Not a week that goes by that there's not some film festival taking place in Los Angeles, even if it's just in a small storefront somewhere. But as we gear up for two of the city's biggest, glitziest festivals (Los Angeles Film Festival later this month; Outfest in July), it's worth setting aside time to check out Dances With Film, which bills itself as "the last truly independent film festival." Celebrating its fourteenth anniversary this year, Dances sets itself from the festival pack by eschewing "celebrity" driven films and the hype-driven bazaar atmosphere that defines so many film festivals. While we weren't able to preview any of this year's line-up by our deadline, several titles caught our eye as promising: The documentary Hip Hop Maestro, which tracks composer Geoff "Double G" Gallegos and his 70-piece hip-hop/funk/jazz orchestra as they navigate small LA clubs and hole-in-the wall joints in their quest to score a gig at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Close Up (pictured), in which a recovering addict struggling actor tries to salvage his relationships with his wife and daughter after falling off the wagon; Days Together, in which a single woman whose friends are all settling down and raising families takes off on a road trip with a male drummer she's just met, who's trading in the musician's life for something more stable. Also piquing interest: The Deposition, Love's Kitchen and Morning.
June 2-9, 2011