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Michael Goro Takeuchi

Mike Goro Takeuchi is a professional journalist who has written on film and sports  for numerous outlets sincr 2000. An award-winning creative non-fiction writer, Tak also pens a weekly sports column for a newspaper based in Southern California.


He was the production manager for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival from 2006-2015. 











30 Films chosen for U.S. Fiction, Documentary and World Fiction Competitions

– 18 World Premieres –

– Full competition lineup showcases 54 feature films and 39 World Premieres –

LOS ANGELES (May 5, 2015) – Today the Los Angeles Film Festival, produced by Film Independent with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times and Host Partner L.A. LIVE, announced its official U.S. Fiction, Documentary and World Competition sections. Now in its 21st year, the Los Angeles Film Festival offers unparalleled access to creative voices through energetic film programming, Master Classes, live performances and conversations with the most compelling artists working today. The 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival will screen a diverse slate of feature films, shorts, web series and music videos, along with signature programs such as the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film at The GRAMMY Museum® and Master Classes. The Los Angeles Film Festival runs from June 10 through June 18.

The 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival, which returns to downtown Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE for a sixth year has announces a diverse slate of 74 feature films, 60 short films, and over 50 new media works representing 35 countries. New sections this year are the U.S. Fiction and World Fiction Competitions and Launch, as well as the previously announced Buzz, Nightfall and Zeitgeist programs.

“Aligned with Film Independent’s mission, our curatorial focus at the Los Angeles Film Festival this year was to create a program of vibrant and diverse stories and storytellers who exhibit true and singular voices,” said Roya Rastegar, Associate Director of Programming.“We saw thousands of submissions and chose films with unique perspectives that take a risk in whatever story they tell. This year’s films range from micro-budgets to large-scale productions, by first-time directors and widely celebrated veterans. They each hold their own by projecting a distinct way of seeing the world.”

“The Documentary Competition is a truly international line-up of character-driven work, reflective of a pervading trend in trans-national productions,” said Jennifer Cochis, Senior Programmer. “The World Fiction Competition is a highly curated section of films that upend preconceived notions of place to create a different way to see a time, country, or people.” This year’s Documentary Competition is sponsored by Netflix and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television.

In its inaugural year, the Launch section is designed to showcase innovations in independent storytelling crafted in digital media including music videos, web series, podcasts, interactive games and digital activism shorts.

“Launch recognizes vibrant pools of independent artists who are telling stories their way to larger audiences because of new platforms and technologies,” said Programmer Drea Clark.

The Opening Night Film is Grandma and there will be Gala Screenings of the first episode of the TV series Scream as well as the feature films Seoul Searching and The Final Girls. Two Pre-Festival Screenings will also be held: Dope will have its LA Premiere on June 8, Inside Out will screen on June 9 and be preceded by a special Master Class with writer/director Pete Docter. Previously announced, this year’s Guest Director is Rodrigo García, Gale Anne Hurd will receive the Jaeger-Lecoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award and Lily Tomlin will receive the Spirit of Independence Award.

More special screenings and programs will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Festival’s six competitions feature 53 Premieres: 39 World Premieres, six International Premieres, four North American Premieres and four U.S. Premieres. 26 of the World, International, and North American Premieres are in the U.S. Fiction, Documentary and World Fiction Competition sections, 21 of the World Premieres are in the inaugural Nightfall, Zeitgeist, and LA Muse competitions. Between the six feature competition categories, nearly 40% of the directors are female and nearly 30% of the films are directed by people of color.

Passes are currently on sale to Film Independent Members and the general public. In addition to access to screenings and events (even after they sell out), Festival passes provide access to networking receptions and the Festival Lounge, where pass holders interact with Festival filmmakers and professionals in the film community. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale to Film Independent Members beginning Thursday, May 14 and to the general public beginning Tuesday, May 19. Contact the Ticket Office for passes, tickets and event information by calling 866.FILM.FEST (866.345.6337) or visit

The Los Angeles Film Festival team is comprised of Festival Director Stephanie Allain, Film Independent Curator Elvis Mitchell, Associate Director of Programming Roya Rastegar, Senior Programmer Jennifer Cochis, Programmers Jenn Wilson and Drea Clark, Head Shorts Programmer Landon Zakheim, Festival Consultant Maggie Mackay, Manager of Industry Relations Mel Jones, Senior Director of Film Education María Raquel Bozzi, Director of Event Production Shawn Davis and Director of Event Operations Ralph Rivera.  In addition, the Festival’s Associate Feature Film Programmers include Julie Anderson, Christine Davila, Samuel Douek, Steven Jacobson, Lee Jameson, Mark Maynard, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Stephanie Owens, Ray Price and So Yun Um; Short Film Programmers Ernesto Foronda, Carlos Hatcher, Meghan McWilliams, Atsuko Okatsuka, Paul Sbrizzi, Cedar Sherber and Jacques Thelemaque and Programming Consultants Adella Ladjevardi, Jai Tiggett, and Josh Mandel.


US Fiction Competition (10)

Original voices with distinct visions from emerging and established American independent filmmakers.

  • 3rd Street Blackout, dir. Negin Farsad, Jeremy Redleaf, USA, World Premiere
  • A Country Called Home, dir. Anna Axster, USA, World Premiere
  • Bastards y Diablos, dir. A.D. Freese, USA/Colombia, World Premiere
  • The Girl in the Book, dir. Marya Cohn, USA, World Premiere
  • How He Fell in Love, dir. Marc Meyers, USA, World Premiere
  • It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, dir. Emily Ting, USA, World Premiere
  • Mekko, dir. Sterlin Harjo, USA, World Premiere
  • Out of My Hand, dir. Takeshi Fukunaga, USA/Liberia, N. American Premiere
  • Puerto Ricans in Paris, dir. Ian Edelman, USA/France/Czech Republic, World Premiere
  • Too Late, dir. Dennis Hauck, USA, World Premiere


Documentary Competition (12) Sponsored by Netflix and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television.

Compelling, character-driven non-fiction films from the U.S. and around the world. 

  • A New High, dir. Samuel Miron, Stephen Scarpulla, USA, World Premiere
  • The Babuskhas of Chernobyl, dir. Holly Morris, USA/Ukraine, World Premiere
  • Be Here Now (The Andy Whitfield Story), dir. Lilibet Foster, USA/Australia, World Premiere
  • Catching the Sun, dir. Shalini Kantayya, USA, World Premiere
  • In a Perfect World, dir. Daphne McWilliams, USA, World Premiere
  • Incorruptible, dir. Chai Vasarhelyi, Senegal/USA, International Premiere
  • Love Between the Covers, dir. Laurie Kahn, USA, U.S. Premiere
  • Maiko: Dancing Child, dir. Åse Svenheim Drivenes, Japan/Norway, World Premiere
  • Missing People, dir. David Shapiro, USA, U.S. Premiere
  • My Love, Don’t Cross That River, dir. Mo-Young Jin, South Korea, U.S. Premiere
  • Oriented, dir. Jake Witzenfeld, UK/Palestine/Israel, International Premiere
  • Treasure; From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story, dir. dream hampton, USA, World Premiere


World Fiction Competition (8)

Unique fiction films from around the world from emerging and established filmmakers, especially curated for LA audiences.

  • Atomic Heart, dir. Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran, North American Premiere
  • Ayanda and the Mechanic, dir. Sara Blecher, South Africa, World Premiere
  • Elvira, Te Daria Mi Vida Pero La Estoy Usando (Elvira, I’d Give You My Life But I’m Using It), dir. Manolo Caro, Mexico, International Premiere
  • Flocking (Flocken), dir. Baeta Gardeler, Sweden, North American Premiere
  • Las Malas Lenguas (Sweet and Vicious), dir. Juan Paolo Arias, Colombia, World Premiere
  • A Midsummer’s Fantasia, dir. Jang Kun-Jae, South Korea/Japan, U.S. Premiere
  • Sin Alas (Without Wings), dir. Ben Chace, Cuba, International Premiere
  • White Moss (Belyy Yagel), dir. Vladimir Tumaev, Russian Federation, International Premiere


Short Films (60): From over 3,000 submissions, the short films selected represent 15 countries, and 50% are directed by women.Short films are shown before features and as part of six short film programs. Shorts will compete for juried prizes for fiction and documentary shorts, as well as an Audience Award for Best Short Film.


Future Filmmakers Showcase: High School Shorts (27)The Los Angeles Film Festival’s Future Filmmaker Showcase brings to the big screen the best films made by budding young filmmakers from across the country and the globe. In this diverse slate of films, incredibly accomplished high school students will present wild comedies, moving dramas, mesmerizing animation, introspective experimental films and everything in between. Program funded by Lisa Argyros/Argyros Family Foundation, Loyola Marymount University’sSchool of Film and Television and Time Warner Foundation.


Launch (50+)

Independent storytelling crafted through digital media, including music videos, web series, podcasts, interactive games and digital activism shorts.

  • Making Cool Sh*t: The Music Videos of OK Go (10)

Equally comfortable with filmmaking and songwriting through with visual art and rock concerts, OK Go have bridged art forms that used to be considered distinct. This showcase of their music videos will be followed by an extended talk with frontman and director Damian Kulash.

  • Episodes: Indie Series from the Web (13)

A showcase of independently crafted web series, celebrating rising show creators whose work is innovative and unfiltered.

  • Movies For Your Ears: Making Picture-less Films (1)

Creator Jonathan Mitchell explores his podcast The Truth, which showcases crafted, colorful and diverse works of short fiction that are at once cinematic and musical.

  • Interactive Storytelling: IndieCade Gaming Favorites (9)

Innovation and artistry in interactive media is showcased through a collection of rich, diverse, and culturally significant games on custom gaming PCs provided by Dell Computers.

  • #BlackLifeBlackProtest (5)

Bridging content creations and social justice issues, this curated selection of socially relevant short films precedes a public dialogue among noted artists, activists and educators.

  • JASH Presents: An Evening of Buh Comedy

An intimate evening with comedy luminaries screening unreleased videos of their creation along with favorite inspiring videos of their choice. Hosted by Dead Kevin, guests include Doug Lussenhop, Henry Phillips, and more.

  • Funny or Die’s Make ‘em LAFF Showcase

A live comedy showcase of today’s most diverse and original independent comedic voices, featuring comedians such as Beth Stelling, Solomon Georgio and Chris Garcia, with additional performers to be announced.


Previously announced Festival sections include Buzz, LA Muse, Nightfall and Zeitgeist. Three new titles have been added to Buzz and are listed below.


Buzz (13)

Los Angeles premieres of celebrated favorites from around the world.

  • JUST ANNOUNCED: Brand: A Second Coming, dir. Ondi Timoner, UK/USA
  • Chuck Norris vs Communism, dir. Illinca Calugareanu, UK/Romania/Germany
  • The Dark Horse, dir.James Napier Robertson,New Zealand
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl, dir. Marielle Heller, USA
  • In Football We Trust, dir. Tony Vainuku, co-dir. Erika Cohn, USA
  • Infinitely Polar Bear, dir. Maya Forbes, USA
  • JUST ANNOUNCED: Jimmy’s Hall, dir. Ken Loach, UK/Ireland/France
  • Manson Family Vacation, dir. J. Davis, USA
  • The Overnight, dir. Patrick Brice, USA
  • People, Places, Things, dir. James C. Strouse, USA
  • JUST ANNOUNCED: The Vanished Elephant, dir. Javier Fuentes León, Peru/Colombia/Spain
  • Victoria, dir. Sebastian Schipper, Germany
  • Sweet Micky for President, dir. Ben Patterson, Haiti/USA


LA Muse (10)

A competitive section of world premieres of fiction and documentary films that are quintessentially L.A.

  • A Beautiful Now, dir. Daniela Amavia, USA, World Premiere
  • Aram, Aram, dir. Christopher Chambers, USA, World Premiere
  • Can You Dig This, dir. Delila Vallot, USA, World Premiere
  • Day Out of Days, dir. Zoe R. Cassavetes, USA, World Premiere
  • The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce, dir. Baron Davis, Chad Gordon, USA, World Premiere
  • The Escort, dir. Will Slocombe, USA, World Premiere
  • Flock of Dudes, dir. Bob Castrone, USA, World Premiere
  • French Dirty, dir. Wade Allain-Marcus & Jesse Allain-Marcus, USA, World Premiere
  • No Más Bebés (No More Babies), dir. Renee Tajima-Peña, USA, World Premiere
  • Weepah Way for Now, dir. Stephen Ringer, USA, World Premiere


Nightfall (8)

From the bizarre to the horrifying, these are films to watch after dark. Films premiering for the first time in the U.S. are nominated for the Nightfall Award.

  • Caught, dir. Maggie Kiley, USA, World Premiere
  • The Confines, dir. Eytan Rockaway, USA, World Premiere
  • Crumbs, dir. Miguel Llansó, Spain/Ethiopia/Finland, North American Premiere
  • Crush the Skull, dir. Viet Nguyen, USA, World Premiere
  • Dude Bro Party Massacre III, dir. Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, USA, World Premiere
  • Plan Sexenal (Six Year Plan)dir. Santiago Cendejas, Mexico, North American Premiere
  • Ratter, dir. Branden Kramer, USA, LA Premiere
  • Shut In, dir. Adam Schindler, USA, World Premiere


Zeitgeist (6)

A competitive section of curated, World Premiere films that embody key trends in American independent filmmaking. 2015 captures hard knock, coming of age stories.

  • A Girl Like Grace, dir. Ty Hodges, USA, World Premiere
  • Band of Robbers, dir. Aaron Nee & Adam Nee, USA, World Premiere
  • In the Treetops, dir. Matthew Brown, USA, World Premiere
  • Manifest Destiny, dir. Michael Dwyer, Kaitlin McLaughlin, USA, World Premiere
  • Stealing Cars, dir. Bradley Kaplan, USA, World Premiere
  • What Lola Wants, dir. Rupert Glasson, USA, World Premiere


About Michael Goro Takeuchi