Now in its 15th year, the Hollywood Film Festival (HFF) takes place October 21-24, with the films screening at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. The HFF will host over 20 features, including four documentaries. Additionally, nine programs of short films will round out the festival screenings.
And what's a film festival without its special tributes? The HFF will pay tribute to director Craig Brewer ("Footloose," and "Hustle and Flow"), who got his start at the HFF in 2000 with his debut feature "The Poor and Hungry" (He will do a Q&A session on Saturday, October 22). Also, there will be a directing tribute to "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller; a Hollywood Actor Award for George Clooney; Supporting Actress Honor to Carey Mulligan; and Hollywood Spotlight Awards honoring Berenice Bejo, Jean Dujardin, Elle Fanning, Amber Heard, Andrea Riseborough, Shailene Woodley, and Anton Yelchin.
These Gala Award Tributes will take place on October 24 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Kicking off the HFF is the opening night film, "Dorfman," directed by Brad Leong; written by Wendy Kout; and starring Sara Rue, Elliot Gould, Johann Urb, and Haaz Sleiman. "Dorfman" is a charming romantic comedy with smart writing and clever performances by Rue, Gould, and Sleiman. Rue stars as Deb Dorfman, a late 20s San Fernando Valley gal who, after her mother's death, is caretaker for her cantankerous, verging on depressed father (Gould), while being the brains of her brother Daniel's (Jonathan Chase) accounting firm.
A hopeless romantic, Deb offers to cat-sit for her brother's friend, Jay (Urb), who is an Internet war-zone reporter. Jay has just bought a loft in downtown Los Angeles, and although it will be a hefty commute, Deb jumps at the chance to help Jay, whom she's had a crush on her whole life.
Of course, the man of her dreams has left her with an entirely unpacked loft, a cat that dive bombs her, and neighbors who are all artists or models. How's a Valley Girl to fit in? Naturally Deb, who takes on the more sophisticated downtown name Debra, rises to meet the challenges. Debra begins to stand up for herself and learns a thing or two about her family, her neighbors, the man of her dreams, and herself along the way.
An indie ode to downtown Los Angeles, director Leong and director of photography (and AFI cinematography alum) Rachel Morrison capture the vibrancy and at times beauty of downtown -- with its skyscraper views, rooftop gardens, and great markets, including the LA Flower Market. Of course there are also riffs on the un-gentrified sections of downtown, with a couple of humorous scenes of Debra navigating skid row with her father or taking public transportation. "Dorfman" has the right mix of romance, dysfunctional families, and Los Angeles in-jokes and locales to make this a perfect opening night movie for the Hollywood Film Festival.
The 15th Annual Hollyood Film Festival begins Friday, October 21, and runs through Sunday, October 23, at the ArcLight Hollywood. The presentation of the Hollywood Discovery Awards will be given out closing night Sunday, October 23. Awards will be presented to the festival-winning films in the categories of Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, and Best Short Subject. The Gala Tributes will be delivered on October 24 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
For other festival articles by Lori Huck, check out:
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