by Tom Nguyen
Spring time is here in Los Angeles, and April into May are jam packed with film festivals and special screenings from Los Angeles to Long Beach to Orange County. Even for a film fanatic like me, it’s dizzying trying to keep track of so many! Foreign film festivals are particularly meaningful to me because they were always my way of exploring the world, when I had no money to travel abroad, and subtitled films are the only films I get to enjoy on the big screen with my friend and movie buddy, Morris, who is deaf. Special thanks to Wilki of WilkiIMAGE, the professional photographer who’s been covering LA’s film festival circuit for decades and always keeps me in the loop! Want to see Grace Jones in person introducing the new documentary on her life? Or go on a romantic movie date, sipping chocolate margaritas while watching the classic Like Water For Chocolate? Then look at my guide to some of my favorite film festivals and special screenings happening, in order of opening dates:
April 5-May 24, 2018 at Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles and June 1-9, 2018 at locations TBA.
In celebration of HOLA Mexico Film Festival’s 10th Anniversary, the Festival will host free film screenings every Thursday – April 5 through May 24 – at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles. As a look back at the Festival’s milestone 10 year history, each of the eight films featured in this series has been a notable Festival Opening Night selection. In addition, in the lobby of the cinema of the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, there will be an installation showcasing the posters from the past nine years of HOLA Mexico Film Festival. These free screenings lead up to the 10th Annual HOLA Mexico Film Festival June 1-9!
April 11, 2018 at Frida Cinema
The Frida Cinema is proud to partner with University of California, Irvine and the Bowers Museum – with the support of the the Humanities for All Grant made possible by California Humanities, UC-Mexus, and UCI Illuminations – on Latin American Studies in Motion, a series of cultural events, including four films presented at The Frida, which reflect Latin American history, culture, and recent social and environmental change. On Wednesday, April 11, join us for a very special 50th Anniversary Screening of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s 1968 classic Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo) – easily the most celebrated and well-known film from the Cuban Revolution. Screening will be followed by a presentation and Q&A with Raul Fernandez, Professor Emiritus of Chicano & Latino Studies, University of California – Irvine. Frida Cinema is Orange County’s only non-profit film theater and if you’re a Selena fan, come to their free screenings of SELENA on April 16, 1:30pm & 7pm, in recognition of what would have marked the 47th Birthday of the singer and icon.
April 11-15, 2018 at Regal L.A. LIVE
16th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles is the premiere platform for the latest in cutting-edge global Indian cinema and bridges the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world – Hollywood and India. The festival will showcase more than 25 films from the Indian filmmaking community across the globe, host the highly anticipated Opening and Closing red carpet Galas, and the Closing Awards ceremony. Opening the festival on April 11 is IN THE SHADOWS, starring Manoj Bajpayee in a tour de force performance as a reclusive shopkeeper who vows to rescue his young neighbor from abuse at the hands of his father directed by Dipesh Jain. Festival will close with the Los Angeles premiere of VILLAGE ROCKSTARS, one of the most lauded Indian films on the festival circuit in the past year. The film is directed by emerging Indian filmmaker Rima Das. The film, written, shot, edited and directed by Das, is a touching coming of age story of a ten-year-old girl in a remote Assamese village who dreams of buying a guitar and starting her own rock band.
April 12, 2018 at Richard Nixon Presidential Library
Join us for a 10-year+ anniversary screening of Journey From The Fall and a special viewing of this historic exhibition VIET STORIES: Recollections & Regenerations. Inspired by the true stories of Vietnamese refugees who fled their country after the fall of Saigon in 1975—and those who were forced to stay behind —Journey From The Falldepicts one family’s struggle for freedom. Film showing followed by Q&A with Cast & Crew, including legendary actress Kieu Chinh & moderated by Ysa Le, Executive Director, VAALA. VIET STORIES remembers the past and captures the diversity and transformation of the contemporary Vietnamese American community over the last 40+ years through historical photographs, documents, artifacts, oral history interviews, and original artwork by prominent Vietnamese American artists.
April 12-15, 2018 at UCLA Fowler Museum, Laemmle’s Monica Film Center
Dance Camera West, marking its continued passion for bringing together diverse communities, cultures, and environments to experience dance through the intimate medium of film, along with Jacob Jonas The Company, are thrilled to present the 17th Annual Dance Camera West Film Festival and To The Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier from April 12–15, 2018 with Opening Night festivities taking place at UCLA’s Fowler Museum in Westwood, Film Screenings at the Laemmle Film Center in Santa Monica and the Free Sunset To The Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier taking place on the west-end of the Santa Monica Pier. This year’s DCW Film Festival will showcase an incredible array of dance from modern, post-modern, world, tap, dance theater, ballet, hip-hop, and practically all dance that has been captured on film in a way that is of quality and essential value.
April 12-15, 2018 at the Aero Theatre
Co Presented by Telefilm Canada in partnership with the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles, and the The Quebec Delegation of Los Angeles
Canada Now 2018: a diverse, engaging, decidedly entertaining selection of the best in contemporary Canadian cinema. From time-travel adventure to comedy to psychological drama to politically charged personal cinema, this cinematic septet reveals the seismic shifts underway in Canada (and globally) in relation to such potent, urgently relevant issues as the immigrant experience, race relations and gender politics. Directors will join us in person at the Aero Theatre!
April 14-19, 2018 at RealD Theater and Laemmle’s Monica Film Center
The Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles in association with ELMA is honored to present an exciting selection of 7th edition of the Czech That Film festival, celebrating the 100th anniversary since the formation of Czechoslovakia. Oscar-winning director Jan Svěrák in person, films showcasing the best in Czech cinema are waiting for festival attendees in Los Angeles from April 14 – 19, 2018. The Opening Ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at RealD Theater in Beverly Hills with a double-feature screening of films by Oscar-winning director Jan Svěrák.
April 15, 2018 at DH Lounge
United Cambodian Community and DH Lounge invite you to a FREE Movie Screening Memorial Fundraiser for Cambodian Space Project Band Lead Singer | Kak Channthy. Please join the Cambodian Long Beach community as we pay tribute and celebrate the life and music of CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT lead singer, Kak Channthy. The band came last September for the very first, and what would be their last, visit to Long Beach to give a free community concert. They left an indelible mark with their high energy, psychedelic sound, reminding us of a glorious time in Cambodia’s history when Rock ‘n Roll reigned. On March 20, 2018, that sound died when a car hit the tuk tuk Channthy was in, claiming her young and storied life. Please join us as we watch the documentary film CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT: NOT EASY ROCK ‘n ROLL and are reminded through video clips and concert footage of the joy and genius that was the voice of a Cambodia. R.I.P. Kak Channthy 2/26/80- 3/20/18
April 15, 2018 at Central Library – Mark Taper Auditorium
East LA Interchange (57 minutes) tells the story of working-class, immigrant Boyle Heights, the oldest neighborhood in East Los Angeles. The documentary explores how the freeways—a symbol of Los Angeles ingrained in America’s popular imagination—impact Boyle Heights’ residents: literally, as an environmental hazard and structural blockade and figuratively, as a conversational interchange about why the future of their beloved community should matter to us all. The film asks if Boyle Heights as we know it will survive the next round of challenges from environmental pollution, industrialization, development, and gentrification. Betsy Kalin, the producer and director of the film, will introduce the film and be part of a panel discussion and Q&A after the screening. Additional panelists are author D.J. Waldie and Priscilla Leiva, professor of Chicana/o studies at LMU. Moderating the discussion will be author Tye Pemberton.
April 15, 2018 at 1060 Oneonta Dr. Los Angeles, Ca 90065
Help keep Filipino indigenous traditions alive by supporting Kultura Film’s project, “Journey to Ifugao”. Mamerto Tindongan, 8th generation shaman mumbaki, is reviving the rituals and practices of the Ifugao people. Join us for a despidida & film screening to support & help fundraise our journey to Banaue, Philippines. We hope to capture Ifugao traditions to build bridges to our ancestral roots + share these spiritual practices for generations to come. Come celebrate our ancestors, ourselves, and our divine kapwatry. “Revitalizing the Dwindling Mumbaki” by KulturaFilms narrated by Mamerto Tindongan speaks to the decline of shaman mumbaki carrying out the sacred ceremonies of the Ifugao people. Following the screening is a Q&A session from our crew- Nicanor Evans, Diane Valencia, Veronica Mercado, Chona Bernardo, Gary Jornacion- of “Our Journey to Ifugao Bridging Ancestral Wisdom.” Let’s explore how we can all let our indigenous spirits live in the modern world.
April 16-May 1, 2018 at various locations at UCLA
The Spanish and Portuguese department invites you to “6th Annual UCLA Latin American and Iberian Film Festival”. Free admission. First come, first serve. Light snacks & refreshments provided.
April 17, 2018 at Mendez High School
Join us April 17, 2018 5:00-7:30pm at Mendez High School for a free film and discussion with Dr. Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj. “500 Years: Life in Resistance” is a documentary film about the trial of Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide against the country’s indigenous Maya population in the 1980s and the popular uprising that followed the trial, which led to the toppling of President Otto Perez Molina. Following the film is a discussion with Dr. Nimatuj, she is one of the film’s main protagonists, she is a K’iche journalist, and social anthropologist. The film is in English with Spanish subtitles. Event will be in English and Spanish. Colors of Guatemala Books will be available for purchase! La Comunidad Ixim is a social justice collective of Mayas in Los Angeles.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami
April 17, 2018 at Hammer Museum and April 20, 2018 at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre
This electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of pop culture mega-icon Grace Jones moves between musical sequences and intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’s bold aesthetic. A larger-than-life entertainer, an androgynous glam-pop diva, an unpredictable media presence—Jones allows director Sophie Fiennes’s documentary to go beyond the traditional music biography to offer a portrait as stylish and unconventional as its subject. A Q&A with director Sophie Fiennes follows the Hammer Museum screening, and both the film subject Grace Jones and director Sophie Fiennes will appear in person on April 20 at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre immediately following the 7:00pm show (Sold Out) and will introduce the 9:45pm show!
April 20-22, 2018 at Los Angeles LGBT Center’s The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
Don’t miss the 4th annual arts festival dedicated to showcasing the stories of LGBTQ, two-spirited, Latinx, Chicanx, and indigenous identities through film and visual art in a space that builds on their rich and diverse cultural history.
April 23-30, 2018 at Directors Guild of America
The event will showcase a record 86 films, television series, digital series and VR programs. 75 of these will be in competition for the COLCOA Awards, including several World, International, North American, and U.S. Premieres. COLCOA is considered the largest festival dedicated to French films and series worldwide. An exclusive lineup of 37 new features and documentaries will compete for the COLCOA CINEMA AWARDS, beginning on Opening Night (Monday, April 23) with the North American Premiere of writer/director Eric Barbier’s PROMISE AT DAWN. The cinema competition will close on Monday, April 30, with the North American Premiere of Cedric Kahn’s new drama, THE PRAYER.
April 25, 2018 at Lodge Room
We Out Here isn’t just a film about the renaissance of Jazz in London over the past few years, in as much as it is also about Friendship and Community and the influences of city that these young musicians call home. It is the journey of a certain group of young gifted players among many, who have trained and come up together, and whose sounds are now becoming an integral part of our musical landscape, as well as representing the sound of London beyond the confines of the city.
April 25, 2018 at Japan Foundation of Los Angeles
In his twentieth film, acclaimed international film director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse and Tokyo Sonata) reinvents the alien movie as a unique and profoundly human tale of love and mystery. Three aliens travel to Earth on a reconnaissance mission in preparation for a mass invasion. Having taken possession of human bodies, the visitors rob the hosts of their essence – good, evil, property, family, belonging – leaving only hollow shells, which are all but unrecognizable to their loved ones. Equally hilarious, thrilling, and profound, this film reminds audiences of the continued strength of one of Japanese cinema’s most unique auteurs – and the value of the human spirit.
April 25, 2018 at Consulado General de México en Los Ángeles
The Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles is honored to invite you to become part of our new cinematographic project “Ciclo de Cine Consular” (Consular Movie Club), where we aim to promote international cinema to yours and our local communities. This program is an opportunity to strengthen ties between our communities and to build communication bridges among diverse nations, as well as to manifest each unique expression of art through cinema. The Consulate General of Bulgaria are delighted to present the films “Lana’s Rain” and “Audition”
April 25, 2018 at West Hollywood City Council Chambers
The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series, Pacific Islanders in Communications, World Channel, and IMP’s Community Perspectives Film Series present a special screening and panel discussion for POI E: The Story of Our Song. The film brings to the screen the life of Dalvanius Prime – the man who brought disco to Australia – and through him a story of the Maori people. When Dalvanius returns to the small town of Pātea, he not only comes face-to-face with the reality of a dying mother but also with a devastated community whose livelihood was on the brink when the Freezing Works were shut down. The lives of everyone in Pātea were up in the air as families struggled to make ends meet. Dalvanius did the only one thing he could to make ends meet – tour and sing in a Eme when being Māori meant you had to watch where you stepped.
April 25-May 2, 2018 at various theaters and locations in Los Angeles, Encino, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) builds community awareness, appreciation and pride in the diversity of the Jewish people through film. The mission of LAJFF is to preserve and celebrate our rich Jewish heritage; to cultivate Jewish values and the quality of Jewish life in our community (not only for the affiliated but unaffiliated); and to create and maintain a sense of community by providing important and exciting programming for individuals, families and organizations.
April 26, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
50/50 Day is a free day and global initiative for people to engage in conversation about working towards a more gender-balanced world in all sectors of society: business, politics, culture, home, and more. Join us as we host a film screening and panel discussion to talk about what it will take to get a more gender-balanced world.
April 26-May 3, 2018 at Writers Guild Theater and Laemmle Music Hall
South East European Film Festival educates about and promotes cultural diversity of South East Europe through its annual presentations of films from this region and year-round screenings and programs. SEEfest organizes conferences and retrospectives, serves as the cultural hub and resource for scholars and filmmakers, and creates opportunities for cultural exchange between Southern California and South East Europe.
April 26-May 3, 2018 at various theaters in Orange County
The Newport Beach Film Festival seeks to bring to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. Committed to enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The 19th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival will take place April 26-May 3, 2018. Enjoy 100s of Independent films, public Galas and industry events.
April 27-29, 2018 at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center and Raleigh Studios
Founded in 1996 by Sandra Evers-Manly, BHERC is a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of Blacks in film and television. BHERC programs include film festivals, award ceremonies, book signings, script readings, contests, scholarships, and other programs and special events. BHERC recognizes the contributions of Black men and women in front of and behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Featuring the artistry of emerging African American filmmakers with moderated Q&A with directors, cast and crew providing insight and opportunity to engage in dialogue. View over 80 films from around the world.
April 28, 2018 at South Park Center
NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) celebrates BritWeek with independent cinema on April 28th with a selection of UK and local films. The night begins with UK feature film Let Me Go by Polly Steele, an intergenerational story about the unraveling of a family secret and its emotional impact on three mothers and three daughters. Second is InFocus: BritWeek, a collection of short films from by UK filmmakers that include stories of love, family strife, foreboding and the search for human connection. The night concludes with a narrative shorts program highlighting local Los Angeles talent and prominently features themes of finding, losing and letting go.
April 28-May 19, 2018 at Billy Wilder Theater
The power of the moving image to connect people across cultural, political and national differences has been embodied nowhere more profoundly over the last several decades than in the humanism, artistry and courage of Iranian filmmakers. UCLA Film & Television Archive has been presenting the best of their work in this annual survey for almost 30 years and it does so again this year with a renewed sense of purpose. Our current series includes films from new voices, current masters and a special tribute screening to one of Iranian cinema’s most influential and important artists, Bahram Beyzaie. Each film, in its own way, reflects the complex realities of contemporary Iran and the Iranian diaspora, while its storytelling resonates beyond specific contexts to unite us as viewers and human beings. It is anticipated some filmmakers will appear in person, wherever possible, to discuss their work. Please check the website for updates on in-person guests.
April 29, 2018 at Olive Tree Restaurant
Please join the Arab Film and Media Institute and Olive Tree Restaurant for AFMI COMMUNITY NIGHT in Orange County! Catch some of the hottest films that have screened at the ARAB FILM FESTIVAL, like Gaza Surf Club. In the midst of rubble, debris, abandoned tanks, and bombed-out buildings, the Gaza Strip’s 1.7 million denizens have no immediate means of escape. Surf culture has emerged as an outlet for down-trodden youth to experience a taste of freedom, strewn across 26 miles of Mediterranean coastline. With a rough-around-the-edges yet sincere approach to documentary form, filmmakers Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine introduce viewers to Gaza’s surfing subculture, with the endpoint directed at revealing the ever-burning formations of hope. Screened in the official selections of the 2016 Toronto and Dubai International Film Festivals.
May 1-31, 2018 at various locations throughout Los Angeles.
The Jonathan Gold Film Festival will feature screenings around L.A. of more than 20 food-focused movies, including My Dinner with Andre, City of Gold, Babette’s Feast, and Dinner, Dessert and a Movie at Silver Lake’s Casita del Campo (a screening of the Mexican film Like Water for Chocolate accompanied by chocolate margaritas and Mexican chocolate ice cream). – WeLikeLA.com
May 2, 2018 at Consulado General de México en Los Ángeles
The CCCM is proud to host every first Wednesdays of the month a series of short films and documentaries directed by Mexican filmmakers! The Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos, A.K.A CUEC, is the film school of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the oldest in Latin America and one of the most important film schools in the continent.
May 3-9, 2018 at Egyptian Theatre and Aero Theatre
The 5th Annual STARRING EUROPE: New Films from the EU Festival will kick off May 3rd till May 9th, for a 6-day cinematic treat featuring some of the most charismatic & thought provoking films of the European Union! Starring Europe is a cultural and social event and serves as a vehicle to bring arts and culture from the EU to Los Angeles while simultaneously spotlighting festival award winners from 14 EU countries. The short and feature films embody the rich heritage and diversity of cinema of Europe, while presenting them in the film capital of the world: Los Angeles! The opening night will include red carpet arrivals and an opening night reception. With film talent invited to speak at screenings, panel discussions and a closing night fashion show, this is an ideal way for expats and Los Angeles residents alike to experience these European delicacies. Eight of the festival’s film features make their international premieres at this year’s Starring Europe!
May 3-12, 2018 at various theaters in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Koreatown, and Hollywood
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is set to bring an incredible collection of Asian and Asian Pacific American films celebrating 34 years by presenting 118 films from across the globe. The festival kicks off Asian Pacific Heritage Month of May with award winning films, world premieres, Los Angeles premieres, and milestone film events highlighting communities worldwide. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of the award winning feature SEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing. Centerpiece films showcase the world premieres of Caylee So & Sok Visal’s IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and Bobby Choy’s (aka Big Phony) FICTION AND OTHER REALITIES. The closing night film is the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge. Every year, the LAAPFF INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE highlights new films and filmmakers from around the world. This year is no different as the Festival boasts acclaimed features from Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, China, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom.
May 5, 2018 at American Film Institute
“Day of Black Docs” is BADWest’s annual presentation of high-quality documentaries directed by and/or produced by Black filmmakers. Two award winning feature-length documentaries and two shorts will be screened: 2018 Pan African Film Festival Jury Prize and Audience Award Winner, “SAMMY DAVIS JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME,” and “MAYNARD” both directed by Sam Pollard (editor of many Spike Lee films) and the film shorts “EVIDENCE OF THE EVIDENCE” by Alex Johnston and “BIG CITY BLUES” by the late St Clair Bourne, founder of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers West.
May 7, 2018, Art Theater Long Beach
A group of Special Task Force Officers are sent to Prei Klaa prison where are detained the country’s top criminals (Celine Tran, Savin Phillip, Remy Hou, Sisowath Siriwudd, Ros Mony). What starts as a simple escort mission will soon turn into chaos as the prisoners take over the prison grounds. Trapped in the building, our 4 heroes (Tharoth Oum Sam, Dara Our, Dara Phang, Jean Paul Ly) will have to fight their way out for survival, or die trying.
May 8, 2018, at Art Theatre Long Beach
Daze of Justice is the intimate story of trailblazing Cambodian-American women who break decades of silence, abandoning the security of their American homes on a journey back to resurrect the memory of their loved ones before the UN Special Tribunal prosecuting the Khmer Rouge. The film follows Dr. Leakhena Nou’s research, taking the viewer beyond the Killing Fields. The women find the courage to remember their past and not only generate a vocabulary for reclaiming their past, but pave a path that extends the promise of redemption for future generations.
May 12, 2018, at Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
We invite you to celebrate women through music, film, discussions and art. The evening will include a performance by Alice Bag, a pioneering punk Chicana singer & songwriter who created the first wave of punk in Los Angeles. Chulita Vinyl Club, an all-female vinyl collective will DJ the evening. Enjoy a performance by ELLA; live art installations by Grab Bag Studio; a documentary, OVARIAN PSYCOS, directed by Kate Trumbull-LaValle & Johanna Sokolowski; and intriguing conversations with Mujeres de Maiz.
May 19, 2018 at South Park Center
Join NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) in celebrating independent cinema at their Monthly Film Festival on Saturday, May 19th! Featured is an InFocus Film Program dedicated to Asian Cinema, the World Premier of the feature Captain Hagen’s Bed & Breakfast and 4 fantastic additional shorts.
May 24, 2018 at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The 4th Annual LAUSD Student Film Festival will take place on May 24th at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. Hundreds of students from across Los Angeles will come together to share their short films and support their peers. The hour-long showcase features student-produced animations, thrillers, music videos, documentaries and more! Please join us in celebrating the cinematic brilliance of our students and the next generation of filmmakers!
May 26-June 2, 2018 at Electric Lodge
7th Annual GIIFF Garifuna Int’l Indigenous Film Festival
supports the preservation of Garifuna and indigenous cultures. The Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival is pleased to announce the Black Mexico Exhibition, films, documentaries, music videos, animations, VR’S making their WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING, US Premieres, Los Angeles & Venice Premieres at the Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival.