The 5th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival has announced their five-member jury who will be selecting the Orpheus Award winners out of the twenty films that will be screening in competition this year. The jury awards include Best Film, Best Documentary and Best Short Film and will be awarded on Sunday, June 12 at the closing night gala at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. In addition, the festival has announced the seven panelists who will participate in the Crossing Borders: Foreign Films in Hollywood panel which will take place at the Laemmle Sunset 5 on Saturday, June 11th at 10:30 am.
The jury consists of Alex Ago, Director of Programming and Special Projects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Robert Koehler, Film Critic, Johnny E. Jensen, ASC (“An American Story”) Aniko Imre, Associate Professor of Critical Studies at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and director Lev L. Spiro (“Everybody Hates Chris”).
This year’s panel, presented in association with ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) – Crossing Borders: Foreign Films in Hollywood panel will be moderated by Variety Deputy Editor Peter Caranicas. The panelists will include Indie producer/consultant Klara Beverly, marketing maven Scott Edwards (AV Squad), filmmaker and author Heidi Van Lier (“Chi Girl,” The Indie Film Rule Book),Greek distributor/producer Dionyssis Samiotis (Odeon), Lionsgate Executive VP Distribution David Spitz and ICM agent Peter Trinh . This panel will address questions on the future potential of foreign films in the broader international market, including issues such as international representation and the use of alternative distribution and marketing resources.
The 5th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) runs from June 9-12 at Laemmle’s Sunset 5, located at 8000 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. Closing night will take place at the Writers Guild Theater at 135 S. Doheny in Beverly Hills.
Alessandro Ago is the Director of Programming and Special Projects at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts, where he hosts film screenings and Q&As, film festivals, guest speaker engagements and special events. Ago curates Outside the Box [Office], a screening series dedicated to bringing the best contemporary international, documentary and independent cinema to USC. He recently produced festivals celebrating the work of John Wayne and Roger Corman, as well as world cinema showcases focusing on Japan, Italy, Bollywood and the Middle East.
Anikó Imre is an Associate Professor of Critical Studies at University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. Her main interests are global media and cultural studies. Her published and forthcoming books include Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe; East European Cinemas; Transnational Feminism in Film and Media; The Blackwell Companion to East European Cinemas and Popular Television in Eastern and Southern Europe. She co-edits the Palgrave book series Global Cinemas.
Johnny E. Jensen, ASC, is a director of photography who has worked in the motion picture industry for over forty years. In 1991, he did the cinematography for RAMBLING ROSE, which received Oscar nominations for Laura Dern and Diane Ladd and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best cinematography. He was nominated for Emmy and ASC awards for AN AMERICAN STORY and INTO THE BADLANDS (1991). GRUMPY OLD MEN (1993), LOST IN YONKERS (1993), ROSEWOOD (1997) and THE GAMES OF THEIR LIVES (2005) are among his other works. Jensen has also worked as a director of films for television, such as the award-winning THE DITCHDIGGER’S DAUGHTERS (1997). He presently works in both features and television.
Robert Koehler is a film critic and festival programmer. He served as an instructor and programmer for UCLA Extension’s Sneak Preview program from 2003-2007. In 2003, he developed the innovative film program, “The Films That Got Away,” an ongoing series presenting significant recent work that has previously not screened in Los Angeles. In 2009, Koehler was appointed director of programming at AFI Fest Los Angeles. He is a founding member in the festival consultancy firm, Festworks. Koehler was a theater critic for the LA Weekly and Los Angeles Times during the 1980s and 1990s. He has been a contributor to Variety since 1994. As a published film critic, he has written for numerous publications including Variety, Cahiers du Cinema and Die Tagezeitung. He is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He has served on festival juries in Cannes, Berlin, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Palm Springs, Bermuda and Miami.
In the last decade, Lev L. Spiro has directed multiple one-hour drama and half-hour comedy pilots and episodes for both network and cable television. Episodic television work includes numerous episodes of the acclaimed series Weeds, Arrested Development, Ugly Betty, Everybody Hates Chris, The O.C., Gilmore Girls, and many more. Original television pilots include Do Over and the drama Summerland for the WB network, and most recently Jane By Design for ABC Family. In 2008, Spiro directed the action/comedy feature MINUTEMEN, which was nominated by the Director’s Guild for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs. The following year he directed the film WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: THE MOVIE, which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program.
PRESENTED BY ELMA Crossing Borders: Foreign Films in Hollywood
The age of global interconnectedness is shaping the ways films are made, distributed and exhibited in the US and abroad, while the dividing lines between foreign films, independent productions and Hollywood studio films are beginning to blur. For the first time in the history of American cinema, Hollywood studios have set up international offices to facilitate local productions filmed in the local language. Similarly, foreign films may be facing a newly kindled interest in the US. While still marginal players in the US distribution and exhibition domains, foreign films may have a growing effect on both studio and independent domestic filmmaking. This panel addresses questions on the future potential of foreign films in the broader international market.
Peter Caranicas (Moderator) is Deputy Editor of Variety, with responsibility of the paper’s weekly edition as well as its features department, which publishes over 200 special sections annually. He also writes Variety’s Inside Production column, which appears every Tuesday, and Variety’s Inside Production online newsletter. Previously Caranicas was editor of Below the Line, Shoot, Film&Video and other industry publications. He is a frequent guest at industry panels and has freelanced for such outlets as TVNewsCheck, World Screen, and the New York Times Encyclopedia of Television.
Klara Beverly is an independent producer, industry consultant at the European Cultural Fund since 2002, and the owner of Atlantis Entertainment based in the Czech Republic, specializing in releasing European and art house films. Beverly co-produced ROOM IN ROME (2010) by Julio Medem (Spain) and LA VIDA DE LOS PECES by Matias Bize (Chile).
Advertising executive Scott Edwards has over 13 years of experience in the motion picture marketing industry. Currently, he is Senior Producer at AV Squad in Sherman Oaks. Recent work includes trailers for CAPTAIN AMERICA, APOLLO 18, THE KING’S SPEECH, among others, as well as TV campaigns for FAST FIVE, HANNA, SCREAM 4, and THOR. Prior to his work with AV Squad, he served as Vice President of Creative Advertising at New Line Cinema.
Heidi Van Lier has made three independent feature films and is currently editing her fourth. She is the author of The Indie Film Rule Book (available on amazon.com), a strategic guide to truly independent filmmaking. She currently writes for FilmThreat.com and travels the country on jury duty and panels for film festivals. She is part of the programming team for the Slamdance Film Festival where she won the Grand Jury Prize for her first film, CHI GIRL (1999).
Dionisis Samiotis’ filmography as a producer includes over 25 feature films, most of them critically acclaimed and in the top 10 in the Greek box office including LAGFF’s Closing Night presentation BURNING HEADS (2011), A TOUCH OF SPICE (Politiki Kouzina) (2003), BEWARE OF GREEKS (2000) FROM THE EDGE OF THE (1998), BALKANISATEUR (1997). He has also served as associate producer in Costa Gavras’ film EDEN IS WEST (2008) and co-producer in a number of international co-productions.
David Spitz is the Executive Vice President of Theatrical Distribution at Lionsgate Films, the leading independent film entertainment studio. A 20-year industry veteran, Spitz began his career as a film buyer for Mann Theatres. Drawing on his background in exhibition, he now oversees the formulation and implementation of distribution strategy for all Lionsgate features. He was closely involved in the release of such diverse critical and box office hits as THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, 3:10 TO YUMA, and the Academy Award-winning CRASH. More recently, he has also supervised the distribution of the SAW and Tyler Perry franchises.
Peter Trinh started his career in the entertainment business working at The Burstein Company, an artist management company, and then moved to TV production at G4 TV, the channel devoted to video games. From there, Trinh was accepted into the agent trainee program at International Creative Management (ICM). Today, Trinh works in ICM’s International and Independent Film division helping to arrange distribution deals for independent films.
For more information, including how to purchase Panel tickets, Screening Passes and Elite Passes, please visit http://lagff.org
The 5th annual Los Angeles Film Festival showcases new films from Greek filmmakers worldwide to promote and nurture Greek Cinema while bridging the gap between Greek filmmakers and Hollywood. The Festival also offers screenings of film masterworks, seminars on important contemporary film issues, and tributes to significant filmmakers and performers of Greek origin. Orpheus Awards are given to the most outstanding new films in the dramatic, documentary and short film categories. www.lagreekfilmfestival.org
ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) is a Santa Monica based nonprofit organization dedicated to showcasing European movies. ELMA’s mission is to create new avenues for better cultural understanding between the people of Europe and the USA by
celebrating alternative cinema. www.elma.org
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