6 Films You Absolutely Cannot Miss at the Los Angeles Film Festival

From a family drama to a documentary about teenage inmates, the eight day festival taps into some hyperlocal stories

The Los Angeles Film Festival opens on June 1, showcasing some of the most promising up-and-coming filmmakers and movies of the year. The lineup has a focus on frequently overlooked stories—a valet at an expensive restaurant in L.A.; teenage inmates awaiting adult sentences—as well as a hugely diverse range of voices and narratives. There are a slew of films to choose from over the course of eight days, but that’s why we’re here. These are the six that you must see:

Jean of the Joneses

A still from Jean of the Joneses
A still from Jean of the Joneses

This film centers on Jean Jones, a hugely promising New York writer, who must grapple with her dysfunctional-yet-loving Jamaican-American family after tragedy strikes.


When a high-ranking Wall Street executive is faced with deceit and betrayal, she must face herself, her limits, and the consequences of her decisions.




Photograph courtesy tracktownmovie.com

Written, directed by, and starring real-life Olympic runner Alexi Pappas, Tracktown tells the story of a young woman on the brink of realizing that life is about more than the sport to which she has committed her days. The film was recently written up in the New York Times.


Recent college grad Steven Bassem works as a valet at an upscale L.A. restaurant. As he becomes more and more frustrated with the direction his life is taking, he begins to act out.

They Call Us Monsters

A documentary that goes behind the walls of The Compound, a prison housing teenagers who are waiting to be tried as adults. The film tells the story of three young men awaiting their fates.

Lupe Under the Sun

Migrant worker Lupe, who lives in California’s Central Valley and is estranged from his family in Michoacán, escapes his own mind through his work harvesting peaches. This feature length narrative explores longing, regret, and acceptance through his eyes.