Movie Screenings and Festivals

Whether big fest or microcinema, start watching

American Cinematheque
At Santa Monica’s Aero and Hollywood’s Egyptian, L.A.’s key film organization hosts classics and some of the best Q&As around.
When: Year-round

Where: The Egyptian Theatre, » 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. The Aero Theater.  » 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (323) 461-2020  

Cinecon Classic Film Festival 
This five-day festival-convention features screenings of rare features and shorts from the silent and early sound eras, celebrity guests, and a movie memorabilia show. Must be a Cinecon member to attend.
When: August 30 – September 3, 2012

Where: The Egyptian Theatre, » 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

The classic films shown each summer at this popular alfresco series at Hollywood Forever Cemetery can feature a star buried nearby.
When: Summer

Where: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, » 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood

City of Lights, City of Angels  
It’s a week of French film (West Coast, L.A., North American, and sometimes world) premieres at this annual event, presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, meant to showcase the strength and range of the French cinema. Many French directors and international talent have appeared.
When: April 2012

Where: The Directors Guild Theater Complex, » 7920 Sunset Blvd., L.A., (310) 289-2000  

Dance Camera West
In venues from Bergamot Station to the TreePeople headquarters, the June series celebrates movement captured on celluloid.
When: Month-long festival in June

Where: Locations vary. » (213) 480-8633

Downtown Film Festival L.A.  
Conceived as a celebration of downtown L.A.’s resurgence, this event includes film screenings, art and video installations, receptions, and panel discussions held at various venues in the downtown districts. According to the website, the intention of the festival, which debuted in 2008, is “to ‘tour and showcase’ the diversity of Los Angeles’ Downtown neighborhoods through a rotating circuit of screenings and celebrations.”
When: (Likely) August

Where: Varying locations. » (323) 660-1935

Echo Park Film Center Microcinema  
The Echo Park Film Center’s 60-seat Microcinema theater provides for an intimate experience with its weekly (Thursday nights) screenings of experimental, documentary, and animated films, which generally include postscreening conversations with the filmmakers. The theater projects everything from 16mm, Super 8, laser disc, DVDs, and DVs. There is also a quarterly event, in which established filmmakers are invited to present projects of 10 minutes or less.
When: Weekly

Where: Echo Park Film Center, » 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park, (213) 484-8846

Billed as the city’s “longest running venue for experimental film and video art, documentaries, and animation,” Filmforum focuses on noncommercial films and videos during its weekly screenings.
When: Ongoing.
Where: Varies. See site for complete listings.  

Film Independent  
The nonprofit organization’s events, including some screenings, are primarily for their members.
When: Ongoing 
Where: » 9911 West Pico Blvd. 11th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90035, (310) 432-1200

Grindhouse at the New Beverly
Over-the-top sex, horror, and action are delivered at this semiregular shindig showing rare 35mm exploitation films.
When: Ongoing.

Where: New Beverly Cinema, » 7165 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, (323) 938-4038

LACMA Screenings  
This perennial film series (Tuesday matinees, themed weekend fare) in the Bing Theater remains one of the most thoughtfully curated.
When: Times vary. Check website for upcoming screenings.

Where: The Leo S. Bing Theater, » LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile,  (323) 857-6177

Last Remaining Seats
On a few precious evenings from May to June the L.A. Conservancy sells out Broadway’s faded movie palaces by screening classic films.
When: Late May – early July

Where: Various locations in downtown. » (213) 623-2489

Los Angeles Film Festival 
LAFF, an annual 10-day extravaganza, boasts what many consider the strongest lineup of American and international independent films on the festival circuit. On average 75,000 people attend each year, and over 175 narrative features, documentaries, shorts, and music videos are screened. Past premieres include Kissing Jessica Stein, Tadpole, and Before Sunset.
When: June 14 – 24, 2012

Where: Varies. » (310) 432-1240

Old Town Music Hall
In this tiny El Segundo venue a massive Wurlitzer organ furnishes the soundtrack for Charlie Chaplin’s and D.W. Griffith’s finest.
When: Ongoing

Where: The Old Town Music Hall, » 140 Richmond St., El Segundo, (310) 322-2592

Billed as the longest continuously running film festival in Southern California, this annual event showcases hundreds of films from around the world, includes dozens of parties, panels, and special events, and typically boasts more than 50,000 attendees throughout its several L.A.-area venues. The festival-competition also can boast several big-name attendees and entries and a host of world premieres.
When: July 12 – 22, 2012

Where: Several venues.

Pan African Film and Arts Festival
The country’s largest black film festival is held each February.
When: February 9 – 20, 2012
Where: Locations vary.
 » (310) 337-4737

Every December juvenile guerrilla moviemaking receives its due in a lineup of films shot with, yes, a Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy video camera.
When: December 12

Where: » 3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 306-7330

REDCAT Film Series
This avant-garde film and video program at Disney Hall is global in scope and often requires the installation of multiple screens.
When: Ongoing

Where: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, » 631 West 2nd St.., downtown, (213) 237-2800

UCLA Film & Television Archive
The Hammer’s Billy Wilder Theater shows movies from the world’s greatest university film repository.
When: Ongoing

Where: Billy Wilder Theater, Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum, » 10899 Wilshire Boulevard (intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards), Westwood, (310) 206-8013