For the fifteenth year, the Los Angeles Film Festival is coming to town June 18-28. As always, the festival will be showing films from around the world, independent and student films, emerging directors, family films, free screenings, and cult classics, as well as workshops and lectures.This year, a special feature will include selections from the Ambulante Film Festival. Founded in 2005 by actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, Ambulante is a traveling showcase of documentaries and was created to promote documentary culture in Mexico.Speaking at a press conference to launch LAFF, Bernal and Luna explained the origins of Ambulante.â€œIt started with a film made by a friend, Tropic of Cancer,â€ said Bernal. â€œWe saw the film-it was a personal endeavor, a small film that was incredibly brilliant. We wanted to support the film in some way. â€œ They distributed the film themselves but realized that it was difficult to promote a single documentary. The solution that came to them was to collect a group of documentary films and produce a traveling festival.Ambulante has visited 16 cities in Mexico as well as several other countries. Bernal and Luna obtained a partnership with a chain of Mexican cinemas, but decided to open the festival up to outdoor venues, making it more accessible to all people. â€œIn Oaxaca, we saw 3000 people watching a film about a rock band in the plaza, at about 9:30 p.m.,â€ said Luna.In answer to a friendâ€™s question as to why they are promoting films that they donâ€™t appear in as actors, Luna replied: â€œBecause before we were actors, we were audience!â€The Ambulante selections for the LAFF are Born Without by Eva Norvind, a film about a street performer who was born without arms, El General by Natalia Almada, a film essay on former Mexican president General Calles, and Rehje by Anais Huerta and Raul Cuesta, a return-to- oneâ€™s-hometown story.In addition to these films, LAFF will be screening 21 international films, seven films in a narrative competition, seven documentaries in competition, 11 advance screenings of summer releases, and some special programs with titles like â€œDark Waveâ€ (scary films) and â€œGuilty Pleasures.â€The centerpiece of the festival will be the new Michael Mann action thriller Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard, and Christian Bale, in the story of gangster John Dillinger.Other special programs, guest stars, and venues will be announced in the near future.Tickets go on sale May 29. Contact 866.FILM.FEST or visit LAFilmFest.com. Festival passes and tickets will also be on sale beginning June 12 at the Festival Ticketing Center at 1038 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles.
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