Pedro Almódovar Opens the Los Angeles Film Festival

I'm So Excited 1

Image: Film Independent via LA Film Festival

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night with a special North American premiere of Pedro Almódovar’s I’m So Excited! The festival will run through June 23 and include numerous local and world premieres, gala screenings and more.

Pedro Almódovar’s film, which includes cameo appearances by Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, was chosen as the festival’s opening night selection with artistic director David Ansen saying, “Pedro Almódovar is the cinematic gift who keeps on giving,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

I’m So Excited! takes place on a trans-Atlantic flight and is described as a “freewheeling sex farce.” Almódovar history of “bawdy comedies” such as this film has brought him much success with past films, including Talk to Her, which won an Academy Award for best screenplay in 2002.

During the ongoing festival, gala screenings will include the local premiere of Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler’s Sundance and Cannes Film Festival prize-winning film about Oscar Grant, an Oakland man shot by transit police in 2009. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, starring Ryan Gosling and Doug Pray’s Levitated Mass: the Story of Michael Heizer’s Monolithic Sculpture, will also premiere. Other festival highlights include a showing of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Short Term 12, and Crystal Fairy, among others.

The 19th Los Angeles Film Festival will close on June 23 with a showing of The Way, Way Back, staring comedian Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph and more.

According to their website, the Los Angeles Film Festival showcases the best in new American and international cinema, providing access to “some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals and emerging new talent.” Situated in the entertainment capital of the world, the festival programs includes a filmmaker retreat, outdoor screenings, coffee talks, and more. Most of the screenings will take place at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14, and additional films and events will be held at the LA County Museum of Art, JW Marriot – ION Rooftop Bar, GRAMMY Museum, Grand Performances and Arts Brookfield at FIGat7th Plaza.

At the end of the festival awards are given out in the following categories: Best Narrative Feature; Best Documentary Feature; Outstanding Performance in the Narrative Competition; Best Narrative Short Film; Best Documentary Short Film; Best Animated/Experimental Short Film; and Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best International Feature, Best Music Video, and Best Short Film.

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