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The Girl Next Door

LA Film Festival Gets "Afraid"

The del Toro-producer scare flick'll close the 2011 festival

NBC Los Angeles
By Alysia Gray Painter

How does one put on a film festival in the land that's become synonymous with cinema?

Go big, is the short answer. Get Shirley MacLaine and Erykah Badu and Quincy Jones and Andy Garcia and Jack Black and Julie Taymor to come talk, and show films by Richard Linklater and produced by Guillermo del Toro, and round up a whole caboodle of provocative shorts from every corner over everywhere, and take over a major entertainment venue for, oh, a good week and a half.

It's year seventeen for the Los Angeles Film Festival, which is on from Thursday, June 16 through Sunday, June 26 around downtown. We're not tossing around "around downtown," either; while LA Live is a hub, other events will happen at the Standard, the Downtown Independent, and the LA Times Building. The LA Times is presenting the festival, and Film Independent is lending organizing muscle.

With all of that go-big-ness in mind, it'll be hard to choose from the 200+ works (from some 30 countries) that'll be screened. Full-length features are a favorite, yes, but shorts and music videos and more are on the roster. Also on the roster? Entries in the "Retro" category; "Das Boot" and "Boyz n the Hood" will both be screened.

"Bernie" with Jack Black opens the festival; "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" starring Katie Holmes will close the 2011 celebration.