered craft. World Premiere
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.