LA Film Festival Calls It Quits After 18 Years

A still from the Fire on the Hill, one of the films selected for this year's L.A. Film Festival, which ended up being the last one. (Courtesy Film Independent)

This year's L.A. Film Festival will end up being the last one. The festival — which was held last month — is being brought to an end after 18 years. The nonprofit that runs it, Film Independent, has struggled to make the festival into a marquee event.

"While we are very proud of what we've accomplished with the L.A. Film Festival over the past 18 years, the truth is that it has struggled to thrive, and the time has come for us to try something new," Film Independent President Josh Welsh said in a release.

He expressed gratitude to festival director Jennifer Cochis for her work overseeing the festival for the past two years. She's expressed frustrations with movie executives ignoring the festival and its films.

"I have to have the participation of our industry," Cochis told KPCC's The Frame ahead of this year's festival. "I spent this past year going into the offices of these places saying, 'Look, we're your hometown film festival, I'm in your backyard — there's absolutely no excuse for you to not come out and support these budding filmmakers.'"

Film Independent said that its board of directors has voted to redirect the organization's resources to events year-round "aimed at building community and broadening its support of visual storytellers."

"We took a hard look at the healthy growth of Film Independent's year-round programs and events over the past six years," Film Independent Board of Directors Chair Mary Sweeney said in a release. "In the end, we concluded that the organization should explore a more nimble, sustainable form of exhibiting and celebrating independent film artists year-round."

The nonprofit plans to eliminate three full-time staff positions as part of ending the festival.

The organization touted the success of the Spirit Awards, their film series curated by Elvis Mitchell, their mentoring programs, and more.

Programs taking the place of the festival include some that used to be part of it, like:

  • The Portal, which showcases VR and other immersive storytelling
  • A two-day film industry inclusion event
  • Fast Track, a film financing market
  • Future Filmmakers, which promotes work from L.A. high schoolers

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