Sit by the pool and ask Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez how he gets help from his kids to make his movies. Talk to filmmakers and actors about how they turn comic books into movies—successfully and not. And be the first in the world to see the new Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (but if you didn't get your tickets already, sorry, it's sold out!)
These are some of the events happening at the 15th annual Los Angeles Film Festival, and, as in years past, there are plenty of things to do for fans of sci-fi and fantasy.
First of all, the U.S. premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is happening at the festival, and the event was sold out within hours of the tickets going on sale June 5. But there's plenty more to do.
The very casual and exclusive Poolside Chats around the W Hotel in the Westwood Village area of Los Angeles will include a chat with Sin City and Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl director Rodriguez, which will focus on his family and his production studio and home in Austin.
Also, artists and writers who helped create Wanted, Persepolis and 300 will gather for a seminar called "Graphic Explosion." Barry Levine of Radical Comics and Zak Penn, screenwriter of X-Men: The Last Stand and The Incredible Hulk, are among the panelists.
Another seminar focuses on cinematographer Robbie Greenberg, whose work includes The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Time Walker, Night Warning and Swamp Thing. In the "Reel Life L.A." talk, actors and directors will discuss depicting real people; the panel includes Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, and Taylor Hackford, who directed The Devil's Advocate.
Then there's a chat with Michel Gondry, director of the upcoming Green Hornet, and Watchmen screenwriter Alex Tse (who also scripted the upcoming Ninja Scroll).
The centerpiece may be the Transformers sequel, but the opening film, Paper Man, features Ryan Reynolds as fantasy superhero Captain Excellent; it is co-written by Michelle and Kieran Mulroney, who also wrote the Justice League: Mortal movie. The closing film is Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo, his animated take on Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid story.
In between are a few zombie films—I Sell the Dead and ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction—as well as Paul Giamatti in a comedy about extracting souls called Cold Souls and a Brazilian demonic film, Embodiment of Evil.
More than 85,000 people attended the festival last year. This year's festival also includes free outdoor screenings, such as the classic Ghostbusters and The Muppet Movie. The LAFF runs from June 18 to June 28 and includes the Independent Spirit Awards. For more information and the schedule, go to the official Web site.