The Los Angeles Film Festival is relocating to Downtown Los Angeles, one of the city’s fastest growing entertainment hubs, in the wake of concerns over the future of key theatres in its former Westwood base. 

Festival director Rebecca Yeldham said the goal was to develop a prestigious West Coast cultural event situated at the LA LIVE entertainment campus that encompassed screening venues throughout the city of Los Angeles. The event is scheduled to run from June 17-27.

Screenings and events will take place at the new Regal Cinemas LA LIVE Stadium 14, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, the Downtown Independent, the Soundstage Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum, JW Marriot Hotel Los Angeles at LA Live, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Los Angeles, Orpheum Theatre, and California Plaza.

The festival will continue its tradition of nighttime screenings at the outdoor John Anson Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood.

Yeldham said the locale was served by key transport arteries that would allow growth and added that many venues were within walking distance or a shuttle ride from the LA LIVE hub.

The Los Angeles Film Festival moved to Westwood Village in 2006, however businesses in the town have suffered during the recession and after the 2009 festival ended last summer organisers learned the Festival Theater was closing.

Further concerns over whether or not Mann would renew its leases on the Village and Bruin sites proved to be unfounded, however by then festival top brass had already earmarked the burgeoning downtown area as a suitable hub.

“We loved what we were seeing around the LA LIVE campus and fell in love with the history  of Los Angeles and the theatres there,” Yeldham said. “We saw an opportunity for expanding the footprint and celebrate old Los Angeles as well as the futuristic aspect that the LA LIVE campus offers.

“We want to grow attendance into the hundreds of thousands and there’s a real possibility of building a major cultural event. Westwood was a very important part of the festival’s growth.”

“Downtown Los Angeles continues to attract more of the city’s best music, visual arts, and dance events. We are delighted to have such an important film festival celebrating LA’s unique diversity, creative culture, and artistic talent join this growing arts community,” Olga Garay, executive director of the City Of Los Angeles Department Of Cultural Affairs, said.

“I am very excited about the programme that we are putting together,” LAFF artistic director and Newsweek critic David Ansen said. “We have wonderful films coming from all over the world and there will be a strong international flavour.”