Newsweek film critic David Ansen was named artistic director of the Los Angeles Film Festival Monday. The writer, who still contributes to Newsweek after leaving fulltime duties in March, will be in charge of helping to narrow down selections and finalists for the influential showcase that happens each summer in Westwood.
Ansen's no stranger to film fests, having served a recent stint on the selection committee of the New York Film Festival and even helping LAFF chose its favorite documentaries, according to Thompson on Hollywood.
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"This job doesn't start until January, but it's starting," Ansen tells TOH. "I have 50 to 60 DVDs to get through."
The fest has recently solidified its presence in Westwood and expanded to an audience of 85,000 people, who come to chose from a menu of about 70 premiers, indie films and documentaries.
Ansens says the film festival circuit has helped him continue his career outside of criticism, which is a hard-sell for ever-shrinking print publications.
"It's not a great time to be a film critic," he said. "... This job puts all my years of being a critic to use in a different way."