Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2016 LAFF Diversity Speaks Panels Announced

LOS ANGELES (May 24, 2016)— Today the LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced the final programming elements for the 2016 Festival including a special panel on international storytelling featuring filmmakers from the Global Media Makers program and the lineup for the Diversity Speaks panels. The Festival runs June 1-9, 2016 at the ArcLight Cinemas. Individual tickets and passes are on sale now; please visit for more details.

Global Media Makers Presents: Storytelling From The Inside Out
Global Media Makers is a U.S. Department of State and Film Independent international mentoring initiative that connects visual storytellers from around the world with leading U.S. entertainment professionals through specially tailored mentorships, workshops and master classes. Join us at the LA Film Festival where filmmakers from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Turkey, engage in a candid dialogue with American filmmakers, to discuss diversity, representation, stereotypes and the importance of telling stories from an inside perspective. The event takes place on Thursday, June 2 and will be introduced by Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

Participating Global Media Makers filmmakers are: Amin Dora, director, Lebanon; Asma Bseiso, writer/director, Jordan; and Hüseyin Karabey, writer/director/producer, Turkey. Other filmmakers in the panel: Cherien Dabis (May in Summer, Amreeka), writer/director, USA; Hany Abu-Assad (OmarParadise Now), writer/director, Palestinian; and Mohamed Diab, writer/director, Egypt, who will be presenting clips from his most recent film Clash, which premiered at Cannes this year. 

Diversity Speaks Panels
At the Diversity Speaks panels, taking place on Saturday, June 4, content creators of underrepresented communities who embody innovation will discuss how they manage to combine their passions for storytelling, entrepreneurship and their cultural identities into success stories. Issa Rae (Insecure, Awkward Black Girl) will join Film Independent Curator Elvis Mitchell in conversation for an intimate off-the-record talk. In the Art & Activism panel visual storytellers of various mediums will discuss how they use their art to bring light to social issues; panelists include Jay Ellis and Vanessa Ramos (Bordertown) and Terence Nance (Oversimplification of her Beauty). In the Low Budget in LA panel, Andrew Ahn, Kelly Thomas, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim and David Ariniello from Spa Night share their experience making a sub million-dollar movie in the film capital of the world. Diversity Speaks is sponsored by HBO and Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television and supported by Yvonne Huff Lee and Jason Delane Lee | Lagralane Group. @LAFilmFestival. #LAFilmFestival.

The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of Film Independent, showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives. The Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. The Festival’s signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Celebrating Women Filmmakers, Master Classes, Spirit of Independence Award, Coffee Talks, LA Muse and more. The Festival also screens short films created by high school students. Presenting Media Sponsor is the Los Angeles Times. Premier Sponsor is Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Principal Sponsor is Jaeger-LeCoultre. Platinum Sponsors are American Airlines, Dolby Laboratories, Inc., EFILM | Company 3 and HBO. The University Sponsor is Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. WireImage is the Official Photography Agency. More information can be found at

Film Independent is the non-profit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.
Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the LA Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit

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