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CurbedWire: Dwell Sketch-Up Contest, Downtown Film Festival Details

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[Downtown's Barker Block]
LOS ANGELES: Here's a competition for the whole family: Dwell has partnered with Google SketchUp to hold a residential design competition. But the catch: You've got to design a home that doesn't exceed 2500 square feet AND that overlooks San Francisco; plus the "designs will be judged on basic principles such as overall design, carbon-footprint reduction, sustainability, cost-efficiency, and authenticity." More details via design web site. [Curbed InBox]

DOWNTOWN: Downtown development Barker Block is helping put on this year's Downtown Film Festival: "The five-day event, August 13-17, will present 23 feature and 180 short films at venues throughout downtown L.A., from historic movie palaces on Broadway Avenue to an experimental art-architecture institute in the Arts District." [Curbed InBox]

Inaugural Edition of the First Film Festival Dedicated to

Downtown Los Angeles

Unspools August 13-17, 2008

200+ Films to Screen During 5-Day Event,

Celebrating ‘Renaissance’of L.A.’s Historic Core,

at Venues Throughout Downtown’s Culturally Rich Neighborhoods

IFC’s “In Search Of A Midnight Kiss” Set For Opening Night Gala

To Benefit Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation

July 22, 2008 (LOS ANGELES) – The first annual Downtown Film Festival – Los Angeles (DFFLA), the first film festival in the historic core of the Entertainment Capital of the World, announced today its 2008 programming. The five-day event, August 13-17, will present 23 feature and 180 short films at venues throughout downtown L.A., from historic movie palaces on Broadway Avenue to an experimental art-architecture institute in the Arts District.

The festival is presented by Barker Block live/works lofts (

IFC’s “In Search of a Midnight Kiss,” by director Alex Holdridge will be presented as the Opening Night Film on Wed., Aug. 13th in a special Gala program at the historic Orpheum Theater to benefit the nonprofit Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation ( Variety said the film “recalls Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ in its celebration of a cityscape?” Filmmaker Magazine proclaimed, “It is so well written, charming and beautifully photographed that it is inconceivable to think audiences not falling in love” with it. An after-screening Gala party will be held at the penthouse space of the Pacific Electric Lofts building.

The Los Angeles premiere of “Flow,” a documentary feature from director Irena Salina that was a hit earlier this year at Sundance Film Festival, has been selected as the Closing Night Film. The film takes an unflinching look at the world’s diminishing supply of fresh water as the intersection of politics, pollution, and human rights.

In the beginning of a new tradition, the festival’s Centerpiece Gala presentation is devoted to celebrating downtown L.A.’s unique starring role in the early development of the city’s movie industry and American cinema. The downtown’s Historic Theatre District contains more architecturally significant movie theaters than any place in the world. This year’s Centerpiece film is the 1929 classic silent film “Piccadilly,” starring silver screen siren Anna May Wong – the Silent Era’s most significant female Asian-American actress (Wong was born in downtown’s Chinatown neighborhood). The film will be presented at the historic Los Angeles Theatre.

Other highlights include the Los Angeles premiere screenings of Overture’s “Traitor,” by writer-director Jefrey Nachamanoff (writer of 2004’s blockbuster hit “Day After Tomorrow”) and starring Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Jeff Daniels; “Guest of Cindy Sherman,” a documentary about the reclusive superstar artist-photographer; “Remembering Phil,” starring Nicholas Turturro and Don Castellanata (best known as the voice of Homer Simpson); and “Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans,” a documentary feature exploring the roots of a historic African-American community that became the birthplace of jazz and a progenitor of the civil rights movement.

In addition to film screenings, the festival will present a digital arts festival in conjunction with the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (, and Sustainable L.A. – a full-day of “green” programming for the urban citizen that includes panel discussions, a farmer’s market and family-friendly activities.

The festival will present several curatorial film series:


Afrique 360º - a selection of feature and short films from Africa and the Diaspora, including the Los Angeles premiere of the critically-acclaimed “Confessions of a Gambler”(South Africa, 2008),


American Latino Film Series – an exploration of the American experience through the lens of American-Latino filmmakers,


Downtown Cinema – a program of short films from downtown L.A. denizens,


Best of Siggraph – the “best in show” of computer animation shorts from the annual computer graphics convention (which is being held in downtown Los Angeles simultaneously with the festival),


“Drive-In At SCI-Arc” - An authentic drive-in movie screening at the parking lot of SCI-Arc institute in the downtown’s Arts District, featuring a special preview screening of “Mock Up At Mu,” the latest film by avant-garde director Craig Baldwin, and


“Shorts & Sweets” – A program of short film previews presented during the workday lunch hour and designed for downtown commuters. (The program will be presented at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on three Wednesdays leading up to the festival.)

“The festival offers the opportunity to encounter all the fun and excitement of L.A.’s downtown through a structured but creative entertainment experience. For cinephiles, there’s something for everyone – new Hollywood and independent narrative and documentary features, foreign films, an incredible selection of shorts and special series. For those curious what the buzz is about the ‘new downtown,’ here’s a chance to explore historic movie palaces, world-class lounges and the hippest lofts,” said Greg Ptacek, one of the festival’s organizers.

The festival’s complete programming line-up and ticket information is available at