LAist Film Calendar 06/02-06/05: Dances With Films & Mosaic LA Film Festivals

Last weekend was summer blockbusters. This weekend it's summer film festivals, courtesy of Dances With Films & the Mosaic LA Film Festival. Dances With Films boldly celebrates 14 years of "no politics, no stars, no s——" filmmaking at Laemmle's Sunset 5. The Mosaic LA Film Festival is a fledgling fest, leaving the nest Friday night at the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Below are trailers & capsule reviews of two Dances With Film entries as a sample of its independent selections.

Stags is an Apatow-esque coming-of-age dramedy, in which a group of late-thirty-somethings struggle to come to terms with a friend's wedding & sudden death. This becomes especially tricky when one of the gang discovers he has feelings for the new widow. Stags centers on shared memory and with its warm tones feels like a perpetual flashback. Ironically, the film can't seem to remember what it is and staggers between romantic comedy, bromantic comedy, sex comedy, workplace comedy & Seinfeldian life-as-standup comedy. Although there's no whole, some of the individual parts make expert use of stealth visual gags & the inappropriate zingers that can only be shared amongst one's closest friends. Stags' world premiere is Friday at 9:30PM.

Where Stags revolves around tight inner circles, Less is all about society's outsiders. Finn has lost everything. The newly homeless artist has spent two months "off the grid, off the cuff and just a little off [his] rocker". Mia has nothing to lose, but nothing to gain either. The mousey young barista is adrift all alone, with social phobias keeping her from making connections. Both share a creative energy (and later, a bed), but is it enough for either to move forward? Less hearkens back to the beat mentality, fusing a free-wheeling spirit with raw visuals of street life. The indie folk score & Finn's performance-art-panhandling lend a delicate nature to the film, but Less doesn't romanticize homelessness. The film never shies from roughness, and delivers literal punches to the gut. Less' LA premiere is Sunday at 7:15PM.

The Mosaic LA Film Festival is an intercontinental collection of shorts brought together by universal themes of love & loss. Under the banner "Journeys By Land & Scene", festival proceeds benefit Zume for Zambia, an international race which sustains a "children's village" for children orphaned by AIDS. Mosaic LA Film Festival screenings are accompanied by every element of the creative process: filmmaker Q&As, storyboard & costume displays, table readings for a screenplay competition and even a "Grip/PA Challenge". Hosts & judges include actors Cress Williams (Friday Night Lights), Lynn Downey & Tony Hale (Arrested Development), as well as executives & producers from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Accelerated Entertainment, 1019 Entertainment, McManus Studios & Columbia College Hollywood.

If a sunny fest isn't your forte, the Vampire Con Film Festival returns to the New Beverly with two deadly doubles. The original Fright Night & Vampire's Kiss (featuring a truly batty Nicolas Cage) screen on Friday, with blaxploitation horror epics Blacula & Scream, Blacula, Scream unspooling on Saturday. The Cinefamily's also got bats in their belfry, with a selection of psychedelic, subtitled, sexy vampire films and full-on Erotique Fantastique Masquerade Ball. Once you've spent all that time whitening your skin & darkening your soul, polish off your weekend at LACMA's continuing Tim Burton series.

Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

All Week
Beginners (2010) (The Landmark)
Dances With Films Festival (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (1948/2010) (w/ filmmaker Sandra Schulber) (Nuart Theatre)
Submarine (2010) (The Landmark)

Thursday 06/02
After Hours (1985) / Something Wild (1986) (New Beverly Cinema)
Erotique Fantastique Masquerade Ball (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
The Hangover Part II (2011) (Arclight Sherman Oaks) (21+ screening)
The Lady Vanishes (1938) / The Wrong Man (1956) (Egyptian Theatre) (Suspense Account: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock)
The Lickerish Quartet (1970) (w/ filmmaker Radley Metzger) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Smooth Operator: The Opulent Eroticism of Radley Metzger)
Nights of Cabiria (1957) (Aero Theatre) (A Second Childhood: The Films of Frederico Fellini)
Purgatorio (2008) (w/ director Roberto Rochin) (Long Beach Cinematheque)

Friday 06/03
Beetlejuice (1988) / Corpse Bride (2005) (w/ Catherine O'Hara) (LACMA) (The Fantastical Worlds of Tim Burton)
Camille 2000 (1963) (free event w/ filmmaker Radley Metzger) (Hammer Museum) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Smooth Operator: The Opulent Eroticism of Radley Metzger)
Dames (1934) (Old Town Music Hall)
Fright Night (1985) / Vampire's Kiss (1988) (New Beverly Cinema) (Vampire Con Film Festival)
Mosaic LA Film Festival (Petersen Automotive Museum)
Rear Window (1954) / The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) (Egyptian Theatre) (Suspense Account: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock)
Ruthless People (1986) (w/ directors David & Jerry Zucker) (Aero Theatre)
Shiver of the Vampires (1970) / Requiem for a Vampire (1973) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Jean Rollin Tribute w/ special guests)
Taxi Driver (1976) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
Team America: World Police (2004) (Regency Academy) (Insomniac Cinema Midnight Movie)

Saturday 06/04
8 1/2 (1963) (Aero Theatre) (A Second Childhood: The Films of Frederico Fellini)
Blacula (1972) / Scream Blacula Scream (1973) (New Beverly Cinema) (Vampire Con Film Festival)
Dames (1934) (Old Town Music Hall)
Harold and Maude (1971) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings) (Summer Series)
Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles: Student Film Festival (free event) (Downtown Independent)
Mars Attacks! (1996) / Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) (LACMA) (The Fantastical Worlds of Tim Burton)
"Out of the Archive: Recent Work from MIAS" (free event) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum)
Public Cowboy #1 (1937) / Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949) (Autry National Center)
Rejoice and Shout (2010) (free event) (Skirball Cultural Center)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O' The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Midnight Insanity Midnight Show) (South Coast Village Regency Theaters)
Spellbound (1945) / Saboteur (1942) (Egyptian Theatre) (Suspense Account: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock)
The Short History of Skate Shorts (feat. Skaterdater!) (1965-66) / Gleaming the Cube (1989) (w/ screenwriter Michael Tolkin) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Unforgiven (1992) (w/ producer David Valdes) (Outdoor Cinema Food Fest) (Exposition Park)

Sunday 06/05
Big Wednesday (1978) (The Bay Theatre)
Classic Films by Paul Sharits (Echo Park Film Center) (Los Angeles Filmforum)
Dames (1934) (Old Town Music Hall)
Last Tango in Paris (1972) / TBA (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
North by Northwest (1959) / Frenzy (1972) (Egyptian Theatre) (Suspense Account: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock)
The Transformers: The Movie (1986) (25th anniversary show w/ special guests) (Aero Theatre)
Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny (2010) (w/ director) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)

That's all for this week.