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Written By: Marcelle - Sep• 29•17


Highland Park Independent Film Festival (HPIFF), the grassroots Northeast Los Angeles based film festival announced their program line up for the 4th Annual Festival edition. The HPIFF showcase includes 1 Narrative Feature, 4 Documentary Features, 33 Narrative Shorts, and 4 Documentary Shorts. These 42 films include an unprecedented 6 World Premieres and 4 Los Angeles Premieres.

Opening night is Thursday, October 5th with the screening of the documentary “Tyrus” directed by Pamela Tom about the life and work of Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong. One year ago, the Highland Park Independent Film Festival accepted the film “Tyrus” for its 2016 program of competing films; however, days before the announcement in September, the film received distribution. Tyrus Wong was 106 years of age at the time; the prolific artist passed away in December 2016. One year later, HPIFF is proud to announce the screening of “Tyrus” as our opening film in tribute of his life, artistry and legacy. Fittingly, before the screening, we will present the 2017 HPIFF Humanitarian Award posthumously to Tyrus Wong for his inspirational work in film at both Disney animation, where he created the timeless classic, Bambi, and at Warner Bros, where he worked on live-action cinema. His work inspired a generation of artists and he made an impact on American art and pop culture. Tyrus Wong’s grandson, Playwright and Actor Jason Fong and Tyrus’ daughter Tai-Ling Wong will be in attendance to receive the Award on behalf of their family. Director Pamela Tom and Director of Photography and Highland Park resident, Shana Hagan will attend the opening night festivities kicked off by a red carpet event, followed by the screening, a question and answer session and the Opening Night Gala held at the historic Ebell Club.

The 2017 Friday Night Film is “The Icarus Line Must Die”. The film directed by Michael Grodner follows Joe Cardamone, the front man of a notorious LA punk outfit as he struggles to keep his band, his relationship and his life from completely falling apart. Red carpet event and special musical guest will precede screening.

Closing HPIFF 2017 will be the impactful documentary “Ovarian Psycos”. The film rides along with the Ova’s, exploring the impact of the group’s activism, born of feminist ideals, Indigenous understanding and an urban/hood mentality, on neighborhood women and communities as they confront injustice, racism, and violence, and take back their streets one ride at a time. A Closing Night Party at the Off Beat, A Bar on York will follow the red carpet, screening and Q&A with filmmakers Kate Trumbull-LaValle and Johanna Sokolowski. There will be a live read of the poem “Matriarchy” written by Patricia Zamorano, filmed by Rosa Navarrete and read by Lauren Ballesteros.

A slew of engaging and groundbreaking short films compose the 2017 HPIFF Shorts Programs. The Mind Benders Shorts program, which will be screened FREE for our community, Women on the Verge, HLP Cinematic Spotlight, Cine Now- The Latino Lens and City of Angels Shorts Programs feature an eclectic array of themes by performers from around the globe including entries from France, India, Canada, Latvia and Iceland. Five World Premieres will be featured in the shorts programs.

A Pre-Fest gathering of Filmmakers, Sponsors an Staff will take place on Wednesday, October 4th and an Awards Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 9 at The York located at 5018 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Awards will be given for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, Best Documentary Short, Best Cinematography, Best Musical Composition, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and the Audience Awards.

Filmmakers for most films will be in attendance for Q&A and Red Carpet
Downloadable Images for films, synopses and press kits are available at:

Thursday, October 5th, 2017
630p-730p Red Carpet – Director Pamela Tom
8p-10p “TYRUS” – Documentary and Humanitarian Award presentation
10p E-Bell Club (Opening Night Gala)

Friday, October 6th, 2017
Highland Theatre – Auditorium #2
3p-5p Mind Benders Short Program (FREE SCREENING)
“Cul-De-Sac” directed by Damon Russell
“Lost Face” (Canada) directed by Sean Meehan
“Pandas in the Mist” (France) directed by Thierry Garance, Juan Rodriguez
“What Remains of You” (France) directed by Kevin Dresse
“Unpaid Interns” directed by Brendan Hughes
“AmeriKa” directed by Ryan Ward
“Texas Cotton” directed by Tyler Russell (Los Angeles Premiere)
“Just go!” (Latvia) directed by Pavel Gumennikov

530p-7p “GOING PLACES” – Documentary (World Premiere)
Director Aaron Mostow – w/ special DJ guest

7p-8p Red Carpet – Director Michael Grodner
With special musical guest

Saturday, October 7th, 2017
Highland Theatre – Auditorium #1
12p-2p Women on the Verge Short Program
“I Got You Babe” directed by Ashton Avila
“Head Space” directed by Emma Huibregtse
“My Name is Maria de Jesus” directed by Marcella Ochoa
“In Confidence” (France) directed by Clara Vorfeld (Los Angeles Premiere)
“Helga” (Iceland) directed by Tinna Hrafnsdottir
“Sound of my Drum” (India) Documentary directed by Tani Ikeda

230p-430p HLP Cinematic Spotlight Short Program
“I’m A Man” directed by Liam Parry (World Premiere)
“Graham: A Dog’s Story” directed by Paul Lazarus (Los Angeles Premiere)
“Moments” directed by Jonathan Martinez, Lilia Chicatto
“Alyce Searches” directed by Lawrence Le
“Zombie Apocalypse” directed by Enzo Gonzalez
“Sisters” directed by Marta Cross (World Premiere)
“Serve”- Documentary directed by Martin Ibarra (World Premiere)
“Something’s Wrong with the Wrights” directed by Ross G (World Premiere)
“Lessons” directed by Greg King (World Premiere)

Saturday, October 7th, 2017
Highland Theatre – Auditorium #2
12p-2p “LEAP” Documentary
Director Matt Knudsen

230p-430p Cine Now! – The Latino Lens Shorts Program
“Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies & Feminism” directed by Gregorio Davila
“Tecato” directed by Ron Trejo
“Welcome Back” directed by Matias Nilsson
“Luchadores” directed by José Emmanuel Varela
“Amigas With Benefits” directed by Adelina Anthony
“Marisol” directed by Juan Escobedo

5p-7p City of Angels Shorts Program
“Clarity” directed by Dustin Brown
“A Date in 2025” directed by Ryan Turner
“E.A.S.” directed by Kays Al-Atrakchi (Los Angeles Premiere)
“Growing Apart” directed by Eitan Loewenstein
“Restored” Documentary directed by Armando Aparicio
“Night Light” directed by Ryan Oksenberg
“Bones” directed by Arian Soheili
“The Space Between” directed by Taren Maroun

7p-8p Red Carpet – Director Kate Trumbull-LaValle, Johanna Sokolowski
830-10p “OVARIAN PSYCOS” – Documentary
*Poem performed by Lauren Ballesteros

About Highland Park Independent Film Festival
We are the Highland Park Independent Film Festival (HPIFF). We founded this festival with the express mission to promote the art of film. HPIFF is the first of its kind in Highland Park. Our grassroots organization invites filmmakers who are producing the most unique and captivating independent cinema to share their work with our community.
We foster emerging and established filmmakers by providing forums for screening projects, networking with professionals, and mentoring students. To this end, our organization consists of three components: the Highland Park Independent Film Festival, which is an annual three-day event held in October featuring the works of filmmakers from Highland Park and around the world; the HPI FilmFest Series, which consists of film screenings or participation in events designed to build community through film including the HPIFF Film Corner in association with the Arroyo Arts Collective and La Tierra De La Culebra Art Park; and the HPIFF Mentorship Program, which offers film education primarily at Franklin High School but open to schools throughout Northeast Los Angeles.
Since our debut in 2014, we have mostly programmed at our home, the historic Highland Theatre, located off of the Figueroa corridor of Historic Route 66. In addition to screenings of feature-length and short films, guests enjoy red carpet events, industry mixers, and panel discussions with film professionals. The 2014 through 2016 events were resounding successes and validation that HPIFF is growing within the cultural landscape of Highland Park. We collaborated with over forty local businesses, organizations and schools in the area and built community through a shared love of film. Unique to our film festival are three awards given alongside the Best Feature and Best Short awards; we give a Best Musical Composition, Best Cinematography and the Humanitarian Award.

We look forward to the new programming of exciting events and panels in and around the neighborhood to continue our mission of cultivating independent cinema in Highland Park.

Co-Founder & Artistic Director: Alessandro Gentile (Cinematographer & Film Producer)
Co-Founder & Director: Mark Reitman (Music Producer, Sound Designer & DJ)
Co-Founder & Producer: Marita De La Torre (Actress, Writer, Director of Film & Theater)
Production Coordinator / Producer: April Ibarra (Theater & Film Director)
Associate Producer: Terrence Butcher (Film Blogger)

2017 Highland Park Independent Film Festival Sponsors include: Office of District 1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo, North Figueroa Association, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance, Soquel Arts Collective, Egan Simon Architecture, Cornerstone, The York, The Offbeat A Bar On York, The Greyhound, Kitchen Mouse, Highland Café, NELA Homes, Chevron Car Wash, LA Art News, Penguin DCP, Lonestars Entertainment, TelaSofa, Arroyo Arts Collective, Teatro Arroyo, Icelandic Glacial Water and El Silencio Mezcal.

Connect with HPIFF:
Facebook: @highlandparkindependentfilmfestival
Twitter and Instagram: @hpifilmfest

Actor | Writer | Producer

Press Contact: Marita De La Torre






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