Jewish Journal

LA Film Festival

by Joy Bennett

June 27, 2013 | 3:30 pm

Los Angeles Film Festival Photo by Joy Bennett

Last Sunday, June 23rd was the closing night of the Los Angeles Film Festival, and what an exceptional festival it was.  I went to many of the events throughout the festival, which ran from June 13 to June 23, 2013.  I was generously given a press pass to the festival from Film Independent, the festival's organizers.  

For a complete coverage of everything I wrote and photographed about the festival, go to joybennett.com, and use the index tabs on the top right to select LA Film Festival.  That will give you only the posts about the festival.  Then go to Flickr.com/joybennett and scroll down through the photos to see the many shots from the festival.  The festival had a huge number of events, so there's quite a lot of photos and coverage available, although of course I couldn't get to all the events.  

Sunday's closing night event on June 23rd featured a special screening of the new film The Way, Way Back.   I got there in time to stand in the rush line for the screening of the film,  which stars Steve Caroll and Toni Collette.  Most of the stars and filmmakers from the film were there at the theatre, and they had an huge Red Carpet set up before the showing as the stars arrived at the film festival.  I chatted with friends while in line, and got to  peak around at the Red Carpet but was soon rushed into the film.  The place was packed and it was a most exciting evening.  

While waiting in the theatre for the movie to start, I met Nolan Gerard Funk, a highly successful working actor.  He has been in the TV shows Awkward, Glee, the film The House at the End of the Street, many other films and TV shows, and was Conrad on Broadway in Bye, Bye Birdie.  Couldn't have been nicer, he spoke to me for a few minutes and I discovered he is originally from Vancouver, Canada and now lives in LA.  He's a very handsome, polite and focused young man and doubtless this has contributed greatly to his success.

Now on to the film we saw.  The Way, Way Back, directed and written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, is a perfect confection of a summer film.  Light, funny, and well-acted, it was the  perfect way to end an amazing film festival.  The movie stars Steve Carell, who for once is an unsympathetic character (excellent as always); Toni Collette (a beautiful and gifted actress), Liam James, also terrific, and others.  They all do a great job and lend this rather light piece a great deal of heavyweight acting chops.  It is reminiscent of The Descendents, without quite the emotional punch of the other film's dramatic arc.  Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable movie, and opens in theatres July 5th.

I tried to get in to the after party, but alas, could not, so I walked over the Lawry's The Carvery at L.A. LIVE and had a delicious fresh turkey sandwich and mashed potatoes, yum!   More film festival coverage on my website joybennett.com, and lots more photos on my Flickr page here: flickr.com/joybennett

Be sure to check out the LA Film Festival next June, for more information about the festival, visit their website here:  lafilmfest.com.  Congratulations to all the staff, filmmakers, volunteers and board members of  Film Independent for a remarkable 2013 LA Film Festival.  Until next year!  

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Joy Bennett lives in Santa Monica, California and is the author of Under a Quarter Moon, a poetry and short story collection; and a novel called Cruise.  She has also been...

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