Opening Night Gala

Wed. Nov. 1st, 9:30pm to 11:30pm
Sol Agave at L.A.LIVE
800 W. Olympic Bl. 90025

Join us after the Los Angeles theatrical premiere screening of our Opening Night Film, “Hail Mary,” at DTLA’s most celebrated purveyor of gourmet Mexican cuisine. Complimentary appetizers and sponsored cocktail.

Art Night

Thu. Nov. 2nd, 9:00pm
Prohabitiion in the Toy District
117 Winston St., 90013

After a busy evening of screenings on Day 2 of the festival, we’re joining our friends at DTLA Art Night — a must-see monthly cultural gathering — for cocktails a the upscale cocktail lounge Prohibition. DTLA Film Fest will have a table; come finds us and let’s toast to art (motion pictures or otherwise).

Industry Panels

Fri. Nov. 3rd, 12:30pm to 4:30pm
BHTYC in Boyle Heights
1600 East 4th St. 90033

A bevy of industry experts tackle three hot-buttons issues and how they impact independent filmmakers: A.I. technology, distribution in a streaming world, and the current state of diversity. These are free but ticketed events. Seating is limited, so reserve your tickets now by clicking here.

Diversity Night

Sat. Nov. 4th, 8 pm to midnight
Niku X in the Financial District
900 Wilshire Bl., Suite 212, 90017

Tonight we embrace our nonprofit organization’s mission of diversity in cinema, including our Asian and Mexcan-American film series, at this stunning new restaurant featuring soaring ceilings and elevated contemporary Japanese cuisine with global influences. Enjoy a complimentary cocktail and appetizers.

Closing Night

Sun. Nov. 5th, 8pm to 10pm
Harbor House in the Financial District at 1000 Wilshire Blvd., 90017

The festival’s screenings wraps with our Closing Night Film, “Women In Fire.” But the festivities continue at a casual cafe featuring bites, coffee and libations.

Industry Panels

Date: Friday, Nov 3rd, 12:30 to 4: 30 pm

Boyle Heights Technology YouthSource Center, 1600 E. 4th St. Los Angeles 90033

12:30 pm to 01:30 pm | Panel 1 – AI in Film

TITLE: A.I. Ex Machina: Navigating the Rise, Ramifications and Ethical Terrain of Artificial Intelligence in Hollywood

PREMISE: Brace yourself as we hurtle to the cutting-edge, where AI is actively reshaping creative processes and unraveling the very fabric of filmmaking as we know it. As the AI revolution propels us into unexplored frontiers, it becomes critical for humankind to scrutinize its transformative nature on the realms of art and creativity. This panel explores the complexities of balancing innovation with artistic integrity, the potential displacement of human creativity, and the ethical implications of AI-driven decision-making. Join us as we walk the tightrope, interrogating the delicate equilibrium between ever-evolving technology and the enduring appeal of film’s human touch.

  • Moderator: Holly Willis
    • Holly Willis is a Professor and Chair of the Media Arts and Practice division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Before her current role, she held positions as Associate Dean of Research, Founding Chair of Media Arts and Practice, and Director of Academic Programs at USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy. Her extensive academic background positions her as a leading authority in the realm of media arts.
  • Panelist 1: Clark Gregg
    • Clark Gregg, is a founding member and former artistic director of the Atlantic Theater Company. He transitioned to Hollywood in the mid-90s, gaining recognition in films such as “State and Main,” “Magnolia,” and “The Adventures of Sebastian Cole,” earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Gregg’s iconic role as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson anchored the initial boom of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Recent works include Netflix’s “Painkiller” and “Florida Man,” TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” and Amazon’s “Being the Ricardos.” Gregg’s diverse filmography also lists “500 Days of Summer,” “Labor Day,” and CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” Beyond acting, he showcased his talents as screenwriter with “What Lies Beneath” and director for films like “Choke,” earning accolades at Sundance, and “Trust Me,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Panelist 2: Mihail Eric
    • Mihail Eric stands as co-CEO at Storia AI and boasts over a decade of expertise in AI. His achievements include pioneering large language model systems at Amazon Alexa and founding Confetti AI, which was acquired in 2022. Mihail honed his skills at Stanford’s Natural Language Processing Group, collaborating with luminaries like Christopher Manning and Percy Liang. His works have been recognized at top global AI conferences.
  • Panelist 3: Marci Liroff
    • With 40+ years in the film industry, Marci Liroff is renowned as an intimacy coordinator, casting director, producer, and acting coach. In 2019, she became a Certified Intimacy Coordinator after training with Amanda Blumenthal of IPA. Her vast filmography includes titles like “Footloose” and “Mean Girls.” Liroff’s recent credits encompass series like STARZ’s “Hightown” and Apple+’s “SUGAR.” A staunch ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, she avidly supports GLSEN. She is also a distinguished member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Casting Society of America.
  • Panelist 4: Hilary Shor
    • Esteemed producer Hilary Shor has an impressive portfolio, including Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men.” Her collaborative efforts with director Lee Daniels birthed films such as “The Butler” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Leading her own entity, Hilary Shor Productions, she previously held the President’s position at Hit and Run Productions, evidencing her monumental contributions to cinema.
  • Panelist 5: Alexandra Billings
    • Alexandra Billings is a multi-faceted talent: actress, singer, author, and activist. Broadway saw her as “Madame Morrible” in “Wicked” and in Manhattan Theatre Club’s “The Nap.” On-screen, she shines in series like Amazon’s “Transparent.” The Human Rights Campaign honored her with the Visibility Award. Her memoir, “This Time for Me,” enriches Amazon Books’ collection. Beyond her illustrious career, Alexandra teaches as a Professor of Theater at USC and is associated with The Steppenwolf Theater Company.
  • Panelist 6: Philip Ruffini
    • Philip Ruffini ran his own content studio that assisted tech companies in creating and setting up systems to produce content on new media channels. Formerly, he contributed as a Product Manager to Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division. Presently, as Rupa Health’s Head of Media, he leads and consults on content strategies for tech behemoths. Philip’s academic foundation stems from the University of Michigan and a Master’s from Tsinghua University via the Schwarzman Scholars Program.

02:00 pm to 03:00 pm | Panel 2 – Indie Film Distribution

TITLE: The Future of Independent Film in the Streaming Age

PREMISE: The rise of streaming has proven to be a double-edged sword for independent filmmaking. Though it brought promises of innovation and exposure, it also inflicted significant damage on independent cinemas, effectively eroded the writer middle-class, drastically changed the demographics and habits of moviegoers, and threw the studio and independent film ecosystem off-balance. With echoes of the recent WGA writer’s strike reverberating through the industry, this panel examines the urgent question: is this for the better or for worse? Talks of a bursting streaming bubble injects potential new life into the independent film industry, proving the topic to be a dynamic one that invites further discussion. 

  • Moderator: Lorraine Ali
    • Ali Lorraine, an esteemed journalist, started her career as a senior writer and music editor at the Los Angeles Times in 2011. With stints at Newsweek and Rolling Stone, she now serves as a television critic and media columnist for the LA Times. Additionally, Lorraine is a member of the George Foster Peabody Awards board of jurors.
  • Speaker 1: M.L. Post
    • Matt Post, a seasoned director/producer and entrepreneur, brings 15 years of experience in feature film and commercial production. His latest project, Underrated, is an OTT platform showcasing 150 titles worldwide, including Oscar -nominated films, aiming to spotlight the best indie films often overlooked by mainstream audiences.
  • Speaker 2: Jiarui Guo
    • Jiarui Guo, a self-starting and multi-award-winning producer since 2020, boasts a remarkable record with 30+ Academy and BAFTA qualified awards, 20+ Best Producer Awards, and over 100 International film festival honors. Her dedication, integrity, and creative innovation shine through in the production of 20+ short films, five feature films, and five TY Movies in just three years. Beyond producing, Jiarui has showcased versatility, excelling in line producing, UPM, and various below-the-line crew positions.
  • Speaker 3: Henry Priest
    • Henry “Coach” Priest, a versatile figure in the entertainment industry, serves as a film, TV, and events producer. Renowned as the director of the Downtown LA Film Festival, he has notable contributions in feature films like “Beyond the Mat” and has excelled in casting for Lionsgate, Nike, and as a talent agent for 310 Models.
  • Speaker 4: German Michael Torres
    • German Michael Torres is a producer, development executive, and packager with 20 years of experience. Recently he produced Netflix’ top 10 global hit, #1 in 33 countries, “Christmas With You,” starring Aimee Garcia and Freddie Prinze Jr.  He just wrapped “Girl In The Pool,” a thriller starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Kevin Pollak, and Monica Potter, to be released by Quiver Entertainment and a major studio.  Past work includes projects with Julia Roberts, Dwayne Johnson and other A-list talent, “Kill Chain” with Nicholas Cage (Amazon Studios.) 
  • Speaker 5: Karina Miller
    • Karina Miller launched her production career in Toronto with Alliance Entertainment and later worked in New York for Columbia Tri-star TV on notable shows like THE RICKI LAKE SHOW. She made her mark in theatre, producing both on and off Broadway, and notably for the Tony-winning INITIMAN Theatre. In Los Angeles, Karina established SPARKHOUSE MEDIA, focusing on independent film and TV projects. Highlights include: “THE BIG ASK”, which won the Audience Award at Asheville Film Festival; “TO THE BONE”, a Sundance favorite starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, later acquired by Netflix; and “SEMPER FI” by Emmy winner Henry-Alex Rubin, distributed by Lionsgate. Recently, “HAIL MARY”, featuring Angela Sarafyan and Jack Huston, premiered at SXSW 2023.
  • Speaker 6: Allie Cuerdo
    • AMAZING ALLIE CUERDO is an Emmy-nominated director, producer, author and cancer survivor, recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women In the World by the Filipina Women’s Network. Their work fuses fantasy, documentary and activism, with a focus on stories that uplift underserved communities and center joy. In 2021, they received the Logo30 award for LGBTQ pioneers, activists and artists who continue to move our community forward. Their work includes NBC’s THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS FREEDOM AWARDS starring Meryl Streep, Amal Clooney and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, multiple award-winning feature documentary ULAM: MAIN DISH and AMBOY, one of Amazon’s 20 Best Books of the Year. As seen in the NY Times, the LA Times, Vogue, PAPER, Filmmaker Magazine and more!

03:30 pm to 04:30 pm | Panel 3 – Diversity in Film

TITLE: Evolving the Conversation on Diversity and Cinema

PREMISE: As Hollywood staggers along the road towards genuine and intersectional inclusivity, the traps and complexities of engaging in authentic representation on and off-screen increasingly reveal themselves. Prominent success stories and high-profile blockbusters belie the truth that current industry studies from USC, UCLA and San Diego State University warn of a regression in industry diversity. Against this backdrop of evolving statistics, trends and conversations, there is a pressing need to critically re-examine Hollywood’s diversity landscape. Join us as we navigate the nuances, celebrate the achievements, and envision actionable strategies for a more diverse and equitable Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Moderator: Kellianne Rae Jordan
    • Kellianne Rae Jordan is an accomplished producer, writer, and award-winning actor. She’s deeply invested in the intersection of art and service, epitomized by her role as Alumni/Outreach Coordinator at Black Girls Film Camp. Kellianne is committed to producing, writing, and acting in stories that resonate with and authentically represent people of color.
  • Panelist 1: Heather Muriel Nguyen
    • Heather Muriel Nguyễn (they/she) is an asexual non-binary autistic Vietnamese-American actor and filmmaker who creates visceral stories that center queer and trans characters and artists of Color. Their award-winning films are screening at queer and Asian-American film festivals, such as Outfest and CAAMFest, where femmes of Color all across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum have told her that they feel seen and their experiences represented fully for the first time in her stories. Heather seeks to continue making films and series that empower these communities with authentic depictions of their experiences. Heather’s films are streaming at the OutMuseum, Film Shortage, and Retrospective of Jupiter.
  • Panelist 2: Christian Ting
    • Christian Ting serves as a producer at Made With Love Media in Los Angeles. His recent credits encompass Netflix’s “They Cloned Tyrone” and the anticipated “Shadow Force” at Lionsgate. A staunch advocate for visibility and diversity, Christian is keen on empowering emerging directors.
  • Panelist 3: Rosa Costanza (She/Her)
    • Emmy-nominated Rosa Costanza boasts a 25-year career in entertainment. Recognized as one of the pioneering female members of IATSE Hollywood Local 695, she’s acclaimed for her Cannes-screened film “XING” and 50+ awards in independent film. Rosa leads Seven Directions Studios, LLC and holds memberships in prestigious organizations, including ATAS and The Recording Academy.
  • Panelist 4: Tamika Lamison (She/Her)
    • Tamika Lamison, a multi-faceted filmmaker and executive, has received numerous accolades, including the Gordon Parks Indie Film Award. Passionate about philanthropy, she founded Make A Film Foundation, realizing film wishes for medically-challenged children. Currently, Tamika heads the Commercial Directors Diversity Program, while actively working on TV series for Searchlight & Paramount. Her most recent projects include the audience-praised documentary “Ferguson Rises” and the deeply personal short film “Superman Doesn’t Steal”.
  • Panelist 5: Rosemary Rodriguez (She/Her)
    • Rosemary Rodriguez is celebrated for her directorial prowess, with her latest feature “Hail Mary” premiering at SXSW and opening the Downtown LA Film Fest. Other notable works include Sundance’s “Acts of Worship” and “Silver Skies”. Rodriguez’s directing portfolio spans across acclaimed series such as “The Walking Dead”, “Jessica Jones”, and “The Good Wife”. Recently, she directed Showtime’s “Your Honor” finale and James Gunn’s “Peacemaker” for HBOMax. She has also been an integral part of Apple’s “Home Before Dark” and Jason Katim’s “Rise”.
  • Panelist 6: Analesa Fisher
    • As an Autistic and non-binary actor/writer, Analesa is pushing Hollywood to look beyond labels for the many roles that actors can embody. Analesa Fisher (they/them) can be seen starring in the film “Stay at Home” opposite Jenna Davis and Rio Mangini, as well as Netflix’s coming-of-age film, “Metal Lords” opposite Jaeden Martell, produced and written by “Game of Thrones” duo, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Fisher has also appeared in TBS’ “Chad,” Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists,” Brat TV/Hulu’s “Total Eclipse” and their series regular role in Peacock’s “Crazy Fast.” Fisher also has an extensive voiceover career, providing voices in shows like Netflix’s “Rainbow High” and Cartoon Network’s “Craig of the Creek,” as well as video games like “Lost Ark,” “Cookie Run: Kingdom,” “Genshin Impact,” “Phantasy Star Online 2,” and more. They are repped by Tobias Literary Agency, A3 Artists Agency, VOX, Inc., and Industry Entertainment.