Los Angeles 2014: Documentary Overview

laff_key_art_a_pThis Wednesday, June 11, marks the start of the 20th anniversary edition of the Los Angeles Film Festival, which will continue through Thursday, June 19. Nearly 200 films total will screen, though this year sees slightly fewer feature documentaries represented, with only 21 by my count, representing a cross-section of debuts as well as LA premieres of several festival favorites. The following offers brief highlights:

 

 

out in the nightEight titles are in the running for the Documentary Competition, including the world premieres of blair dorosh-walther’s OUT IN THE NIGHT (pictured), an exploration of racism, homophobia, and sexism behind an infamous miscarriage of justice; and Debra Granik’s STRAY DOG, a portrait of a Harley-riding Vietnam veteran. Among the other contenders are sibling filmmakers Geeta V Patel and Ravi V Patel’s Indian wife search doc, MEET THE PATELS; and Eliza Kubarska’s Hot Docs-winning portrait of nomad fishermen, WALKING UNDER WATER.

streamThe fest’s Summer Showcase includes several titles lauded on the circuit, including Rory Kennedy’s look at the US withdrawal from Saigon, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM; and fellow Sundance alum Jesse Moss’ profile of a complex smalltown pastor, THE OVERNIGHTERS. International Showcase features a few nonfiction or hybrid offerings, such as Àgnes Sòs’ STREAM OF LOVE (pictured), in which Hungarian senior citizens speak frankly about sex; and Denis Côté’s JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING, a study of factory workers and their machines.

dreamsOther strands presenting docs include new section LA Muse, focused on films that show the influence LA has on art and creativity, such as Arthur Jafa’s exploration of Black identity in contemporary America, DREAMS ARE COLDER THAN DEATH (pictured); and Scott Teems’ portrait of actor Hal Holbrook’s long career portraying Mark Twain, HOLBROOK/TWAIN: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY. Genre section The Beyond includes Adam Rifkin’s microbudget auteur portrait, GIUSEPPE MAKES A MOVIE, while LAFF’s Free Screenings offer a couple of nonfiction titles, including the debut of Thomas G Miller’s LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, the chronicle of a gay transnational couple’s forty-year struggle to be together.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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