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This DTLA Rom Com Fest Has '10 Things I Hate About You,' So We're There

Hopefully, there will be fewer than 10 Things To Hate about this film festival. (Courtesy Touchstone Pictures)
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Ready to kick off some summer lovin', have you a blast? You'll get that opportunity with the inaugural Rom Com Fest, running this Thursday through Sunday in downtown L.A.

Romantic comedies have been having a bit of a moment (thanks, Netflix!), but this lets you get together with others who want to see stories of two apparently mismatched people who come to learn they're actually more alike than they thought. The festival is being held at the Downtown Independent theater, with each screening holding up to 220 people.

"The world we live in can be dark and bad, and I think rom-coms are this perfect escapism," festival founder Miraya Berke said. "Having a bit more lighthearted and happy, feel-good content to consume, I think, is really important -- for our own brains, but also as reminders of how to connect with other people."

Berke wanted to give people the pleasure of a more communal moviegoing experience, beyond just buying a ticket and watching something (while crying into your pint of ice cream).

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"With movies like rom-coms, you leave and you feel so full of love, and you're glowing, and you want to connect with people," Berke said.

To make those connections, the festival has panels and Q&A's, as well as themed crafts for different screenings.


One of the most experiential events is the late night How Stella Got Her Groove Back screening, inviting audiences to dress up in their pajamas -- and to enjoy CBD gummies as they chill out with the film's beach vibes.

The festival's guests include the writers of 10 Things I Hate About You for a special 20th anniversary screening -- they also wrote movies like Legally Blonde and She's The Man. Another of the anniversary screenings is Bride Wars, featuring writers/actresses Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael. If you wear white, they'll put a ring... pop on it.

The other major screening, for its 20th anniversary, is Never Been Kissed. It's curated by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom, bringing her own rom-com expertise to the event -- she'll be hosting a cozy post-movie fireside chat.


It's not just the romantic comedies you know and love and have broken up with people over their opinions on. They'll also be screening five brand new rom-coms to ignite the passion inside your heart, along with short films.

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One of the biggest of the new films is Summer Night, directed by Big Little Lies actor Joseph Cross. He'll be hosting a Q&A, and they're also offering a music trivia game paired with the movie.

Another film, Tracks, tells the story of a couple traveling around Europe. Stop by the craft table in the lobby to make one of your own travel journals before the show.

Or you can catch a screening of One Bedroom -- about a couple trying to decide whether to stay together or call it quits while moving out of their apartment. You'll be able to make small candles for your own apartment out in the lobby.

Prepare for some surprises too. Berke said that these aren't all your standard rom-coms, and some of them don't end up happily ever after.

Organizers also promise a live WhoHaHa Dirty Girl podcast taping, people reading their childhood diaries for Mortified Live, and rosé. So much rosé. The lobby will be filled with desserts and crafts. (The desserts make sense for Berke, who previously organized the Dessert Goals festival -- it's taking this year off, but they'll have a Dessert Goals pop-up as part of Rom Com Fest.)

Tickets are available individually, in two-packs (have at it, you lovebirds), or badges that let you into everything all weekend long -- plus an opening night party. You can see the full Rom Com Fest schedule here.