Friday, October 28, 2016
  • Thursday, May. 5, 2016
Jonás Cuarón’s "Desierto" Named Closing Night Film At LA Fest; Ryan Coogler To Be Featured In Master Class
In this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 file photo, director Ryan Coogler attends The National Board of Review Gala, honoring the 2015 award winners, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. Coogler is one of the past DGA Student Film Award winners who have gone on to enjoy successful directorial careers. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
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The LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced the US Premiere of Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto as the Closing Night Film. The film stars Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hildalgo and Diego Cataño and will close the Festival on June 9. In addition the Festival will host the World Premiere Special Screening of James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 at the Festival on June 7. 

Also cinematographer Maryse Alberti will receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award. A Conversation will be held with filmmaker Nate Parker, actress Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder) and the cast of The Birth of a Nation. In this year’s Master Classes, Festival guest director Ryan Coogler and sound designer Steve Boeddeker will talk sound design, and production designer Alex McDowell will give a primer on virtual reality world building.
Additionally the cast and creators of one of the most acclaimed and highest rated basic cable series in years, The People v. O.J. Simpson, will be at the Festival for a screening of the final episode and to discuss the making of the show. On Tuesday, June 7 writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt) will be joined by actors Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance for a post-screening Q&A. The Festival also announced the Film Independent Member Screening of John Krasinski’s The Hollars, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, Sharlto Copley, John Krasinski, Charlie Day, Randall Park and Richard Jenkins. The Festival runs June 1-9, 2016 at ArcLight Cinemas.
“In L.A. we have access to the best talent in the world and I’m grateful that exceptional artists share their knowledge with our audiences,” said Stephanie Allain, Festival director. 
“Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto is a gripping thriller and a perfect way to close the LA Film Festival,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “Cuarón again reveals himself as a powerful new director. Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan give riveting performances.”
Desierto begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life but becomes a harrowing and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.-Mexican border. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer.
With The Conjuring 2, Wan now brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, first seen in the blockbuster The Conjuring, which debuted at the LA Film Festival in 2013. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to a house plagued by malicious spirits. The film also stars Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney and Franka Potente. It was written by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes & James Wan and David Leslie Johnson, and produced by Peter Safran and Rob Cowan. From New Line Cinema, The Conjuring 2 will be released in theaters nationwide on June 10.
For the third consecutive year at the LA Film Festival, principal sponsor Jaeger-LeCoultre pays tribute to a filmmaker who has brought great innovation to contemporary cinema by awarding its Glory to the Filmmaker Award. This year’s recipient is French cinematographer and artist Alberti whose work is lauded for its technical elegance, grit and beauty. Alberti recently completed principal photography on Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Edward Norton and lensed the 2015 hit Creed, directed by Coogler. She will be honored at the Women Behind the Lens Brunch during the Festival on Saturday, June 4. Lisa Cholodenko and Gale Ann Hurd are past recipients of the award.
The Festival will present a series of Master Classes and Conversations inviting acclaimed film artists to take part in moderated conversations that delve deeply into the creative process. On Thursday, June 2, a Conversation will be held with filmmaker and actor Parker, actress King and other cast members from the film The Birth of a Nation, who come to the LA Film Festival to reveal what it took to bring the story of African-American preacher and slave Nat Turner--who led one of the most important slave rebellions in U.S. history--to the big screen.

This year’s Master Classes will include an in-depth look at crafting the soundtrack to last year’s acclaimed Rocky reboot Creed, with director Coogler and his sound designer Boeddeker, sponsored by the Dolby Institute. The event takes place on Saturday, June 4.
The second Master Class features acclaimed production designer McDowell (Fight Club, Minority Report), who will give the Festival audience a glimpse into the future and demonstrate how virtual reality world building creates immersive entertainment & gaming experiences and aids in solving real-world problems. The event takes place on Wednesday, June 8.