Tag Archives: LA Film Fest


Ellis Haizlip—black, gay, and deeply invested in the African-American liberation and equality movements of the 1960s and ’70s—was the producer and host of the short-lived but seminal public television show Soul!, which aired from 1968 to 1973. Sui generis in its approach and impact, Haizlip’s Soul! gave black voices an unprecedented platform at a crucial time.

Directors Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard have brought the life and work of this catalyst to a new generation with the documentary MR. SOUL!, screening this week at the LA Film Festival in its local premiere.

Included in the film are rare interviews and performances by James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Harry BelafonteAl Green, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Odetta, Stokely CarmichaelMerry Clayton, Betty Shabazz, George Faison, Toni Morrison, Patti LaBelle, The Last Poets, and many more.



Wednesday, September 26, at 7:30 pm.

Writers Guild Theater, 135 South Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills.

Above: Ellis Haizlip interviews Melvin Van Peebles in 1971. Soul! director Stan Lathan looks over a camera operator’s head.

Below: Haizlip, Kathleen Cleaver of the Black Panthers, and a Soul! sound engineer.

Photographs © Chester Higgins Jr.


After directing Querô with a cast of young non-actors from the coastal city of Santos, Brazilian director Carlos Cortez helped found Instituto Querô, “using audiovisual material as a tool to stimulate talent and broaden professional horizons” for at-risk teens, supported by UNICEF.

SÓCRATES, produced by the institute and premiering tonight at the LA Film Festival, is the feature debut of Alex Moratto. Taking a page from Jean Genet, Moratto’s poem of a film closely follows the title character—a 15-year old youth, orphaned and broke—as he hustles for survival and finds first love on the streets and port of Santos.

As Sócrates, Christian Malheiros beautifully captures a boy moving through the end of innocence, before the streets and the years take their toll.


SÓCRATES, Friday, September 21, at 7 pm.

Arclight Culver City, 9500 Culver Boulevard, Culver City.

Above: Tales Ordakji (left) and Christian Malheiros in Sócrates.

Below: Malheiros and Ordakji. Image credit: Instituto Querô.


Black cowboys have always been part of the history of South Central Los Angeles, and stables can still be found up and down the L.A. River and various flood channels in the area.

One such stable, in Compton, known as the Hill, was mysteriously burned down in 2012. For the last few years, filmmaker Brett Fallentine has documented the lives of three South Central cowboys has they fight to hold on to their culture—their sanctuary—in the midst of pervasive urbanity.

As part of the 2018 LA Film Festival, Fallentine’s film FIRE ON THE HILL will have its world premiere this weekend in Culver City, with encore screenings next week in Hollywood and Culver.

The filmmakers and his subjects—Ghuan FeatherstoneCalvin GrayChris ByrdDerrick FinnelsLemontre “Tre HosleyWilliam “Fat Pack Bias, and Sid Cosby—will be on hand for the premiere.


Saturday, September 22, at 12:45 pm.

Arclight Culver City, 9500 Culver Boulevard, Culver City.

Monday, September 24, at 10 pm.

Arclight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 27, at 8:30 pm.

Arclight Culver City.

Fire on the Hill. Image credit: Preamble Pictures Productions.


A sensation at the 2016 LA Film Fest, Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut PAINT IT BLACK is now playing at the Music Hall cinema in Beverly Hills.

The film stars Alia Shawkat as an art student in a nightmare confrontation with her dead boyfriend’s mother, Janet McTeer (who could play Joan Crawford and Bette Davis simultaneously in a one-woman show).

This deliciously overwrought drama spectacularly fails the Bechdel Test, since both women are obsessed with the memory of the late Michael (Rhys Wakefield). But the tour-de-force performances of the two leads—and Tamblyn’s command of her mise-en-scène—confirm PAINT IT BLACK’s cult status.


PAINT IT BLACK, through May 25.

On Friday, May 19, Janet Fitch, the author of the source novel Paint it Black, will participate in a Q & A following the 7:30 pm show.

LAEMMLE MUSIC HALL, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.


Alia Shawkat in Paint it Black, directed by Amber Tamblyn. Image credit: Imagination Worldwide