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Arts and Entertainment

The LA Film Festival Kicks Off!

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The LA Film Festival returns to Westwood tonight with the world premiere of Kasi LemmonsTalk to Me (not Talk To Me) at the Mann Village Theater. The film stars Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor and tells the story of Ralph Green, an ex-drug addict and convicted felon who became one of Washington D.C.’s most prominent disc jockeys and community activisits in the 60s and 70s. A sure to be congested after-party follows the screening.

The festival really kicks into gear on Friday as the films and events start to roll. Various passes are available at the festival’s box office and individual tickets can still be bought for most screenings. There’s also plenty of free stuff to catch. The Festival Promenade on Broxton has an outdoor lounge with sofas and tables where you can relax between movies. Live music and free screenings of such favorites as The Princess Bride and A Christmas Story are also gratis. The Promenade will also host aLive Earth Day and a Family Day over the weekend.

Next week will bring a series of free "Director Lunch Talks" with Los Angeles Times entertainment writer John Horn. Other events that may be worth your time are the Film Financing Conference, the outdoor screenings at the Ford Amphitheater, Diversity Day, an Entertainment Weekly talk with Michael Moore, a High School Screenings program and, of course, the mammoth Transformers screenings that will trample several theaters next Wednesday night. Tickets for that are sold out, but there's always eBay.

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As you can see, there's quite a lot to see and do this week if you're a film lover. And I haven't even mentioned the damn films yet! Whatever you prefer--documentaries, shorts, foreign films, independent features--all are in good supply at this year's festival. LAist will be providing daily coverage of the festival so check back each morning to see what's worth seeing that day.