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Pencil This In: HRIFF Festival Opens, 'West of Memphis' Film Screening, Betty White and a Beach House Art Talk

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Don't let a little rain get you down. Here's what's happening in LA tonight: a film festival opening, a free screening of the documentary 'West of Memphis,' a pooch rescue celebration, and an art conversation at the Annenberg Beach House. Read on for all the details.

Our fav Golden Girl Betty White helps celebrate the first anniversary of L.A. Love & Leashes, the first and only pet store in L.A. dedicated to animals from LA’s six city animal shelters tonight. The celebration begins at 5 pm of on the first floor of the Westside Pavilion with White making her appearance around 6 pm.

Tonight at Book Soup at 7 pm, David Ehrenstein discusses and signs his book Masters of Cinema: Roman Polanski. The influential French-Polish film director, producer, writer and actor helmed various films including the horror film (Rosemary's Baby, 1968), film noir (Chinatown, 1974), historical drama (Tess, 1979) and The Pianist (2002). Polanski’s life is also not without controversy, from his connection to Charles Manson murders to a rape allegation with an underage girl.

The Annenberg Beach House presents the program On Portraiture, a conversation with painter Don Bachardy and the Beach House’s writer-in-residence Charles Hood tonight at 6:30 pm. They’ll discuss the contemporary art scene, art history, celebrity and fame, emphasizing portraiture.Free with RSVP.

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Film Independent at LACMA presents a free screening of the documentary West of Memphis tonight at 7:30 pm at LACMA’s Bing Theater. Writer/director Amy Berg inspects the 1993 conviction of three teenagers in West Memphis, Arkansas, for the murders of three eight-year-old boys. The teens were found guilty on questionable evidence and largely condemned because they were accused of being satanic cult members. The film picks apart the prosectution’s case and also shines a light on the efforts of the West Memphis 3’s supporters—among them filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Eddie Vedder and Henry Rollins—to overturn the verdict 18 years after the murders. The film will be followed by a Q&A with writer/director Amy Berg and producers/subjects Damien Echols and his wife Lorri Davis. Ticket limit of two per person.

The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival (HRIFF), which supports and promotes independent cinema in Los Angeles, opens tonight and runs through Dec. 11 at both the New Beverly (Dec. 3-5) and at the Bellvarado Studios (Dec 6-11). One of today’s featured films is the American premiere of Bailout: The Age of Greed at 7:30 pm, followed by a Q&A with director Uwe Boll and cast members Edward Furlong, Dominic Purcell and Eric Roberts. Tickets for tonight’s screening: $10. Festival passes: $100.

*Pencil pick of the day

Want more events? Follow me on Twitter (@christineziemba). Or follow Lauren Lloyd—who takes care of Pencil on Wednesdays (@LadyyyLloyd).