By Don Simpson | June 30, 2012
Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles (DFFLA), a nonprofit arts organization, announced today its line-up of feature films to be presented during the 8-day event, July 6-13, in venues throughout downtown L.A.
The opening night film (July 6th) will be the L.A. premiere of The Diary of Preston Plummer, directed by Sean Ackerman and starring veteran Hollywood actor Robert Loggia (Independence Day, Scarface) and newcomer Rumer Wills (daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis). The Diary of Preston Plummer is a summer tale of a student who upon his graduation from college, cannot think of single thing he really loves. Adrift, Preston follows a beautiful but troubled young woman to a small island town where he begins to fall for her. Their relationship is soon threatened when he uncovers her family’s dark past.
The Opening Night Film presentation of The Diary of Preston Plummer will be followed immediately by the festival’s Opening Gala at Towne Food & Drink, on the ground floor of Watermarke Tower at the corner of 9th and Flower Streets, to open to the public the second week of July.
The mission of DFFLA is to showcase emerging talent in the culturally diverse, historically significant core of the Film Capital of the World. As in previous years, music documentaries and music-themed narrative features play a prominent role in this year’s feature film selection. DFFLA encompasses film screenings, art exhibits, industry workshops and receptions held throughout venues in downtown L.A., including Downtown Independent Theater, Regal Cinemas L.A. Live 14, the Hayworth Theater and Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. During the festival, movie-goers can expect a wide variety of film-related experiences including dozens of screenings but also workshops, lectures, art exhibits, receptions and other after-hour events.
And now for a list of the feature film selections for DFFLA 2012:
Betty I Am – Deep in the burrows of East Los Angeles, a brother and sister reunite following a five-year hiatus and are forced to stumble towards reconciliation. Paul, a drunken vagrant, finds only awkward inconvenience as Betty is unwittingly thrust into his care. Forced to contemplate the suicide of her father, Betty’s naïve optimism becomes sanctuary for both siblings in this dark comedy where indifference is tested and ultimately vanquished by the chance to begin anew.
Beyond Pollution – The BP oil soill, brought to the TV viewing public in real time, was the worst man-made environmental disaster in America’s history. Traveling thousands of miles across the most severely impacted areas of the Gulf, the filmmakers capture the stories and struggles of those who were left to cope amidst the aftermath and reveals what really happened, why and who benefited.
Birds Of A Feather – A group of theater-junkie misfits band together to put on a show – a comedic musical version of Chekov’s “The Seagull,” no less – with disastrously funny results.
Carlos Spills The Beans – What happens when you grow up in a dysfunctional, white trash family that runs a restaurant that your deceased father built with his blood and sweat? When Steve inherits the diner only his best friend and co-worker Carlos can be sure if he’ll get his just desserts.
Colfax & 15 – Issac, a young hood turned bounty hunter, finds himself caught in a hidden web of corruption as the shady organization of his bail bondsman employer unravels. With a child on the way, he must use his street creds to survive.
Delusions Of Grandeur – Lulu, Rocio, and Illusion are struggling with the sexuality and gender roles in 1970s San Francisco. It is said that there is someone for everyone, and the heroines in this story put that theory – but will they respect themselves in the morning?
Falling Up – Welcome to the main streets of Skid Row, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Your host for our documentary is Johnny Popp, a Vietnam Veteran from Michigan and a crack addict. After his wife was killed in a car accident, Johnny turned to crack to soothe his pain. He survives day to day off the kindness of others until he is beaten and left for dead. But even in the valley of death, hope survives as Johnny finds Lorraine, a formerly homeless woman. Together, the two lost souls nurture each other back to health, and turn their backs forever on the streets they called home.
Fixation – The current “fixed gear” craze within the biking community is all about returning to the biking basics – no fancy gears, no carbon-ceramic-intergalactic-bullshit about what the bike material is composed of no stress. Biking as it was meant to be – a simple, practical no-stress pleasure.
Fuzz Track City – A down-and-out private dick is hired by a sultry woman (is there any other kind in a detective story?) from his past to find her missing son. But he soon finds himself embroiled in a mystery of betrayal, music and murder surrounding an obscure 1970s rock record in this comic neo-noir thriller fueled by an eclectic retro-rock soundtrack. (Brother, can you dig it?)
Getting Up: The Tempt One Story – This poignant documentary, which premiered at Slamdance earlier this year, captures the real-life dramatic story of grafitti artist Tempt 1 – the celebrated West Coast tagger effectively silenced in 2003 when he was diagnosed with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. (The degenerative nerve disorder that left him unable to move, speak and breathe.) But with the invention of a device, and a little help from his friends, the artist makes a stirring comeback.
Heathens & Thieves – Think a traditional heist film but set against the larger theme of the social-political impact of Chinese immigration. When two drifters hear rumors that a Chinese railroad worker has absconded with stolen gold and now owns a remote ranch in the wilds of Northern California, the desperately seeking fortune hunters put their plan into motion. Throw into the mix the rancher’s beautiful Chinese wife, the moral ambiguity of the hero in the face of evil, and an atmosphere with betrayal as thick as a summer day in San Francisco, and this dark, gritty and sexually- charged movie is unlike any western you’ve likely seen.
Just Like Being There – The world of rock show “gig posters” and the artist community behind them, is a big idea. Intended or not, the film – hot off its showing at SXSW – presents us with the notion that a really good gig poster can evoke lasting emotions. One look and you’re transported back to that experience. Therein lies the brilliance of what is exposed within Scout Shannon’s directorial debut: it’s not about the art, so much as it is about how the art makes us feel.
Life At The Resort – This is a new take on the classic romantic comedy genre where a hotel – in this case a posh resort filled with industry types – serves as the vehicle for multiple interrelated subplots, (Think “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” but set domestically and with a sparkling veneer of Hollywood.) Along the way, guests and staff serve up huge helpings of twists and turns, heartaches and romance, and triangles and intrigues. As the plot thickens, blackmail schemes go awry, rumors surface and disappear like some many starlets, all converging headlong to a happy ending.
The Light Of Love – One of the more insanely improvised narratives films you’ll ever see, four friends in the LA counterculture made a film about their lives but not really, about the struggle of love and ego, of magic and reality, and the joy of tripping the light fantastic, dreaming the biggest dreams.
We Are Legion – Premiering earlier this year’s Slamdance, this documentary swept the festival circuit earlier this year with subsequent screenings at SXSW, HotDocs, Seattle Film Festival. No wonder. It takes us deep inside the world of Anonymous, the radical “hacktivist” collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. It explores the historical roots of early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater and then follows Anonymous from “4chan” (an imageboard website with anonymous postings) to a full-blown movement with a global reach, one of the most transformative of our time.
For more information, and to buy advance tickets, visit www.dffla.com.