Downtown Film Festival L.A. Announces 2014 Schedule


6th Edition of DTLA’s Leading Indie Film Festival
Offers 11 Days – July 9-19 – of ‘Transgressive’ Fun!


Highlights Include Opening Night Film and West Coast Premiere of “The Algerian,”
July Art Walk Digital Film Exhibits, World Cup Final Game Viewing Party,
Bike Tour of DTLA Historic Film Sites, Music Video Series Featuring Sean Lennon,
Parties at Private Lofts, Galleries, Lounges and Restaurants in DTLA,
A Rare Screening of Film Noir Classic “The Crimson Kimono,” and
Celebrity Appearances by Virginia Madsen, Harry Lennix, Pauly Shore, Eric Roberts
Jennifer Lynch, and Sonja Kinski


LOS ANGELES – June 23, 2014 – Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles ( announced today the feature film line-up for its 2014 event, which is to be held in multiple venues throughout downtown Los Angeles, July 9-19.

“Get ready, fans of DTLA! If it’s summer in the city, then it’s time for Downtown Film Festival L.A.,” announced festival co-director Henry Priest. “If you’re looking for an insider’s guide to DTLA, then we suggest you jump on our train and let us take you on a 11-day ride filled with fun and films.”

This year’s festival marks the 6th edition of the event, produced annually by the nonprofit arts organization of the same name. Its mission is to showcase independent cinema in the historic center of The Film Capital of the World, celebrate the rebirth of DTLA and reflect DTLA’s unique cultural and ethnic diversity in its programming during the festival and its additional programming held throughout the year.

“DTLA is a different kind of creative community and likewise, we’re a different kind of film festival, “ said festival co-director Greg Ptacek. “We’re really a crowd-sourced volunteer organization that embraces creative chaos.”

As the first and only film festival headquartered in DTLA, the festival is basking in the limelight of DTLA’s new coolness as proclaimed by national media including The New York Times and GQ Magazine.

“Of course, we knew DTLA was cool way back in 2008 when we began the festival,” said Priest. “We’re just wondering what took everyone else so long to realize it.”

This year’s festival includes more than 75 feature-length and short film presentations, an after-screening event each night of the 11 day festival as well as other arts events. The festival strives whenever possible to give festival attendees an immersive DTLA experience rather than strictly a film screening.

“We use film as a catalyst to explore America’s most exciting creative community through film screenings but also related events including digital art exhibits, live musical performances, industry panel discussions and after-screening parties in private spaces like galleries and artist’s loft. This year we even have a free bike tour of historic film sites that proceeds our bicycle-themed Closing Night Film.”

Highlights of the 2014 Festival

Highlights of this year’s feature film line-up include the Opening Night Film presentation and West Coast premiere of director Giovanni Zelko’s “The Algerian,” an international thrilled set against the threat of domestic terrorism, shot both on location in Middle East as well in DTLA; the Centerpiece Film presentation and Los Angeles premiere of director Howard Goldberg’s “Jake Squared,” a wry, comedic look at a filmmaker’s attempt to make a movie about his own life (a la Fellini’s “8 ½ Weeks”) starring  Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Jane Seymour and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the Closing Night Film presentation and the Los Angeles premiere of “American Cycle,” co-directed by Baruh Benjamins and Fernando De Valle.

“I love this year’s line-up of features because it reflects the huge diversity of American independent filmmaking at the moment,” says senior features curator Carolyn Schroeder. “Our films range from those with stories ripped from today’s headlines to profiles of enigmatic characters to tried-and-true genre movies with unique twists, and several piercing, insider’s takes on the entertainment industry.”

This year’s film festival saw more than 500 submissions from around the world. Inevitably, trends emerge each year among the submission and this year was no different, says Schroeder. “Now, what are the odds of two mixed martial arts feature documentaries being made at the same time? Yet, over the transom came two films set in this fascinating subculture – ‘Glena’ and ‘Fight Church.’ Beyond the obvious connection, these two films are wildly different and both extremely well made.” The films are directed by Allan Luekbe , and Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel, respectively.

Other highlights include “Pauly Shore Stands Alone,” a darkly comedic, autobiographical film about and by the former MTV star ; director Penny Vozniak’s “Despite the Gods,” a hilarious, no-holds-barred look at the total meltdown of iconic indie filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s foray into Bollywood; director’s Matthew F. Smith’s mise-en-“beat scene” capture of the musical community that hovers around the Low End Theory Club in DTLA and featuring artists Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Gaslamp Killer, Daedlus and Nosaj among others.

Other music-themed programs features include director Robert Nazar Ayjoyan’s biopic of Armen Ra, a master of the Theremin, an enigmatic early electronic instrument, who makes his performance even more other worldly by performing in full drag, and fully at the other end of the creative spectrum, director Wayne Schotten’s “Swan Lake In Bronze” about Russian born artist Misha Frid and the making of his pièce de résistance, a sculpture inspired by his love of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”

Rounding out the music programming is “Sound In Motion: The Storytelling of Music Videos,” curated by assistant programming director Michael Edwards and featuring new video content by artists Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp, The Lumerians, Clipping, Pretty Little Demons, They Might Be Giants, Watsky and Evelyn Evelyn.

Celebrity Honorees Harry Lennix and Virginia Madsen

The festival present its highest honor – The Independent Film Pioneer Award – to individuals for their past and current contributions to independent cinema. This year’s festival will honor two luminaries in the independent film world – Harry Lennix and Virginia Madsen.

Lennix appears in two films being screening during the festival, “The Algerian” which he also produced, and “Romeo and Juliet in Harlem,” a contemporized version of Shakespeare’s timeless love story. Madsen, perhaps best known to the public for her Oscar Best Actress nominated role in “Sideways” stars in the festival’s Centerpiece Film, “Jake Squared.”

Homage To Film Noir

Each year the festival pays homage to DTLA’s singular role in the development of American cinema. (Before the world was even aware of a place called Hollywood, the original Los Angeles-based, artist-driven film studios were erecting movie palaces on DTLA’s historic Broadway Avenue.)

This year’s vintage film program is a tip of the fedora to DTLA’s ties to its film noir past with a screening of “The Crimson Kimono” (1959), shot on location in Little Tokyo with a multi-ethnic cast, and presented during the festival at Cicada, a restaurant and entertainment space housed in a splendid 1920s-era Art Deco former haberdashery.

A complete list of feature films follows. The festival’s short film programming will be announced later in a separate press release.

2014 Festival Sponsors

The 2014 Downtown Film Festival L.A. is sponsored by Avant South Park Apartments, California Bank & Trust, Pacific Mutual Building, City Club Los Angeles Downtown Independent, The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, Angel City Brewery, Bourbon Street Supper Club, Restaurant Republic Catering Company, Cicada restaurant, Zinc Café and Unico Latino Foods.

Industry partners include Apothecary Films, Freestyle Releasing, Rogers & Cowan, William Morris Endeavor, Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants, Filmmakers Alliance, LIFTT, and Women In Film.

Community partners include Art Share, Los Council District 14 / Councilman Jose Huizar, Downtown Film Society, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and Los Angeles Art Walk.

Media partners include DwnLA magazine. Flavorpill, KPFK/90.7fm, Time Out Los Angeles and Yelp.

Additional support is provided by Metro, Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14, Lyft, and Stella Artois.

More information about programming, tickets at

About Us
Downtown Film Festival L.A. is Los Angeles’ premiere independent film festival. Established in 2008 as a nonprofit organization, the festival is dedicated to showcasing independent cinema in the historic center of the Creative Capital of the World. DFFLA also celebrate the renaissance of downtown L.A. and its unique cultural diversity.

– 2014 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles Feature Film Guide –
(in alphabetical order)

The Algerian – OPENING NIGHT
Director: Giovanni Zelko
Runtime: 1hr 39min
An international political thriller about the colliding worlds of the Middle East and America. It follows Ali (Ben Youcef), a Muslim sleeper cell from Algeria who is part of a plot to harm America. Hiding in Los Angeles as a university student, his life spins out of control as he becomes involved with the very people he was sent to destroy. The film races across the globe from Algeria to New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, culminating in a surprise ending that will have audiences buzzing.
Screens July 9, 8 pm, Downtown Independent

The Algerian – OPENING NIGHT
Director: Giovanni Zelko
Runtime: 1hr 39min
An international political thriller about the colliding worlds of the Middle East and America. It follows Ali (Ben Youcef), a Muslim sleeper cell from Algeria who is part of a plot to harm America. Hiding in Los Angeles as a university student, his life spins out of control as he becomes involved with the very people he was sent to destroy. The film races across the globe from Algeria to New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, culminating in a surprise ending that will have audiences buzzing.
Screens July 9, 8 pm, Downtown Independent

American Cycle – CLOSING NIGHT
Directors: Baruh Benjamins and Fernando Del Valle
Runtime: 1hr 22min
Two young men take to the road on their bicycles and embark on a challenging and picturesque two and a half month journey across the country.
Screens July 19, 8 pm, Angel City Brewery

Antisocial Behavior
Director: Kenneth Guertin
Runtime: 1hr 26min
In this gripping tale of terror, twenty something Joe must reach into his forgotten past and face the demon within.
Screens July 13, 10:30 pm, Downtown Independent

At The Top Of The Pyramid
Director: Lawrence Jordan
Runtime: 1hr 28min
An upbeat and action packed, this cheerleader’s tale is filled with music, dancing, football, friendship, romance and family, set within the psychological drama of teenage angst and pathos. “Bring It On” meets “Black Swan.”
Screens July 12, 5 pm, Downtown Independent

Director: Lydia Hyslop
Runtime: 1 hr 20min
Ada is the girl next door – who sells pot. She’s about to find herself in some compromising positions.
Screens July 16, 9:30 pm, Downtown Independent

Director: Jenni Gold
Runtime: 1hr 47min
This star-studded documentary takes us on a thought provoking and humorous journey to explore the evolution of disability portrayals in film and television.
Screens July 16, 7:30 pm, Regal L.A. Live Stadium 14

The Crimson Kimono
Director: Samuel Fuller
Runtime: 1hr 22min
Two detectives seek a stripper’s killer in the Japanese quarter of Los Angeles, but a love triangle threatens their friendship.
Screens, July 16, 8 pm, Cicada restaurant

Dark Hearts
Director: Rudolf Buitendach
Runtime: 1hr 36min
Nominated for Best International Feature at Raindance Film Festival, this sultry thriller is set in the mysterious underground world of Los Angeles’s art scene. Three struggling artists’ lives collide explosively when painter Colson (BBC America’s COPPER Star, Kyle Schmid) and younger brother Sam (“X-Men” Star, Lucas Till) encounter musical seductress Fran (Sonja Kinski) and her violent guardian (“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” star Goran Visnjic)
Screens July 17, 9 pm, Downtown Independent

Dark Mountain
Director: Tara Anaise
Runtime: 1hr 21min
In March of 2011, three filmmakers disappeared in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona while documenting their search for the Lost Dutchman mine. Their bodies were never found….but their camera was.
Screens July 11, 11 pm, Downtown Independent

Despite The Gods
Director: Penny Vozniak
Runtime: 1hr 25min
Jennifer Lynch is well known for making bold, if not ill-fated, choices in her film making career. But nothing could prepare her for the unmapped territory of Bollywood-Hollywood movie making, where chaos is the process and film making doubles as a crash course in acceptance and self-realization.
Screens July 12, 9 pm, Downtown Independent

Fight Church
Director: Daniel Junge, Bryan Storkel
Runtime: 1hr 21min
MMA meets religion in this provocative confluence of Christianity and Mixed Martial Arts, including ministries, which train fighters by Academy Award winning director Daniel Junge (Saving Face).
Screens July 13, 5 pm, Downtown Independent

Director: Allan Luebke
Runtime: 1hr 25min
Glena Avila-a struggling mother in her 30s – trains to become a professional cage fighter.
Screens July 13, 3 pm, Downtown Independent

Jake Squared – CENTERPIECE
Director: Howard Goldberg
Runtime: 1hr 40min
A filmmaker sets out to make a new project in order to figure out how he’s screwed up every relationship he’s ever had. Starring Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Jane Seymour and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Screens July 12, 7 pm, Downtown Independent

Looking For the Perfect Beat
Director: Matthew F. Smith
Runtime: 56min
This cinema verite immersion takes us inside the unique Los Angeles ‘beat-scene’ music community centered around the world famous Low End Theory club night. Indie music luminaries such as Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Gaslamp Killer, Daedelus, Nosaj Thing, Ras G, Teebs, D-Styles, TOKiMONSTA and Matthewdavid are all featured in vivid detail.
Screens July 13, 9 pm, Downtown Independent

Pauly Shore Stands Alone
Director: Pauly Shore
Runtime: 1hr 26min
Pauly Shore Stands Alone is a true-life road documentary. The camera follows Pauly on a snowy mid-western comedy club tour, while Pauly deals with moving his ailing mother, Mitzi Shore, out of her West Hollywood mansion of 40 years.
Screens July 14, 8 pm, Downtown Independent

Romeo And Juliet In Harlem
Director: Aleta Chappelle
Runtime: 2hr 8min
Set in modern day Harlem this vibrant and energetic film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s timeless love story has a complete “cast of color’”and stays true to the original language and storyline.
Screens July 16, 7 pm, Downtown Independent

Swan Lake In Bronze
Director: Wayne Schotten
Runtime: 1hr 48min
In 2012, Russian born artist Misha Frid, now a San Francisco resident, was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory of Music in Russia. He chose a theme from the conservatory’s most famous composition, “Swan Lake,” written by its most famous student Peter Tchaikovsky. The film captures the creative process, both mental and physical, in an allegorical style that combines movement and music.
Screens July 11, 7:30 pm, The Grammy Museum Clive Davis Theater

Three Holes, Two Brads, And A Smoking Gun
Director: Hilarion Banks
Runtime: 1hr 30min
An ex-Hollywood screenwriter now teaching an evening class in New York finds himself in a battle of wits with a devious screenwriter student.
Screens July 13, 7 pm, Downtown Independent

We Won’t Back Down
Director: Chris Bower
Runtime: 1hr 35min
Enter the secret culture of African-American artist, tribesmen, and warriors as they maintain the spirit and traditions of their ancient ancestors in modern-day New Orleans.
Screens July 11, 7 pm, Downtown Independent

West End
Director: Joe Basile
Runtime: 1hr 26min
This is “Hamlet” on the Jersey Shore. Vic Trevi, ashamed by his family’s mafia ties, runs away. After years of absence, Vic comes home to find his father’s been murdered.
Screens July 17, 7 pm, Downtown Independent

When My Sorrow Died
Director: Robert Nazar Arjoyan
Runtime: 1hr 24min
Glamorously eccentric and enigmatic Theremin master Armen Ra recounts his dynamic journey in this life-spanning documentary that mixes rare concert performances, candid interviews, and archive material with the magical power of music that can alchemize ancient sorrow into timeless beauty.
Screens July 11, 9 pm, Downtown Independent

Window Licker
Director: Brian McGuire
Runtime: 1hr 41min
The journey of Ben Wild, into a new form of insanity, that no man has ever experienced before.
Screens July 15, 7 pm, Downtown Independent