Actor Michael Rapaport was such a passionate fan of hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest, it's almost tragic what happened after he was granted permission to film the group, reunited after disbanding in 1998, for his directorial debut in the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. Having captured incredibly intimate footage of members Phife Dawg, Q-Tip, Jarobi White, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad -- along with a veritable oral history of the '90s-era Native Tongues hip-hop movement culled from musical luminaries of past and present -- Rapaport found himself on the outs with A Tribe Called Quest just as his passion project was on the brink of a distribution deal.
Before Sunday night's L.A. Film Fest premiere of the August horror pic Don't Be Afraid of the Dark succumbed to an unfortunate series of annoyances -- a fire alarm temporarily evacuated the theater midway through, while chaos reigned at the post-screening cell phone check -- producer and co-writer Guillermo del Toro emphasized what, hopefully, will make Don't Be Afraid of the Dark memorable: Its "pervasive scariness," so terrifying that the MPAA deemed it too frightening for its intended rating.
Two upcoming Sony releases scored their first honors Sunday at the 2011 L.A. Film Fest, where Michael Rapaport's Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (Sony Classics) and Joe Cornish's Attack the Block (Screen Gems) won audience awards. Also in the winners' circle: Stephane Lafleur's Canadian comedy Familiar Ground and Wish Me Away, a documentary about country singer Chely Wright's decision to come out of the closet.
Certain members of legendary NYC hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest had voiced mixed reactions to Michael Rapaport's incisive documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest even before its Sundance debut and subsequent distribution deal. But Friday night in Hollywood, all save one of Tribe's four members came out to support the film, sharing the emotional experience of watching their musical history -- and the complex behind-the-scenes clashes that led to their disbanding -- play out on screen.
Writer-director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean makes his feature debut with the L.A. Film Fest entry On the Ice, a character tale about two Alaskan teenagers wrestling with guilt after the accidental murder of a friend. With its isolated setting, cast of non-actors, and rollercoaster ride of a Sundance premiere, the indie drama isn't the easiest sell for mainstream America, but it's a film that deserves to find an audience -- a window into a generation of Alaskan teens balancing native culture with hip-hop, at a unique crossroads between community traditions and the volatile influence of urban culture.
Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey kicked things off with Richard Linklater's Bernie. Ryan Gosling, Christina Hendricks, and their Drive co-stars hit the red carpet with director Nicolas Winding Refn. Kate Bosworth & Co. presented the indie rom-com Life Happens the same night that the cast of the vogueing flick Leave it on the Dance Floor turned a rooftop party into a runway ball complete with live performances, drag queens, and wanton fabulousness. The 2011 L.A. Film Fest is in full swing, and so is Movieline's star-studded red carpet gallery! Hit the jump for a peek at the celebs (and divas) who hit the fest this weekend.
Nicolas Winding Refn turned up the charm Friday night at the L.A. Film Fest, delivering a crowd-pleasing introduction for his highly anticipated crime pic, Drive. Part acceptance speech, part promotional spiel, and part comedy roast, Refn's delivery included nods to his wife Liv, Ryan Gosling, Prada menswear, a studio head in the making, his rumored Wonder Woman project, and Alejandro Jodorowsky -- wildly entertaining and all too rare, as far as these things go.
Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy, Bronson, Valhalla Rising) muscles his way into Hollywood this September with the charging crime thriller Drive, but he's also in the midst of remaking the 1976 sci-fi pic Logan's Run with his Drive star, Ryan Gosling, set in the lead. Movieline caught up with Refn at the L.A. Film Fest premiere of Drive for a quick update on the project.
"Money makes the world go 'round, but it's not the answer to all your prayers," declared Jack Black at the opening night of the L.A. Film Fest, where he and screen legend Shirley MacLaine hit the red carpet arm in arm at the world premiere of Richard Linklater's new black comedy, Bernie. "It makes the world go 'round, sometimes the other way," quipped MacLaine. That's precisely the lesson at the heart of Bernie, based on the zany true story of a mortician who lived a well-loved existence in his small East Texas town -- until, that is, he committed a terrible crime.
Attention, Los Angelenos! Film Independent's 2011 LA Film Fest kicks off this week, offering a variety of new films, festival darlings, retrospectives, and special events from June 16-26. After the jump, scroll through 18 of the must-see films, Q&As, and events to catch during the fest, from guest director Guillermo del Toro's many planned appearances to Ryan Gosling's Drive, Green Lantern, and the historic (and insanely unpredictable) combination of Erykah Badu and Ricky Gervais.
Cannes has the glamour of the Croisette, Sundance boasts the first discoveries of the year, and Toronto and Venice have awards season buzz in their corner. Even Tribeca, finally, has its own distinct identity. But the Los Angeles Film Festival has often been too many things to people, and being smack dab in the middle of the entertainment industry has contributed in the past to that identity crisis. This year's edition may change that.