One of the main characteristics of Los Angeles is "Hollywood = Movies". There are many huge movie studios and movie locations all over the place. Sometimes I hear stories about seeing Hollywood actors (I don't hear as much as I expected before moving here. It's not that easy to run into them.... (I don't run into them as easily as I had hoped before I moved here...).
What I feel when I live in LA is the number of film festivals, and there is a film festival every month. Some are world-class film festivals like the Academy Awards, while others are exclusively for Japanese films. So, in this article, we will introduce some of the unique ways to enjoy film festivals in Los Angeles.
et's start with the schedule of major film festivals in Los Angeles and nearby cities.
Palm Springs International Film Festival
The film festival is held annually at the beginning of the year in Palm Springs, a two-hour drive inland from Los Angeles. The place is famous as a winter retreat (vacation home) for Hollywood people of the past, and quite a few famous actors appear at the gala: Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Adam Driver, Antonio Banderas, Jamie Foxx, etc. in 2020.
During the festival, a variety of films will be screened in surrounding cinemas and the public is welcome to view them.
Next schedule: January 4-15, 2024 (35th)
Official website: Palm Springs International Film Festival
Screen Actors Guild Awards
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has been holding awards for film and television since 1995. Since many SAG members overlap with Academy members, the awards are considered a prelude to the Academy Awards. The awards are broadcast on cable television.
Next schedule: February 24, 2024（30th）
Official website: Screen Actors Guild Awards
Golden Globe Awards
Film and TV Drama Awards in Los Angeles. The best of the best for each award is decided by a vote of the members of the Hollywood Foreign Film Press Association (87 members as of February 2021). The awards ceremony will be televised nationwide by NBC.
Next schedule: January 7, 2024（81nd）
Official website: Golden Globe Awards
Academy Awards / The Oscars
The Oscars are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and are also known as "The Oscars" because of the Oscar statues that are presented to the best films. The Oscars are held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and are broadcast live on ABC throughout the United States, including the red carpet that is rolled out to the venue for the film industry to enter.
Next schedule: March 10, 2024（96th）
Official website: The Oscars
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Next schedule: March 7-17, 2024（39th）
Official website: Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Festival of films produced in Asian and Pacific countries.
Date: May 4-13, 2023（39th）
Official website: Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival
The Outfest Film Festival aims to "make diverse LGBTQIA+ stories visible and empower storytellers to gain empathy and effect meaningful social change."
Date: July 13-23, 2023
Official website: Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival
Japanese Film Festival
A film festival organized by the Japan Foundation. The festival offers a wide range of films, not only the latest releases, but also the hottest films of the 2010s and masterpieces by Yasujiro Ozu and others, which can be viewed online for free.
Date: August 1 - October 1, 2023
Official website: Japanese Film Festival
Japan Film Festival Los Angeles
About 30 Japanese films including features, shorts and documentaries will be screened. Q&A sessions with the directors and cast members will be held on the day. The films will also be available online for a fee.
Date: September 1-13, 2023（18th）
Official website：Japan Film Festival Los Angeles
Animation is Film Festival
Launched in 2017, the festival is dedicated to animated films, with the Annecy International Animated Film Festival as a partner.The Annecy International Animation Festival is a partner of the Annecy International Animation Festival.but many other countries also participate in the festival. In recent years, Mamoru Hosoda's "Mirai" was screened as the premiere film for 2019, and Hosoda also took the stage. He conducted an interview and Q&A after the screening.
In 2021, "Puppel in the Town of Entz," directed, written, and written by Akihiro Nishino, was entered for the North American premiere of the film.On the day of the screening, Zoom conducted an interview and Q&A with Mr. Nishino and Director Hirota after the screening.Since this was the world premiere screening of the English dubbed version, the voice actors and actors who dubbed the film (in many cases, the dubbing is done by actors in the U.S. as well) were on hand to watch the film with the general audience.
The opening film for 2023 is "The Boy and the Heron" by Hayao Miyazaki. However, tickets were sold out as soon as they went on sale.
Next schedule: October 18 – 22, 2023
Official website: Animation is Film Festival
Newport Beach Film Festival
The film festival is held in Newport Beach.
Next schedule: October 12‐19, 2023（24th）
Official website：Newport Beach Film Festival
OC Film Fiesta
The film festival is held in Orange County.
Next schedule: October 12‐29, 2023（14th）
Official website：OC Film Fiesta
AFI FestThis is the largest of the film festivals held in the city of Los Angeles, and is open to the general public.Held mainly at the Chinese Theatre, a mecca for Hollywood films, the gala includes a red carpet and attendance by famous actors.
In 2023, the festival will feature "EVIL DOES NOT EXIST" directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (the directer of "Drive My Car (2021)", "PERFECT DAYS" directed by Wim Wenders and starring Koji Yakusho, and a documentary on Ryuichi Sakamoto, "RYUICHI SAKAMOTO | OPUS" directed by his son, Neo Sora, will be screened.
次回開催：October 25-29, 2023
How to Enjoy the Film Festival
Watch all the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture!
The more films you have already seen, the more you can enjoy the awards ceremony.First, aim to conquer the Best Picture nominees (8-9 films). AMC, a major movie theater, sells tickets for "Best Picture Nominees" just before the Academy Awards, allowing you to complete the nominated films in two days on Saturday and Sunday.
Old Ghibli movies are also in theaters!
Living in Los Angeles (or living abroad, not just in LA) makes you hungry for Japanese movies.... But in Los Angeles, there are definitely more opportunities to experience Japanese movies than in other cities. The opportunity to see Japanese films on a movie theater screen, side by side with local people, is very rare and enjoyable.
Incidentally, it is only in the U.S. that you can see old Ghibli films at movie theaters. "Studio Ghibli Fest" is held every year, showing popular Ghibli films at AMC and other movie theaters. It is a unique opportunity to see nostalgic Ghibli films on a movie theater screen.
Premiere Screenings and Red Carpet
While the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes are not easy to get to, the AFI and other awards shows offer the chance to attend premiere screenings and to see the red carpet.This is the moment when you realize that you are in Hollywood.
Director and cast interviews and Q&A sessions
Especially in the case of Japanese films, the director and cast sometimes come all the way from Japan to visit the festival, so you can hear behind-the-scenes stories about the filming and have them answer questions from the audience. If you are one of those people who prefer the making-of to the full-length feature film on DVD/Blu-ray, you will especially enjoy this event. and "I like the making of the film more than the main feature on DVD/Blu-ray!
Featured Film Festivals
Animation is Film Festival
Although the festival started in 2017, it is already establishing itself. In the past, Japanese directors Makoto Shinkai, Mamoru Hosoda, and Akihiro Nishino have appeared in after talks.
One or two Japanese films will be exhibited, and the director and cast may appear at the festival.In the past, director Kore-eda visited the U.S. for "And Then I Became Your Father" and actress Kirin Kiki visited the U.S. for "An" (directed by Naomi Kawase).
Traffic will be restricted around the venue for several days. A friend of mine who walked several blocks to get close to the venue to see the red carpet said, "It's too far away to see it at all. The red carpet will be broadcast live on TV in the afternoon, and the award ceremony will start at 5:00 p.m. So let's watch it in real time while thinking, "Oh, they're doing it there now.
A unique way to enjoy films in LA!
Film Screening Events at Famous Universities
Famous schools such as USC and UCLA have film departments. Both universities have a high interest in Japanese culture and Japanese films. For example, in 2017, "Hirokazu Kore-eda: Cinema from the Outside in" (sponsored by the Yanai Initiative and the UCLA School of Film & Television) was held and Kore-eda's films were screened at both UCS and UCLA campuses, and Mr. Kore-eda also visited the U.S.
The theaters on the USC campus regularly hold film screening events, "USC Cinematic Arts", many of which are open to the general public.In the past, the author has seen "Kamome Diner" and "Nobody Knows" with USC students. In particular, after the screening of "Nobody Knows" at the aforementioned Kore-eda film event, Kore-eda took the stage, and I was astounded by the fluency of the American professor who moderated the event in Japanese and his deep knowledge of Kore-eda's work. The maniacal questions from the film students were also impressive.
In 2014, UCLA launched the "Yanai Initiative" in collaboration with Waseda University, a project to study Japanese culture and its globalization. As the name suggests, Tadashi Yanai, president of Fast Retailing Co (UNIQLO).
Advance Screening Program
A pre-release screening of a film conducted by Searchlight Screening or other organizations. The purpose of these screenings is to survey "what kind of people and what kind of impressions they had", and the audience demographics vary depending on the film. Since the screenings are before the release, the conditions for participation are strict, and in some cases, signing an agreement and bringing smartphones into the venue are prohibited.