Friday, April 10

The future of film

New Filmmakers LA helps spotlight new, up-and-coming directors' productions

"Gabi on the Roof in July," featuring actors Lawrence Michael Levine and Sophia Takal, is one of two features to be shown by New Filmmakers LA tonight.


Ivana Wynn / Daily Bruin

Tonight, 6:15 p.m., $5
Sunset Gower Studios
1438 N. Gower St. Hollywood, CA 90028

Actor Shaun Sipos, seen in TV shows such as “Melrose Place” and “Shark,” and movies such as “The Grudge 2,” poses on the red carpet after a New Filmmakers LA event in May 2009.


Actors Daniel Ings and Ed Hancock in a still from “Funny Money,” one of six short films to be shown at tonight’s New Filmmakers LA program, a monthly showcase of new films.

courtesy of ALAN TANG

After his film “Choose Connor” was screened by New Filmmakers LA at Sunset Gower Studios, 24-year-old director Luke Eberl received an offer from Strand Releasing, a distribution company based in Los Angeles.

The film about a 15-year-old who becomes a spokesman for a U.S. senator hit theaters in October of 2008.

New Filmmakers LA is a nonprofit organization that functions like a film festival, in that it allows any director to submit their short or feature film.

Rather than cramming screenings into a 10-day period once a year, monthly screenings are held to showcase new films at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood.

“If a filmmaker finishes something, they don’t have to wait six months for the film festival that they want to get into. They can just submit right away and be considered within the next month,” said Larry Laboe, Los Angeles coordinator for the organization.

Tonight’s program includes six short films and two feature films: “Father vs. Son,” directed by Joseph Ballarini, and “Gabi on the Roof in July,” directed by Lawrence Levine and Sophia Takal.

Each program begins with a red carpet reception. After the screening, a director Q&A and after-party are held.

“We receive about 100 submissions a month, and the filmmakers range from students to seasoned industry professionals directing for the first time,” said Susie Kim, program director for the organization.

Although New Filmmakers LA welcomes the general public and is ultimately interested in providing a place where people who love film can see innovative work, the screenings also attract distribution companies, agents, producers and studios looking for new material.

The organization has been able to draw an incredible amount of attention through partnerships with companies such as Sunset Bronson Studios, which gives filmmakers in the program discounts on production services.

Publicity for the films and directors showcased at the screenings is provided by MovieMaker Magazine and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, both of which review the films and create a series of interviews with the films’ directors.

“Many talented artists and noteworthy films have counted New Filmmakers LA among their steps to success,” Laboe said.

The indie immigration documentary titled “9500 Liberty” received so much praise from the audience during its screening at New Filmmakers LA that it is now slated to air on MTV.

New media projects are being discovered by the organization as well. A web series project called “Easy To Assemble” was picked up by CBS, and its creator Illeana Douglas was signed to the agency ICM after the series was shown at a screening.

This is good news to students such as Erika Drazen, a third-year anthropology student who serves as the internal affairs director for the Film and Photography Society on campus.

“We encourage everyone in the club to make their films happen. We definitely appreciate organizations like New Filmmakers LA because they give us a chance to bring our movies into the popular eye,” Drazen said.

New Filmmakers LA’s mission is this exactly ““ to get people’s work seen.

“What we’re trying to create is a consistent monthly forum where not just filmmakers but anyone can have a place to come and see innovative work,” Laboe said.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.