The Los Angeles Film Festival said today that beginning next year the fest will take place in September, setting itself up to be involved in the heated and crowded fall festival season that includes the Telluride, Venice, Toronto and New York film fests. The L.A. fest had been held in June.
The fest, run by Film Independant, said today the 2018 edition will bow in late September; the New York fest this year ran September 28-October 5, which could mean a West Coast-East Coast throwdown is in store in the coming years.
Recently, the LA-based fest has been frustrated with programming as the summer dates fell outside what has become the traditional awards-season path of premiering splashy films at the fall fests. As Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote during this year’s LAFF, only Warner Bros among the major studios participated in the LA fest — far fewer than other Southern California-based film festivals like the aforementioned AFI, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, which are situated in the midst of the fall awards mania.
Outside of Focus Features’ opening-night film The Book of Henry, which got poor reviews, like in past years most of the films had been on the fest circuit since Sundance and are long-shots for distribution pickups.
“The secret to dramatically changing something is to change it,” LA Film Festival director Jennifer Cochis said in the release announcing the moves. “My passion for this Festival is unwavering and the time for an evolution has come. Film Independent is so proud of the work we’ve done in showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, but the fact is that summer is a challenging time for artist driven films, and fall is where we clearly belong.
“This shift in our dates is an important step in enacting my aim to further develop the LA Film Festival, I sincerely look forward to better serving filmmakers, film lovers, the city and the industry in the fall of 2018 and beyond.”
The LAFF also said submissions for its 24th edition will open January 1, 2018, exclusively on Withoutabox, as part of a new multi-year collaboration. It also unveiled a multi-year partnership with ArcLight Cinemas, where many of the fest’s screenings have taken place in the recent past.