Dances With Films: LA Returns June 20-30 with Exciting Lineup Image

Dances With Films: LA Returns June 20-30 with Exciting Lineup

By Film Threat Staff | June 20, 2024

The 27th edition of Dances With Films: LA is back from June 20-30, bringing Los Angeles’ largest indie film-focused festival to the TCL Chinese Theatre (6925 Hollywood Blvd). This year, the festival is partnering with Outfest to enhance its LGBTQIA+ programming, expanding its Midnight Horror and Genre section, and continuing to celebrate music, dance, and family-friendly content in the Downbeat and Kidz sections. DWF: LA promises its most extensive film schedule yet, bookended by the world premieres of Mahesh Pailoor’s heartfelt drama Paper Flowers on Opening Night and Terre Weisman’s Max Dagan on Closing Night.

Dances With Films truly embodies the spirit of a “discovery” film festival. While you might spot an occasional former Oscar nominee, the focus is on showcasing top fresh talent from around the globe rather than established names. Unlike major market festivals that often program films by famous directors, DWF is dedicated to bringing emerging voices to Los Angeles.

DWF: LA has firmly established itself as the largest indie film festival in Los Angeles. If you’ve attended in the past few years, you know the scene: the TCL Chinese Theatre lobby buzzing with crowds rivaling those at any major fest, sold-out screenings, filmmakers doing photos and interviews on the orange carpet, and a lively atmosphere managed by someone with a microphone or bullhorn. It’s a festival like no other.

Closing Night: Max Dagan

This success comes at a time when many larger festivals are struggling. Dances With Films thrives, providing a model for how film festivals can grow, stay relevant, and attract diverse audiences by creating an exciting film-going experience.

This year’s lineup features 232 films, including 38 narrative features, 17 documentary features, 25 television and streaming pilots, and 152 short films. Impressively, 117 of these films are making their world, international, North American, or U.S. premieres, including 24 narrative features, 10 documentary features, 69 narrative shorts, 22 documentary shorts (including Downbeat), and 15 pilots.

Opening Night
Thursday, June 20, kicks off with the world premiere of Mahesh Pailoor’s Paper Flowers. Based on a true story, the film follows an ambitious USC graduate whose dream of making a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer is halted by a cancer diagnosis. The international cast includes Kapil Talwalkar, Olivia Liang, Karan Soni, Faran Tahir, Meera Simhan, and Tom Everett Scott.

Closing Night
Sunday, June 30, wraps up with the world premiere of Terre Weisman’s Max Dagan. The film follows Max Dagan as he races against time to free his terminally ill father from prison after a manslaughter conviction. The cast features Rob Morrow, Zachary Gordon, Michael Madsen, Rob Brownstein, Lindsey Dresbach, Lisa Roumain, and Jay Mohr.

World Premieres
Notable narrative features making their world premieres include:

– Nida Chowdhry’s Anxious—a surreal dark comedy about a woman whose anxiety attack leads her down a rabbit hole.
– Verner Maldonado’s Best Man Dead Man—a dark comedy about a bachelor party turned murder mystery.
– Kerry Ann Enright’s Nobody Wants to Shoot a Woman—a stark portrait of a marginalized mother turned criminal.
– Stimson Snead’s Tim Travers & The Time Travelers Paradox—a Sci-Fi comedy featuring Samuel Dunning, Felicia Day, Joel McHale, Danny Trejo, and Keith David.

LGBTQIA+ Programming
DWF: LA’s partnership with Outfest brings notable selections like:

– David Beck and Jennifer Bobbi’s Regarding Us—about a transgender woman impacting two children’s lives.
– Nayip Anthony Garcia’s Almost Popular—following two high school juniors aiming to join the elite POP Girls.
– Parker Brennon’s Hauntology—a queer horror anthology.

Midnight Horror and Genre
Highlights include:

– Kevin Mix’s Death Perception—a thriller where college students are picked off by a masked killer.
– Matt Warren’s Delicate Arch—is about friends encountering a cosmic force in Utah.
– Jeff Wolfe’s Mourning Rock—a psychological thriller starring Billy Burke.
– Craig Ouellette’s Straight On Till Morning—about a romantic road trip turned sinister.

Featured world premieres include:

Norita—executive produced by Jane Fonda, explores Argentina’s tumultuous history.
– Eryl Cochran’s Dance As You Are—a documentary filmed on iPhones following 100 strangers forming dance teams.
– Razieme Iborra’s How the West Was One—focusing on unconventional cowgirls.
– Rebecca Corry’s Saving Jones—about advocating for pit bulls.
– Bill Guttentag’s Spyral—telling the tragic true story of bipolarism and drug abuse.

How The West Was One

TV and Web Series Pilots
Dances With Films also showcases a strong lineup of TV and web series pilots, including:

– Elizabeth Cox and Kirill Yeretsky’s Ada—an animated series about a librarian dealing with humanity’s pressing problems.
– Dave Seger’s George of Tujunga—about a small-town moron whose life changes when his niece arrives.
– Jason Lee Courson’s Seeking…—about three roommates navigating life and love.
– Brian Wallace and James Longley’s World Twistories—exploring eccentric historical figures.

Dances With Films: LA is packed with innovative films and notable faces, including:

– Russell Goldman’s Burn Out—executive produced by Jamie Lee Curtis and starring Tommie Earl Jenkins.
– Eli Vidis Newman’s Concrete—starring Ed Harris.
– Kestrin Pantera’s Dr. No Means No—featuring The Sklar Brothers and Breeda Wool.
– Mike Harris’ Mecánica—starring Haley Joel Osment and Olivia Sandoval.
– Danny Farber’s Thoughts and Prayers—executive produced by Amy Poehler.

Join us for this exciting celebration of indie cinema at Dances With Films: LA from June 20-30.

Header Image: DWF:LA Opening Night Premiere of Paper Tigers

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