Guillermo del Toro has been named Guest Director of the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, running June 16-26, 2011. Also announced today were gala screenings, a special screening of Green Lantern and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark as the Closing Night Film. From the official press release and addendum:

Today the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by the Los Angeles Times and supported by L.A. LIVE, announced Guillermo del Toro as Guest Director, as well as film selections for closing night, a special screening, galas, conversations and more. As previously announced, the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival will screen a diverse slate of over 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 30 countries. The Festival ­– produced by Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that also produces the Spirit Awards – will announce opening night, additional galas, special guests and programming for the Festival Talks later this month.

In his role as Guest Director, del Toro will select a film to present at the Festival that has been an influence to him, followed by a conversation.

“Guillermo del Toro is one of the most visionary directors of our time. It’s an honor to welcome Guillermo back to our Festival as this year’s Guest Director and to unite our audiences with this extraordinary, consummate artist,” said Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham. “Building on a tradition of providing our audiences with access to world-class artists and their work, we’re thrilled to announce this round of Festival additions.”

FilmDistrict’s world premiere of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark will close the Festival on June 26 at Regal Cinemas Stadium 14 L.A. LIVE. Presented by Guillermo del Toro, the horror film is directed by Troy Nixey, written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins and stars Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison. Based on the 1973 telefilm that del Toro believes is the scariest TV production ever made, the story follows Sally (Madison), a young girl who moves to Rhode Island to live with her father (Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Holmes) in the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the house, Sally starts to hear voices coming from creatures in the basement whose hidden agenda is to claim her as one of their own. FilmDistrict will release the film on August 26, 2011.

The Festival will hold a Special Screening on June 16 at 10:30 p.m. of Warner Bros. Green Lantern. Bringing the enduringly popular superhero to the big screen for the first time, Green Lantern is directed by Martin Campbell, written by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, and stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins. In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite, powerful force has existed for centuries–protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the universe, their fate and the fate of the Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan. Warner Bros. will release the film wide on June 17, 2011.

Once again, the Festival will feature a number of high-profile Gala Screenings, with additional films to be announced later this month. Summit Entertainment’s world premiere of A Better Life is directed by Chris Weitz, written by Eric Eason, adapted from a story by Roger L. Simon, and starring Demián Bichir, José Julián, Dolores Heredia, Joaquín Cosío and Carlos Linares. A Better Life is the poignant, suspenseful tale of an illegal immigrant in LA struggling to build a better life for his beloved son. Summit Entertainment will have a limited release of the film on June 24, 2011.

FilmDistrict’s North American premiere of Drive will also be presented as a Gala. The film is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, written by Hossein Amini, adapted from a book by James Sallis, and stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Ron Perlman and Christina Hendricks. In the precision-crafted crime caper Drive, Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for criminal operations by night. FilmDistrict will release the film wide on September 16, 2011.

The omnivorously talented James Franco will be sitting down for a freewheeling discussion of film, poetry and pushing the creative envelope. As part of this special evening, Franco will present the world premiere of The Broken Tower, which he wrote, directed and stars in, about the brief, burning life of the gay, visionary American poet Hart Crane.

Film and stage director Julie Taymor has a unique talent for adapting established works in fresh, exciting ways. From her 1999 debut feature film Titus, Academy Award-winning Frida, Across the Universe and last year’s The Tempest, Taymor demonstrates a level of creativity and skill for adapting stories that is rare. Join us as this award-winning director shares behind-the-scenes clips in a conversation about taking material from different sources and translating them to the stage and the screen.

“Something very special happens when you have great talents sharing their experience with an audience. We’re honored and excited to have such artists as Guillermo del Toro, Julie Taymor, James Franco, Chris Weitz, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Nicolas Winding Refn joining us this year. It should make for some magical nights!” said Festival Artistic Director David Ansen.

Returning to downtown Los Angeles, with its central hub at L.A. LIVE, the Festival will run from Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 26. Now in its seventeenth year, the Festival is recognized as a world-class event, showcasing the best in new American and international cinema and providing the movie-loving public with access to critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.

Passes to attend the Festival are currently available to the general public, with special rates for Film Independent members. In addition to screenings and events, Festival passes provide access to a series of networking receptions and entry to the Filmmaker Lounge, where Festival pass holders can interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale beginning May 31. Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345-6337) or visit LAFilmFest.com. Festival passes and tickets can also be purchased in person beginning on Monday, June 13 at the Coca-Cola Ticket Center, located in the Festival Village on the rooftop of the West Parking Garage at L.A. LIVE.


Closing Night Film:
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Troy Nixey (FilmDistrict) – WORLD PREMIERE

Special Screening:
Green Lantern, Martin Campbell (Warner Bros.)

Gala Screenings (2):
A Better Life, Chris Weitz (Summit Entertainment) – WORLD PREMIERE
Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn (FilmDistric) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Conversations (2):
An Evening with James Franco – includes world premiere screening of The Broken Tower and conversation with James Franco.
The Art of Translation: A Conversation with Julie Taymor

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  1. Rennie Sharp says:

    Its truly an honor to have your film presented at these events, even more so when your fellow colleagues recognize your contributions. It is enormous honor, with this summer much anticipated upcoming release of “The Green Lantern” and “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark”

    These writers and directors were to be able to see your vision and voice come to life this is where dreams are made and come true. Great job fellows. Many Blessings.

    Rennie Sharp

  2. Mark Bell says:

    Press releases contain strange phrases…

  3. alan says:

    “omnivorously talented Franco”? Unless he’s written a cookbook, I don’t understand the use of that word here. Sorry for being pedantic, I’m just bewildered by that sentence.

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