The 15th annual DTLA Film Festival, set to run from November 1-5 at the Regal L.A. Live, has announced its full feature lineup. A total of 15 feature-length films are slated to screen alongside 15 shorts, web series and TV pilots, with each making their World Premiere, US Premiere, West Coast Premiere, or Los Angeles Premiere.
Opening the festival is Rosemary Rodriguez’s Hail Mary, a genre-bending retelling of the Mary and Joseph story following an undocumented pregnant migrant’s journey to make it safely across the U.S. Border, starring Jack Huston, Angela Sarafyan, Natalia del Riego, and Benny Emmanuel.
With this year’s festival dates coinciding with Day of the Dead, the festival reaffirms its dedication to diversity through recognition of the holiday. In addition to spotlighting Hail Mary, Dia de los Muertos is reflected in the festival’s slate of several shorts programs and the 2023 key art created by noted Calavera artist Agustin Equihua Ortiz.
“As a festival, we embrace the cultural diversity of the neighborhoods of downtown L.A. and surrounding areas,” said festival co-founder Henry Priest. “So, of course our festival had to recognize Dia de los Muertos and its significance to the Latin communities of L.A. With its themes of immigration and religiosity, even our opening night film, Hail Mary, reflects our own way of recognizing Day of the Dead.”
Nearly half of the films at this year’s festival are from women directors, including the festival's Opening Night (Hail Mary), Centerpiece Summer of Violence), and Closing Night (Women in Fire) films.
“Our nonprofit organization was established in 2008 with the mission to promote movies by filmmakers from groups underserved by Hollywood,” said Carolyn Schroeder, director of programming. “Sadly, 15 years later, women continue to be among those groups underrepresented by the studios, both in front of and behind the camera. Until that day when Hollywood movies look like what America actually looks like, we’ll continue to fight the good fight.”
Amidst the uncertainty in the film and television community, the festival decided to proceed with its yearly fall dates in accordance with strike guidelines.
“The SAG-WGA strike presented numerous challenges for all film festivals but especially one like ours located in Los Angeles,” said Greg Ptacek, festival director. “Nevertheless, we felt that the best way of supporting the strike was to push forward with the festival. To be clear, we unequivocally support the SAG-WGA labor actions and, in fact, all strikes by unions this summer, including those by hotel and auto workers.”
This year’s festival also spotlights films by Latin / Latinx filmmakers in two shorts programs, co-hosted by the Mexican American Cultural Education Foundation. "MACEF is honored to partner with the internationally known DTLA Film Festival to expand the exposure and screening of films with Latino stories, made by Latino filmmakers,” said Dr. Jose-Luis Ruiz, president of MACEF.
As well, the festival highlights film by Asian and Asian-American filmmakers in a program co-hosted by Incandescent Entertainment and anchored by the world premiere of the action-thriller feature The Last Assassin.
DTLA Film Festival www.dtlaff.com