The LA Film Festival announced 42 world premieres in its competition lineup on Tuesday, boasting strong representation by women and ethnic minorities among the featured directors.
The nine-day event, hosted by Film Independent, the producer of the pre-Oscar Spirit Awards, features five categories for feature films—US fiction, documentary, world fiction, “Nightfall” and “LA Muse.”
Organizers said 43 percent of the directors of the features in competition are women and 38 percent ethnic minorities, while almost two-thirds of the 58 shorts were made by women.
“The competition lineup of 42 world premieres echoes Film Independent’s mission to celebrate diversity and showcases a multitude of innovative, fresh voices,” said festival director Stephanie Allain.
“We can’t wait to share these films with audiences and industry alike and… are confident that 2016 will mark our best Festival yet.”
Ricardo de Montreuil’s “Lowriders” has been selected to open the 22nd edition of the annual festival, which runs from June 1 to 9 at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood and Culver City.
Set against the backdrop of east LA’s car culture, “Lowriders” features Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria and Melissa Benoist, best known for her portrayal of the title character in hit TV show “Supergirl.”
The film follows Danny, a talented young street artist caught between the lowrider world inhabited by his old-school father and ex-con brother, and his adrenaline-fueled need for self-expression.
Film Independent has also announced that Ryan Coogler, who most recently directed Rocky spin-off “Creed,” will serve as the event’s 2016 guest director.
The indie showcase has developed considerably since its original
incarnation as the Los Angeles Independent Festival in 1995, with attendance growing from around 19,000 in its early years to a routine 75,000 to 90,000 since Film Independent took over in 2001.
“Discovering storytellers is our raison d’etre,” said programming director Roya Rastegar.
“We invest a great deal to learn about filmmaking communities across the globe. We look for films with conviction in perspective, style and voice.”