Top Picks for Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, LA Film Festival, and Dances With Films

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by Tom Nguyen

After Memorial Day weekend, the first week of June has always been my marker for when LA’s summer really starts: the calendar kicks into high gear, filling up with too many great cultural events nonstop between now and Labor Day. Plenty of music, dance, art…and film is no exception as June greets us with not one, not two, but three great film festivals: 10th Annual Los Angeles Greek Festival, 22nd Annual LA Film Festival which both opened last night and 19th Annual Dances With Films opening today.

All 3 festivals offer a wide swath of narrative features, documentaries and short films. With so much to see and so little time, I tend to skew towards documentaries. Here are my top 3 films for 3 festivals:

10th Annual Los Angeles Greek Festival (June 1-5)

“Suntan” – A lonely middle-aged doctor who gets a second chance at long-lost youth becomes obsessively fixated on a beautiful tourist.

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Kumpania: A Film about Flamenco in LA at Dances With Films Festival Fri May 31

If you’ve been to Subsuelo, voted as one of Los Angeles’ best underground parties, you’ve seen La Tigresa and other flamenco dancers and their guitarist partners putting on passionate performances. The dance’s quick, expressive movements with their arms and hand claps, arching, flaring bodies and loud staccato footwork on wooden floors are immediately mesmerizing to watch. For me, watching flamenco is like watching dancers who are consumed and possessed and I am entranced just watching them. Director Katina Dunn has made a documentary film exploring this very facet of the passionately authentic dance from the Romani (gypsy) people of Spain that has taken hold here in Los Angeles. The film Kumpania: Flamenco Los Angeles has its LA premiere at the 16th Annual Dances with Films Festival on Friday, May 31 at 2:45pm on the big screen of the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Many of the flamenco dancers and musicians who’ve performed on Subsuelo stages, like Gabriel Osuna and Gerardo Morales, are featured in the film and 2 of Subsuelo’s creators, Canyon Cody and Sean “Gnotes” Dwyer, created the score. As Katina Dunn explained me, “These are the most amazing artists – every one of them – and are hidden treasures of L.A. They are known in the tight flamenco community – but not outside. It is my hope they will be recognized in Los Angeles and be able to perform more. It is all they live for, to “live flamenco”, so don’t miss this film! Continue Reading →