Film Independent said on Wednesday (31) that the LA Film Festival will close down after 18 years and be replaced by a series of year-round events.
Programmes will include a number of new initiatives to be announced in coming months as well as several that have traditionally taken place during the festival, among them VR and immersive storytelling showcase The Portal, produced in partnership with Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television.
Events include a two-day event centred on inclusion in the film industry, launched in 2013 by Stephanie Allain and continued by Hasan Foster, film financing market Fast Track, and Future Filmmakers, featuring work by LA high-school students.
“We took a hard look at the healthy growth of Film Independent’s year-round programmes and events over the past six years: the Spirit Awards, our film series curated by Elvis Mitchell, membership, labs, workshops, filmmaker grants and international programmes,” said Mary Sweeney, chair of the Film Independent board.
“In the end, we concluded that the organisation should explore a more nimble, sustainable form of exhibiting and celebrating independent film artists year round.”
“While we are very proud of what we’ve accomplished with the LA Film Festival over the past 18 years, the truth is that it has struggled to thrive, and the time has come for us to try something new,” said Josh Welsh, Film Independent president.
“We are all deeply grateful to Jennifer Cochis for her vision, passion, and creativity and we’re enormously proud of the festival that she oversaw these past two years. We remain committed to serving filmmakers and film audiences across Los Angeles.”
Film Independent will cut three full-time staff positions, as it continues with its suite of programmes and events that include: The Film Independent Spirit Awards; Film Independent Presents, curated by Elvis Mitchell; mentoring initiatives Global Media Makers and Project Involve; and the Filmmaker Labs and the Film Independent Forum and Directors Close-Up.