The Downtown LA Film Festival kicks off tomorrow down at LA Live. Since its debut, the festival has screened more than 1,000 films, held more than 200 events and partnered with more than 75 other profit and nonprofit businesses in DTLA.

The festival reflects Downtown LA’s unique ethnic and cultural diversity and it’s growing independent film community. The opening night film is a timely political satire called “Swing State,” the centerpiece film is a modern day film noir called The Loner and the festival closes with the 40th anniversary edition of the David Bowie classic, The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Festival organizer Greg Ptacek visited our studios this week to talk about why the festival has become so popular.

The festival was organized in 2008 and Greg says it survived the up and down growth of Downtown LA. That growth is on an upswing right now and the festival benefits from that growth. Public transportation is helping too. It’s so easy to get downtown using the Red Line or the many bus routes available and if you use your TAP card to get there you can save on your ticket prices for the festival. Greg talked about downtown then and now and how the festival has evolved.

Greg talked about what makes his festival stand out in a city that has nearly fifty film festivals. He says the thing that makes the Downtown LA Film Festival special is its commitment to diversity. They try to select films that have diversity both in front of and behind the camera. They also try to keep the ticket prices affordable so that more people can see more films. The opening night film, usually a very high ticket price at most festivals, is only $15!

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is happening this Saturday. It’s Income Inequality Day, a full day of mainly documentary films about income equality, punctuated by a panel discussion in the afternoon. In addition to all the great films, you can check out one on one conversations with industry movers and shakers and panels that examine some of the hot button issues of the day. Check out the entire schedule of events at and make a point to head downtown for the festivities.

The downtown LA Film Festival begins tomorrow, Wednesday September 21st, and continues through Wednesday September 28th at Regal Cinemas at LA Live.