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LA Film Fest Move Downtown Ignites Debate

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 9, 2010 at 10:12AM

The Los Angeles Film Festival move from its home in Westwood (which worked well for four years) to downtown Los Angeles is stirring mixed response. It's not dissimilar to the reaction to Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson's taking the Indie Spirit Awards from the beach to downtown. That didn't play so well either. I don't mind going downtown for the occasional museum or concert visit-- but the idea of threading my way through rush hour traffic repeatedly over the course of a festival (June 17 to 27) gives me pause. (David Poland agrees.) UCLA-adjacent college town Westwood, with its cluster of movie theaters was easy to get to, walkable and intimate. I think that while the LAFF believes this will expand their base and accommodate growing attendance, they're taking a serious risk.
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Thompson on Hollywood

The Los Angeles Film Festival move from its home in Westwood (which worked well for four years) to downtown Los Angeles is stirring mixed response. It's not dissimilar to the reaction to Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson's taking the Indie Spirit Awards from the beach to downtown. That didn't play so well either. I don't mind going downtown for the occasional museum or concert visit-- but the idea of threading my way through rush hour traffic repeatedly over the course of a festival (June 17 to 27) gives me pause. (David Poland agrees.) UCLA-adjacent college town Westwood, with its cluster of movie theaters was easy to get to, walkable and intimate. I think that while the LAFF believes this will expand their base and accommodate growing attendance, they're taking a serious risk.

Here's Variety, indieWIRE, and Gregory Ellwood.

This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Los Angeles Film Festival, Independents


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.