Last week we interviewed the Director of The Los Angeles Film Festival, Rebecca Yeldham about the 2010 Festival. Rebecca has built a career championing films and filmmakers as a producer, festival programmer and production and acquisition executive.
Yeldham recently produced THE KITE RUNNER, directed by Marc Forster (nominated for 2008 BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards), LINHA DE PASSE, directed by Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas (winner best actress 2008 Cannes Film Festival), and the upcoming release ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, directed by first timer Sacha Gervasi (2008 Sundance Film Festival, 2009 SXSW and Spirit Award nominee and Audience Award winner at the 2008 LA, Sydney, and Galway Film Festivals). Her first collaboration with Walter Salles was on the award-winning THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES (nominated 2005 Golden Globe and Spirit Awards and Winner BAFTA for Best Foreign language film and Academy Award for Best Song) and she is now his producing partner, in post production on the documentary SEARCHING FOR ON THE ROAD with various projects in development, including ON THE ROAD, based on the seminal novel by Jack Kerouac.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell me about the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival and what is new this year?
Rebecca Yeldham: The biggest change is a new downtown location. For the first time the festival is going to take place in downtown Los Angeles, we’re very excited about this new location and we are eager to expand our audience base, we really see an opportunity down there to further grow the festival. We have seven theatres down at L.A. LIVE and we also have two outdoor venues – we will use California Plaza for a free outdoor screening; the only venue that will be the same as last year will be the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. In terms of the programming there are very subtle changes, we have approximately the same number of films as last year, it’s even more international than in years past; nearly half of the films in this year’s festival are foreign films and we have about 41 countries represented.
BT: Do you still have the outdoor events like previous years?
RY: Yes we have the series of films that are shown at the Ford. We also have a couple of screenings outdoors such as Climate Refugees, which is a film about global warming and rising water levels, at the 7 + Fig at Ernst & Young Plaza we are going to have a retrospective screening of Desperately Seeking Susan, and then we will have the fans vote on a film that they wish to watch outdoors at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE.
BT: Do you think that the change of location will increase the audience attendance?
RY: Well the festival has continued to grow year after year, our festival attendance last year was about 75,000 people; our expectation is that it will continue to grow, the feeling is that we will have a much stronger east side attendance than years past.
BT: Who are some of the noted guests that will be attending the festival this year?
RY: We’ve got an incredible group of filmmakers, actors and artists that will be participating in the festival this year. The stars of our opening night film will be attending who include Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. We have an evening with Sylvester Stallone, Roger Corman, John Lithgow, Jeremy Renner, Ben Affleck, Chritopher Nolan, Edgar Wright and Quincy Jones. Kathryn Bigelow is our Guest Director and will be at the Filmmaker Retreat. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, some of the actors from Animal Kingdom, eight of the ten directors of Revolucion will be walking red carpets. Paul Reubens will present Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, so there is a wide array of talent this year. There will be several international filmmakers also attending.
BT: What are some of the special events taking place at the festival?
RY: In years past we have had an opening night, a closing night and a centerpiece. We have five special screenings, and we have multiple artists in residence, as well as many acclaimed directors. The Gala series is Animal Kingdom; we will have the premiere of Revolucion, which is a great Spanish film. We will have many conversations with the different artists; we have about 15 documentaries, which highlight the other great films that will be released this year. We also have many international films in the documentary and narrative film categories.
BT: How can the audience get tickets?
RY: lafilmfest.com and 1-866-filmfest .
BT: Will there be discounts for film students?
RY: There are no discounts for students, but there will be a number of free events, and for Film Independent members the tickets will be 10 dollars and the regular price will be 12 dollars.