The 2002 Los Angeles FilmFestival is to introduce a new prize awarded to the director of the bestdramatic feature in competition worth $50,000. IFP/West executive director DawnHudson unveiled the award yesterday which will be furnished by thefestival's key sponsor Target, one of the biggest retail store circuitsin the US.

The prize, which is thelargest cash prize bestowed by a major US film festival, will lend weight tothe LA Film Festival, which is being revamped since its association with thenon-profit Independent Feature Project/West began last year. At last year'sevent, for example, the festival was notable for the world premiere of EdBurns' Sidewalks Of New Yorkand screenings of new movies such as Kissing Jessica Stein which scored a worldwide deal with Fox Searchlightafter its screening.

The festival has also beenmoved from its pre-Cannes April slot to June (June 21-29 this year. Deadlinefor festival submissions is Mar 22.