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LA fest opens with Garden State

LA Film Festival Blooms with Fox Searchlights GARDEN STATE as Opening Night Film

The 10th annual Los Angeles Film Festival opens on June 17th through June 26th with the Sundance favorite GARDEN STATE Premier Sponsors In Style and Target Stores will sponsor the Opening Night Gala and Closing Night Gala, to the appreciative filmgoers.

Dawn Hudson Executive Director has been fortunate to have Rachel Rosen and the staff working around the clock to assemble the 10th Years outstanding program. The number of World Premieres has surpassed what was presented in the past with a wide array of genres and country representation. The supportive community of Los Angeles has come on board to assist with new venues and sponsors, which add a depth and richness to this southland festival.

The festival’s Opening Night Gala selection will be “Garden State.” Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) shuffled through life in a lithium-induced coma until his mother’s death inspired a vacation from the pills to see what might happen. Returning to his hometown in the Garden State, “Large” finds old acquaintances around every corner living quite unique lives as grave diggers (Peter Sarsgaard), fast food knights, and the panderers of pyramid schemes. By a twist of fate, Large meets Sam (Natalie Portman), a girl who is everything he isn’t. A blast of color, hope, and quirks, Sam becomes a sidekick who refuses to ride in his sidecar. Her warmth and fearlessness give Large the courage to open his heart to the joy and pain of the infinite abyss that is life. Written and directed by Zach Braff, the film stars Braff, Ian Holm, Method Man, Natalie Portman, and Peter Sarsgaard. Fox Searchlight will release “Garden State” on July 30.

The Centerpiece film will be a sequel to the nine-year-old independent film BEFORE SUNRISE. BEFORE SUNSET bring back Richard Linklater’s Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke, in their repective rolls as two strangers met by chance, spent a night together in Vienna, and parted before sunrise. Now, they’re about to cross paths again – in Paris – where they will get the chance we all wish we had to find out what might have been. The only problem is they have just a few hours to figure out if they belong together. Directed by Richard Linklater, the film stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Richard Linklater wrote the screenplay, from a story by Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan. Warner Independent Pictures will release “Before Sunset” on July 2.

“The Clearing” will close the festival on June 26 as the Closing Night Gala selection. Wayne and Eileen Hayes (Robert Redford, Helen Mirren) appear to be living the American dream, but all illusions are shattered when Wayne is kidnapped in broad daylight. Under the microscope of a probing FBI investigation and her own painstaking introspection, Wayne’s wife Eileen also becomes a victim. The interrogation introduces a life underneath outward appearances, the suspicions, the secrets, the inadequacies, and what can happen on the road to success. Suddenly the man who prided himself on being a cunning negotiator finds his fate resting in the hands of a kidnapper (Willem Dafoe) who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Directed by Pieter Jan Brugge, from a screenplay by Justin Haythe, the film stars Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, and Willem Dafoe. Fox Searchlight will release “The Clearing” on July 2.

A total of 195 films, including 83 features representing 31 countries, will screen at the Festival. This year the Festival received more than 2,800 submissions from filmmakers around the world with the final selections representing several premieres including nine World Premieres, three North American Premieres, and two U.S. Premieres. With large cash prizes being offered to filmmakers this festival has the support of the film community in their own backyard.

In addition to the festival’s Coffee Talks, Poolside Chats, and other special events, this year’s festival will also feature Family Day on Saturday, June 19, at 8000 Sunset (outdoor plaza). Family Day will feature a line-up of films, games, and events tailored to the whole family. This event is open to the public. Admission to 8000 Sunset will be free; film tickets will be available for purchase.

The festival is sponsored by Premier Sponsors In Style and Target Stores; by Principal Sponsors American Airlines, the Directors Guild of America, Eastman Kodak Company, and Sofitel Los Angeles; by Platinum Sponsors 8000 Sunset, CFI, IFC, and Moviola; and by Promotional Sponsor the Los Angeles Times. Special support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. WireImage is the official photographer for the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival.

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