NewFilmmakers LA Film Festival Takes Pride in LGBT Film on June 27th in Downtown Los Angeles

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NewFilmmakers LA celebrates Pride month with LGBT stories from around the world during the June 27th Film Festival at AT&T Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

Feature Film 'Kittens in a Cage' by Jillian Armenante

From activists such as Chaz Bono, to our most recent transformation of Olympic athlete and adored celebrity, Bruce Jenner, heartwarming and inspirational stories of the LGBT community are advocating change; as public figures, they are paving the way and empowering our youth to stand up for their equal rights to the comfortable and compassionate relationships they deserve.

This month, NewFilmmakers LA is honored to announce three LGBT Pride programs from artists who have made it possible to share their stories; to bring awareness to the hardships they have witnessed through friends and family. The festival will include ten films with four shorts, a documentary feature, and a narrative feature as part of the In Focus LGBT program.

KITTENS IN A CAGE directed by Jillian Armenante (USA)

Ukulele-playing bad girl Junie Butler (Cold Case’s Rebecca Mozo) gets muscled into prison by her rat fink friends. Abandoned by all, she turn to the warm embrace of her pyromaniac cellmate as they plot to escape from a power hungry prison matron (Gigi Bermingham of Scandal) and an axe-murdering beauty queen. Also starring Michelle Monaghan (Golden Globe nominee for True Detective), Joel McHale (The Soup, Community), Laura Weedman (Date Night), Jonathan Sadowski (She’s the Man), Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, Supernatural), Misha Collins (Girl, Interrupted), Phil LaMarr (Pulp Fiction, Futurama, Family Guy), Michaela Watkins (The Back-up Plan), Connor Trinneer (One Life to Live), Sadie Alexandru (Gamer), Rebecca Field (Horrible Bosses) and Jillian Armenante (Judging Amy).

Originally a stage play, written by Kelleen Conway Blanchard, a friend Armenante met at Cider House Rules, the series is a project among friends and family, all of which are involved in the cast and crew, including cinematographer Peter Alton (Borderland). The series has been featured in over a dozen articles in major publications worldwide.

SHUNNED directed by Janice Villarosa (Philippines)

A documentary film about the trauma and struggles faced by a group of Trans women in the Philippines as they compete in a pageant and find strength in their convictions and one another. SHUNNED is the first feature length film for director Janice Villarosa; her short A Day in the Country won Ron Howard’s Canon Imagination Contest and premiered alongside films directed by Eva Longoria and Jamie Foxx. Starring Mimi Juareza (Quick Change) and featuring the work of cinematographer, Mark Celestino (Long Island International Film Expo Best Short Film for My Friend Charlie Whight).

PRETTY BOY directed by Cameron Thrower (USA)

Sean is taken to a motel and is given a prostitute for his 18th birthday by his father. He must sleep with her to fix his questionable homosexuality. Aside from acceptance, PRETTY BOY is about confidence, finding inner strength, and being who you are meant to be. Director, writer and producer Cameron Thrower has won Awards of Excellence for PRETTY BOY at both the Best Shorts Competition and The IndieFest Film Awards. Starring Nick Eversman (Missing, NCIS, House), Rebekah Tripp (producer of Jon Orton’s play Ruffian on the Stair), and Jon Briddell (Criminal Minds), PRETTY BOY inspires youth to follow their hearts and seek out their true family.

ALEX directed by Sondre Fristad (Norway)

Young Trans person Alex struggles with their friends’ trans-phobic attitudes and cyber bullying. Alex is played by Norwegian actor, Brede Fristad, a recent high school graduate who just landed the lead in his first feature film. Director Sondre Fristad is the founder of Fristad Film at the young age of 25 and has received international interest for ALEX. Producer Tina Shruti Karlsen has produced five shorts and has been the Assistant Director on over 20 productions and will finish her bachelor's at the Film School AFDA in South Africa, where she attends with Editor Andreas Hansen Lie. Director of Photography Sebastian Øyangen won an Amandus for Best Documentary in 2013 and has filmed 15 short films and participated as director of photography in over 30 productions.

ELGIN PARK directed by Danny Yourd (USA)

Michael Paul Smith has had a fascinating, challenging and reclusive life. He struggled through bullying, prejudices and health issues until finding a unique way to cope with it all. His answer: a fictional town called Elgin Park. Director Danny Yourd is known for his Sundance Film Fest award winning documentary Blood Brother (alongside director Steve Hoover) and his Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Crocodile Gennadiy, a documentary recently acquired by The Orchard; also on these projects, is cinematographer John Pope, who captures Smith’s dark inspiration for a 1950’s utopia in ELGIN PARK.

AFTER SCHOOL directed by Sam Greisman (USA)

Director Sam Greisman (son of actress Sally Fields), shares fifteen year-old Jack’s (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick from Moonrise Kingdom, The Omen) story as he is forced to come face-to-face with his growing romantic feelings for his best friend Danny (Dante Pailminteri from Orange is the New Black).

RYAN directed by Holly Dorff Long (USA)

This is the powerful true story of a sister’s (Ashley Peldon from Guiding Light) experience when her brother, Ryan (Byron Thames of X-Men), dies of a heroin overdose. RYAN is the directing debut of Holly Dorff Long (Tomorrowland, Avatar); she was previously the Associate Producer on Roadkill, the Santa Barbara audience award-winning feature film and launched the film company Hourglass. Producer Gwendolyn Yates Whittle is an Academy Award nominated supervising sound editor for Avatar and Tron: Legacy, and currently works at Skywalker Sound (Jurassic World, Tomorrowland). Music is composed Jon Anderson (former ‘Yes’ band member), alongside Dan Spollen and Ryan Garner. Also starring Tricia Fisher (Rizzoli and Isles), Matt Labyorteaux (Bride Wars), and Moosie Drier (The Book of Life).

SPLIT END directed by Edward Shieh (USA)

Tachie is young, single, and bored with her social life. She even considers turning blonde. But when Tachie caters a party for a beautiful couple, she finds the charismatic husband uninhibited and also looking for something new. SPLIT END’s film director, Edward Shieh, was nominated for a 2015 FOX Global Directors Fellowship and is also a screenwriter with the WGA East and Digital Caucus. SPLIT END stars Christiane Seidel, known for her role on Boardwalk Empire and her upcoming mystery-thriller, The Hollow, produced by Oscar nominated, Lisa Bruce (Theory of Everything). The cast also includes Brennan Taylor (Broad City, The Amazing Spiderman 2) and Brazilian-Japanese actress, Tatiana Sachie-Toshimitsu (Kiss Me, I’m English).

DEATH OF A GOVERNMENT CLERK directed by Mykyta Samusiev (USA)

Based on a short by Anton Chekhov, DEATH OF A GOVERNMENT CLERK is an exaggerated stylized satire set in 19th Century Russia. The film tells the story of a common man who finds himself overtaken by his insecurities and paranoia after a social faux pas leads him on a path of self-destruction that threatens his very life. The short features Michale Ark (Angels and Demons, The Walking Dead) and Mo Anouti (The Young and the Restless) and is directed by Mykyta Samusiev and produced by Alex Lampsos (Thylacine).

Composer, Sergei Stern, won Best Original Score for Time Out of Mind. Samusiev says, “Raised in a family where life was perceived as a tragic comedy, I’ve grown up seeing the humor in the petty incidents of daily life, where people often reveal their true faces. It is in the same vein that I was inspired to make an adaptation of this short story by Anton Chekov, a testament to his ability to give life to such moments, a commentary on human nature.”

THE STOMACH directed by Ben Steiner (UK)

Frank’s (Simon Meacock from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) had enough. A spirit medium whose unique and grotesque method of channeling the dead is putting his own life at risk, he wants out. But others, in this world and the next, have plans of their own. Producer Dan Dixon has been named one of the top ten horror directors to watch by SSN Insider and is known for his work with Godzilla and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Also starring Neil Newbon (Hollyoaks), Ben Bishop (The Libertines) and Kiki Kendrick (Gridiron UK). THE STOMACH is the first film from Fume Films; part body-horror, part ghost-story, it is a unique tale of Supernatural Noir.

Located in Downtown LA, AT&T Center is the Presenting Venue Sponsor of NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA). Founded in 2007, NFMLA has screened over 1000+ films from over 59 countries. NFMLA boasts over 60,000 supporters locally. The organization provides a forum where filmmakers can be recognized with title supporters Sony Pictures Entertainment, TheWrap, SAG-AFTRA and Variety Magazine.

For information or to reserve tickets to the NewFilmmakers LA June 27th screening event, please visit

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Claire Cianos
NewFilmmakers LA
since: 08/2013
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