May 5, 2009 / 11:49 PM / 10 years ago

LA Film Festival features John Dillinger premiere

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Organizers for the Los Angeles Film Festival on Tuesday unveiled the lineup for their June event highlighted by the premiere of John Dillinger movie “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp as the 1930s gangster.

The festival, which has struggled to find it’s place in a city and industry lorded over by Hollywood’s major movie studios, has in recent years raised its profile by blending major releases like “Public Enemies” with art house and foreign films.

Backers of the festival at Film Independent, the organization that also sponsors the Spirit Awards for indie movies, recently hired producer Rebecca Yeldham as festival director to help boost the event’s visibility in Hollywood.

In a statement, Yeldham said the 2009 festival will be an event “where everyday movie lovers can see films they otherwise might not see, hear first-hand from the artists and filmmakers that inspire them, and get a sneak peek at the great movies of summer.”

The Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) kicks off on June 18, runs to June 28 and features more than 200 movies, short films and music videos from some 30 countries around the world.

“Public Enemies,” which will be the event’s Centerpiece Premiere, is directed by Michael Mann and tells of the notorious gangster and the FBI’s efforts to catch him, and it is widely expected to be among the summer’s biggest films.

But LAFF also features a showcase of more than 20 foreign movies, including “Carmen Meets Borat” from the Netherlands,” English film “Bronson” and South Korea’s “My Dear Enemy.”

Seven movies will vie for a $50,000 prize in the narrative film competition, and another seven non-fiction movies will compete for a similar prize among documentaries.

LAFF also programs is a “Summer Showcase” featuring 11 independently-made and low-budget movies that have been making the rounds of film festivals in recent months including titles such as Sundance favorite “Humpday” and “It Might Get Loud.”

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