The 2017 LA Film Festival kicks off this Wednesday, and we here at Cinemacy can’t wait to return to the fest filled with promising screenings, conversations, red carpet events, and much more (free yoga on the festival lawn!).

Running through next Thursday, the 22nd annual LAFF showcases 48 feature films, 51 short films, 15 high school short films, and 10 short episodic works- representing 32 countries. In anticipation of the event, Cinemacy’s staff writers have made a list of the six things we’re most looking forward to. If you can’t make it out, be sure to follow Cinemacy as we cover the festival from start to finish on Instagram , Twitter , and Facebook!


Bryce Dallas Howard: Coffee Talks Actors at 2015 LA Film Festival

Morgan’s pick: Coffee Talks

One of the most alluring events that the festival offers aren’t even the movies– but rather, the conversations with some of the industry’s inspiring talents. Taking place at the Kirk Douglas Theatre on 6/18, the Coffee Talks are a series of one-hour conversations with a panel of different people working in the industry, including directors, actors, screenwriters, and composers. These events have always been a highlight for us, and this year we couldn’t be more excited to sip our latte with director Justin Simien (Dear White People), Zal Batmanglij (The OA, The East), and more to be announced.


Still from G-Funk

Ryan’s pick: G-Funk

While I admit that I’m not the most well-versed fan of hip-hop music, I, like most people, grew to see another side of the rap music scene in 2015’s summer breakout hit, Straight Outta Compton, which cinematized an untold story about this pivotal moment in art, culture, politics, and music. One of the major artists of this late ‘80s–early ‘90s era LA rap scene was Warren G. The documentary G-Funk chronicles the music’s rise and friendship between Warren, Nate Dogg, and Snoop Dogg as they create the essential style of West Coast hip hop. What’s more– the film was directed, shot, and edited by Chapman University graduates (of which Cinemacy’s staff writers hail from). G-Funk screens at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel on 6/16, to be followed by a live performance by none other than Warren G himself.


Monkey Business

Nelson’s pick: Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators

Dare I say I’m curious to see how this film is? Unbeknownst to me, the creators of the timeless children’s storybook character “Curious George” escaped Nazi Germany in order to bring their character to light. Monkey Business is a multimedia documentary, and hopefully, my enthusiasm for the wave of recent boundary-pushing non-fiction films (Nuts!, Tower) carries over to this unique film, playing on 6/17. Further assuring that Monkey Business is something of quality, the film has already been picked up for distribution by indie favorite The Orchard.


Royalty Hightower

Morgan’s pick: And Then I Go

Twelve-year-old actress Royalty Hightower first hit the film scene in the 2016 film The Fits, where she gave a tour de force performance as the protagonist, Toni. In my review of the film, I stated, “Remember her name, Royalty Hightower is just getting started,” and I’m happy to say that I was right: In And Then I Go, playing on 6/16, Hightower appears alongside Melanie Lynskey, Justin Long, and more in the drama about the hardships of adolescence and the powerful bonds of friendship.


Still from Patti Cake$

Ryan’s pick: Patti Cake$

It seems like I’m looking forward to a hip-hop themed festival. Following G-Funk, the fictional movie on my must-see list is one that I missed when it made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Patti Cake$, which screens on 6/19, tells the story of an unlikely rapper who finds her voice as a one-of-a-kind hip hop legend. This looks like a confident, brash, and entertaining film, which is always fun to watch with an audience.


DJ party at the 2016 LA Film Festival. Courtesy of Film Independent

Nelson’s pick: Anything (which takes on a double meaning)

First, the Mark Ruffalo produced drama, Anything, which features longtime character actor John Carroll Lynch (The Founder, Fargo) in a rare leading role. Lynch’s protagonist, named Early Landry of all things, moves in with his sister after losing his wife and finds himself attracted to her neighbor, Freda. While we can imagine what sort of complications can arise from this synopsis, I’m sure that there’s much more ahead for this film, playing on 6/17.

The second part of “Anything” is the festival itself. LAFF is an amazing event for discovering hidden gems. I saw my favorite film of 2015, Victoria, by complete chance without knowing anything beforehand and it is still a film I frequently mention today. This atmosphere of unknown excitement is what attracts me more than any specific title. You’ll be in good hands with almost “Anything” you see, so take this as a chance to seek out new, independent films!

To see all the latest lineup announcements, including pass, ticket and event information, visit