Event PickThe Summer Film festival known as Dances With Films is once again underway showcasing unique independent cinema with something to say about society. Now in its 26th year, the fest features narrative, documentary, TV, midnight movies and kids films from around the world. Cultural relevance and diversity are big themes this year with an added focus on gender and racial issues. Hoping to showcase new talent and cinematic underdogs, DWF has long had a  “no stars” policy, but they’ve relaxed this in recent years due to the relationships they’ve built and the array of talent that has sought to be a part of it as it’s grown.

Despite the writers’ strike and uncertainty in other parts of industry, festivals like DWF solider on, putting the spotlight on the side projects of up and comers working in entertainment and unknowns hoping to break in. As DWF continues today thru this weekend, here’s our picks for standouts on the schedule:

Thursday, June 29:

Christopher Beatty’s horror-tinged psychological thriller BIBI. (World Premiere at 7:15 p.m.)

Justin Geldzahler’s horror-cringe comedy GLUE TRAP (World Premiere 9:30 p.m.)

Friday, June 30:


Graham Streeter’s UNFIX, a Pride month-appropriate drama about the negative repercussions of conversion therapy in the 1990s ( 7:15 p.m.)

Saturday, July 1st:


Nick Laurant’s immigrant story of survival inspired by true events: THE GIRL IN THE BACKSEAT ( 5:00 p.m.)

Alexander Jeffery’s YOU HAVE NO IDEA, following one family’s journey with autism in El Dorado, Arkansas (West Coast Oremiere, 2:45 p.m.)

Mitch Yapko’s pilot REMIXED, about friends who embark on a departed loved ones’ audio-guided bucket list challenge (World Premiere, 1:15 p.m.)



ESCAPING OHIO, Jessica Michael Davis’ coming-of-age romcom (7:15 pm).


Einar Thorsteinsson’s  ABLED: THE BLAKE LEEPER STORY, chronicling Paralympian Blake Leeper’s challenges to qualify for the USA 2020 Tokyo Olympic Team (12:30 pm).

Sunday, July 2nd

KATIE’S MOM, Tyrrell Shaffner’s re-imagining of The Graduate, told from Mrs. Robinson’s point of view. (2:45 p.m.)

BALDY FOR THE BLIND, Drea Castro’s look at a group of blind hikers attempting to summit Mount Baldy, considered the most dangerous mountain in L.A. County (12:30 p.m.).


MEET ME WHERE I AM, Grant Garry’s documentary exploring the topic of grief through individual stories of loss (12:15 p.m.)

Closing night film HOME FREE, Aaron Brown’s comedy drama about college life and growing up.  (7:15 p.m.)

A green carpet and step and repeat walk-thru will feature filmmakers and stars before screenings of BIBI, GLUE TRAP, HOME FREE and more. All screenings at the TCL Chinese Theaters in the Ovation Hollywood Complex at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood. More info, related events, schedule and tickets at danceswithfilms.com.
















































































































































































































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