Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles Announces Lineup

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Mon, 08/22/2016 - 10:11 -- Nick Dager

Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles announced today its first slate of more than 100 films included in the 2016 line-up. The festival is being held September 21-28 at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live. Advance ticket sales will begin next week.

Opening the eighth annual edition of the festival will be Swing State, a political satire about a dyed-in-the-wool, down-on-his luck boho DJ who uses his on-air charisma to create a fictitious conservative radio host who becomes an overnight sensation. Making its Los Angeles premiere, the film is written and directed by Jonathan Sheldon, and stars Billy Zane (Titanic) Sean Astin (The Lord Of The Rings) Shane Black (Iron Man 3), Taryn Manning (Orange Is The New Black), Elaine Hendrix (Good Intentions), Angela Kisney (The Office) and Jake Busey (Identity).

“In this most political of years the sharp wit of Swing State was an easy choice for our opening night film,” said Carolyn Schroeder, the festival’s programming director. “At a time when it’s hard to figure exactly what a conservative or liberal means anymore, Swing State takes politically incorrect and hilarious swipes at the whole democratic process.”

Taking center stage as the festival’s centerpiece film program is The Loner, a dark, film noir set against the backdrop of multicultural Los Angeles from the creative team known for the 2014 indie hit A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. After being wrongly accused of stealing from his former boss, an Iranian gangster must hunt down stolen drugs in this neon-lit fever dream set in the Persian and Russian Los Angeles underworld. Directed by Daniel Grove and written by Grove and Reza Sixo Safai, the film, which is making its Los Angeles premiere, stars Safai, Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2), Julian Sands (Leaving Las Vegas), Dominic Rains (The Fixer) and Laura Haring (Mulholland Drive).

“The Loner is everything that embodies our definition of great independent filmmaking – a compelling story from a talented creative team, high production value, and a cast that reflects the diversity of America.  Its setting in L.A. is just icing on the cake for us, “ said Greg Ptacek, festival director.

The 2016 festival’s closing night Film is a special presentation of the 40th anniversary edition of director Nicholas Roeg’s seminal Seventies movie The Man Who Fell To Earth, which marked the screen debut of rock superstar and pop culture icon David Bowie. Being released this fall in the U.S by Rialto Pictures, the pristine restoration of the director’s cut of the film by Deluxe London is based on a 4K scan of the original negative.

Featuring a startling and era-defining lead performance, Bowie plays a humanoid alien who comes to Earth on a mission to bring water back to his distant, drought-stricken planet. Using his advanced technology, he gains incredible wealth that he uses to finance the building of a water-tanker spaceship. But the longer he stays on the blue planet the more he finds himself becoming an Earthling, even starting a romantic relationship with a female lover, who knows nothing of his extraterrestrial origins.

Oscar-nominated actress Candy Clark (American Graffiti) in only her fourth film appearance plays the female lead character of Mary Lou (Bowie’s love interest). Clark, who went on to have a long career in both independent and Hollywood films, will be honored during the closing night film program with the festivals’ Film Pioneer Award. Other special guest appearances are expected and will be announced at a later date.

The 2016 DTLA Film Festival is sponsored by Regal L.A. Live: A Barco Innovation Center, UCLA Extension, City Club Los Angeles, Mrs. Fish, Council District 14 - Jose Huizar | City of Los Angeles, The Park DTLA, Level Furnished Living, ChillHound, Los Angeles Times, BitTorrent Now, Metro, Wynning Touch Event Planning, Cloud 19, Fostered Productions, District Restaurant on the Bloc, and 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, and Creative Handbook.