LAist Film Calendar 07/21-07/24: The LA Shorts Fest


'Stupid Questions' courtesy Jesse Kahnweiler (Photo by Patrick Gookin)

The short film was once a cornerstone of the theatrical experience (think "The Twenty", only worth watching). A cinematic laboratory, short films test talents & technologies, often in less time than it takes to read this column. In an age of digital streaming, the LA Shorts Fest offers a rare opportunity to see these small films back on the big screen. The 15th annual fest begins tomorrow at the Sunset 5, and runs through the 29th.

The LA Shorts Fest's opening night boasts the latest short from Terry Gilliam (Brazil), The Wholly Family. This time he brings the fear & loathing all the way from Las Vegas to Naples. Stay in Italy for the North American premiere of La Luna, the latest Pixar short from up-and-comer Enrico Casarosa. First-time filmmakers you may have heard of are actresses Eva Mendes with California Romanza, Jessica Biel with Sodales & Rachel Weisz with The Thief.

While that's the VIP extravaganza, it's actually the 4th of an astounding 39 programs. A session screens daily at 1PM, 3:15PM, 5:30PM, 7:45PM & 10PM, each with at least 5 shorts (sometimes much more). Here's a sampling from the 9th program, playing Friday at 10. The lengthiest piece (at a "whopping" half hour) is local-to-the-core comedy Stupid Questions, which we first covered back in March & still like quite a bit. The Echo Park shot-and-set short plays alongside After The Credits, an Australian meta-comedy; Some Things Are Worse Than Being Gay, a Jewish lesbian comedy; The List, a stylish twist on relationship advice from another Angeleno, Greg Moise; My First Claire, a different kind of romance about a boy & his babysitter; and Shanghai Love Market, about Chinese parents who hang around a park prowling pictures of mates for their unwed children.

Films throughout this weekend run the gamut from a bluesy adaptation of a country classic (A Boy Named Sue; Thursday at 3:15) to a fictional meeting of Grace Kelly & Audrey Hepburn (Before Breakfast; Saturday at 7:45) and even a Bukowski-inspired, Tom Waits-scored animation (Breakfast with Bukowski; Sunday at 1). Some films can be previewed on the LA Shorts Fest's website. If you're looking for specifics, titles can be searched or categories browsed, or just pick a time & go in blind. If you don't like what you see, take a break to refill your popcorn & come back for something completely different. Try saying that about Friends With Benefits.

If your attention span can bear two whole hours of just one story, there are plenty of features outside the fest. Full list appears below.

All Week
15th Annual L.A. Shorts Fest (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Another Earth (2011) (The Landmark)
Blackthorn (2011) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
Buck (2011) (Regent Theatre) (Laemmle's Music Hall 3)
Good Day For It (2011) (Downtown Independent)
Life Above All (2010) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
A Little Help (2011) (Laemmle's Sunset 5) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Melancholia (2011) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
Project Nim (2011) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Sarah's Key (2010) (The Landmark)
Singham (2011) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Terri (2011) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
The Tree (2010) (Nuart Theatre)
The Tree of Life (2011) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7)

Thursday 7/21
Beats, Rhymes, and Life (2011) (Arclight Hollywood) (21+ show)
Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death of Patty Schemel (2011) (w/ director P. David Ebersole, producer Todd Hughes, Patty Schemel, & Eric Erlandson) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Don't Knock the Rock)
The Honeymoon Killers (1970) (LACMA)
Horrible Bosses (2011) (Arclight Beach Cities) (Arclight Sherman Oaks) (21+ show)
The Jerk (1979) / Little Shop of Horrors (1986) (Aero Theatre)
Kimchi Chronicles, Episodes 4 & 5 (2011) (free event) (Korean Cultural Center)
Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
On the Waterfront (1954) / A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) (New Beverly Cinema)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) (Arclight Beach Cities) (21+ show)

Friday 7/22
Fright Night (1985) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
Good Day For It (2011) (w/ director and cast at 7:30pm show) (Downtown Independent)
In a Lonely Place (1950) / The Long Goodbye (1973) (LACMA) (Celebrating Classic Cinema: Curator and Audience Favorites)
Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation (1953) (Old Town Music Hall)
The Matrix (1999) (Regency Academy) (Insomniac Cinema Midnight Movie)
Purple Noon (1962) / Knife in the Water (1962) (New Beverly Cinema)
Road to Nowhere (2010) (Art Theatre of Long Beach) (Mondo Fridays)
Silent Clowns (Aero Theatre)
Thank God It's Friday (1978) (w/ actress Robin Menken) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Reflections in a Mirrored Ball)
Wild Strawberries (1957) / The Phantom of Liberty (1974) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (The Cinema of Dreams)

Saturday 7/23
1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992) (w/ filmmakers & guests) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Don't Knock the Rock)
A Boy Called Dad (2009) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Bride Flight (2008) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Chinatown (1974) / The Two Jakes (1990) (w/ screenwriter Robert Towne) (Aero Theatre)
Cinefamily Pajama Party VII: Skateland U.S.A. (1979) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
The Exterminating Angel (1962) (LACMA) (Celebrating Classic Cinema: Curator and Audience Favorites)
The House of the Devil (2009) (New Beverly Cinema) (New Beverly Midnights)
It Happened One Night (1934) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings) (Summer Series)
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) (LACMA) (Saturday Monster Matinees)
The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground (2010) (free event) (Skirball Cultural Center)
Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation (1953) (Old Town Music Hall)
Mulholland Dr. (2001) (LACMA) (Celebrating Classic Cinema: Curator and Audience Favorites)
The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad! (1988) (midnight show) (Laemmle's Royal Theatre)
The Names of Love (2010) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Page One (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
People's Choice Film (Devil's Night Drive In)
Purple Noon (1962) / Knife in the Water (1962) (New Beverly Cinema)
Reservoir Dogs (1992) (Outdoor Cinema Food Fest) (Exposition Park)
River of No Return (1954) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Tracking the Cat: Robert Mitchum in the West)
Roar (1981) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
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)

Sunday 7/24
13 Assassins (2010) / Yojimbo (1961) (New Beverly Cinema)
A Boy Called Dad (2009) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Bride Flight (2008) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Forks Over Knives (2011) (w/ free brunch from Whole Foods) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Lapislazuli: Eye of the Bear (2005) (Goethe-Institut) (Kinder Kino)
Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation (1953) (Old Town Music Hall)
The Names of Love (2010) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Page One (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) (The Bay Theatre)
Roar (1981) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
The Vintage (1957) (w/ director Jeffrey Hayden and actors Theodore Bikel & John Kerr) (Aero Theatre)
The Wonderful Country (1959) (w/ author Alan K. Rode) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Tracking the Cat: Robert Mitchum in the West)

That's all for this week. See you at the movies!