Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Concern Foundation's Poster 2018


Concern Foundation for cancer research will host its 44th Annual Block Party on the back lot of Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood on Saturday July 14th 2018 with a new theme “Super Heroes in conquering cancer".The event will feature multiple stages of live entertainment, casino style games, live and silent auctions, and food, desserts and beverages from over 70 of Los Angeles’ best restaurants and caterers.
Concern Foundation at Paramount Studios New York Streets in 2017 (Photo by Karen Ostlund)
 In addition to hosting the various vendors, caterers, sponsors and guests, Concern Foundation chooses to honor members of the community that have provided a significant change towards the fight against cancer. This year, in connection to the theme, the foundation is happy to honor Dr. Jay & Kris Calvert and family as this year’s “Cancer Crusaders” for their participation in helping to conquer cancer through research.

2018 marks Concern’s 50th year and since inception Concern has awarded over $60 Million Dollars in salary support to well over 750 cancer researchers.  While cancer is still one of the leading causes of death in the world, major strides have been made and there are more people surviving their cancer than ever before thanks to cancer research.
Nolan Band at Concern Block Party in 2017 (Photo by Karen Ostlund)
 The Annual Block Party comes as the organization’s largest fundraising event, and for its 44th run will once again be bringing together various vendors, restaurants individual donors and sponsors from the neighboring Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and various Southern California neighborhoods. The anticipated 4,000 supporters will be filling the streets of the iconic New York backlot at Paramount Pictures Studios and the Annual Block Party will be Celebrating 50 Years of Super Heroes: Researchers, Donors and Volunteers.  The true super heroes in the quest to conquer cancer.  The Block Party hopes to reach an additional milestone by exceeding their goal to raise $2 million to financially support research focused on immunology-based methods to treating cancer. This achievement would exceed last year’s total of $1.7 million dollars raised and granted to cancer research.
Dr. Jay & Kris Calvert – 2018 Cancer Crusaders
 Dr. Jay Calvert has been consecutively named one of Los Angeles Magazine's “Super Doctors” in 2014, 2015, and 2016.  He has appeared on multiple hit television programs including CBS’s “The Doctors” and OWN’s “Dr. Phil”.  Alongside his wife Kris, Jay has openly shared their personal experience with cancer; having had prostate cancer affect the lives of both their fathers.
The Calvert’s 10 year old son Ace was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 4 and while today he has beaten his cancer, ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) can always return and he is never truly cured.  This is a major reason he and his family feels so strongly about raising money to help find a permanent cure. 
Jay himself was a young scientist who could not get funding early in his career as a molecular biologist and he personally knows how important our mission to supporting young investigators is to jump start researcher’s careers.
Concern Foundation is proud to have these members of the community serve as this year’s honorees. Their personal connection to the fight against cancer and philanthropic actions alongside the non-profit organization is sure to help make this year’s Block Party a success.
“It’s truly an honor for Concern Foundation to recognize the Calvert family as this year’s Cancer Crusader honorees for their commitment to helping provide salary support for cancer researchers and for sharing their personal story.” Stated Derek Alpert, Concern’s President.
Concern Foundation’s mission is to conquer cancer by providing essential funds to support the early yet critical stages of discovery. Concern has raised and awarded 60 million dollars to 750 gifted cancer scientists studying cancer, primarily in the areas of cancer genetics, cell biology, immunotherapy and immunology around the world.

 For 50 years, Concern has pioneered the advancement of cancer immunology—the study of the relationship between the immune system and cancer—a field that is now widely acknowledged to hold the most potential for discovering treatments and preventions for cancer.

 With 90-95% of net proceeds going directly to research, Concern Foundation has made significant strides toward bridging a major gap in research funding by focusing its grants on young, innovative researchers with breakthrough ideas.
For more information about the 2018 Block Party or ticket/sponsorship details, please visit

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Latino Filmfest Returns to Hollywood, June 20-24 after 5 Years Absent

(left) actor Edward James Olmos at Premios Platino press-conference at Roosevelt Hotel in 2017
– Academy Award-nominated actor Edward James Olmos announced 2018 festival programming for the long-awaited return of LALIFF, the largest Latino film festival to be hosted out of Hollywood, CA, to be presented at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood June 20 – 24 2018.

After 5 years absent  of the festival,  LALIFF’s new Director of Programming Diana Sanchez, and Senior Programmer Dilcia Barrera are introduced.

The Festival will showcase variety of international films by next generation Latino filmmakers including Alan Palomo and Guadalupe Rosales, and a 5-day music series and CultureStrike art installation to coincide with festival, along with first-ever student film festival (LALIFF Legacy)

The Latino festival returns with expanded programming, including both short and long form films created, directed, starring or produced by the next generation of Latino entertainers. filmmakers and cast to present their award-winning work from across the globe: Argentina, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Spain and North America.

“LALIFF has long been the most important Latino film festival in the U.S.but this time around, with the launch of LALIFF Art, LALIFF Music and LALIFF Legacy, we are making sure it becomes the Mecca of Latino content,” said Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF. “LALIFF is a celebration of having our voices heard beyond the film screen, and we felt it crucial to bring the festival back to the place where it started in Hollywood, CA.

LALIFF, aimed at showcasing Latino perspectives through art will kick-off opening night with the Los Angeles premier of “The Sentence,” winner of the “Audience Award – U.S. Documentary” at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Drawing from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis.

Many local and international guests will attend the festival, including iconic Spanish cult filmmaker, Alex de la Iglesia, whose latest comedy Perfect Strangers, is a hilarious commentary on how smartphones can be disastrous for relationships, Veneno, The First Fall, starring Manny Perez, details the life of Dominican wrestler Jack Veneno, who himself was inspired by the films of “El Santo.” Both Manny Perez and filmmaker Tabaré Blanchard will attend.

The festival will also feature 26 bold short films throughout, including the following:

Good Crazy, the Sundance premiered directorial debut of actress Rosa Salizar (James Cameron’s and director Robert Rodriguez’s forthcoming sci-fi action film Alita: Battle Angel, FX’s American Horror Story: Murder House, and the Maze Runner film series).

The Borscht Corp Collective, a series of short films including Chlorophyll from Academy Award-winning director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) in celebration of its 10-year anniversary.

LALIFF will offer two $5 special screenings that include the presentation of Santo Contra “Cererbro del Mal” (1961), a partnership with the Academy Film archive that marks the West Coast premiere of the restoration. To celebrate the World Cup, we are pleased to offer the Uruguayan film Home Team, a tale about a small town boy whose prodigious talent for soccer takes him to places he never dared to dream.

A special Latinx podcast event (“Live from LALIFF”) with Latinos Who Lunch and Locatora Radio will be free and open to the public, as they interview the creator, Tanya Saracho, and the stars of Starz’s new original hit show, VIDA.

The festival will also host the first-ever student film festival, LALIFF Legacy, powered by the year-round work in public schools of the Youth Cinema Project. This two-day student event is presented by CAA.

LALIFF, aimed at showcasing Latino perspectives through art will kick-off opening night Wednesday June 20 with the Los Angeles premiere of the “ The Sentence ,” winner of the “Audience Award – U.S. Documentary” at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Drawing from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” The Mexican Standoff and Tropa Magica will perform after the screening  sponsored by AltaMed.,

The list of feature film screenings :

The Sentence, dir. Rudy Valdez, USA (Opening film)
Bad Labor, dir. Chris Carmona, USA
Bad Lucky Goat, dir. Samir Oliveros, Colombia
Candelaria, dir. Jhonny Hendrix, Colombia/Cuba
Killing Jesus, dir. Laura Mora, USA
La Quinceañera, dir. Gigi Saul Guerrero, USA
Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle, dir. Gustavo Salmerón, Spain
Loveling Gustavo Pizzi, Brazil
Home Team, dir. Carlos Morelli, Uruguay
Perfect Strangers, dir. Alex de la Iglesia, Spain
Santos Contra “Cerebro del Mal”, dir. Joselito Rodriguez, Mexico/Cuba
The Future Ahead, dir. Constanza Novick, Argentina
The Pushouts, dirs. Katie Galloway & Dawn Valdez, USA
Who are You? Ari Maniel Cruz, Puerto Rico
Veneno, The First Fall, dir. Tabaré Blanchard, Dominican Republic
Violeta at Last, dir Hilda Hidalgo, Costa Rica
The Gold Seekers, dir. Tana Schémbori & Juan Carlos Maneglia, Paraguay (Closing film)
“For too long we’ve been talking about issues of inequity and lack of diversity in our industry, and we are looking forward to being part of the solution.” — Edward James Olmos                 

For the full programming schedule, please visit:

Monday, June 11, 2018

LA Pride Parade 2018 Best Moments


Photos Karen Ostlund 
Kickoff LA Pride Parade June 10 at Crescent Heights

The 2018 LA Pride Parade route from Fairfax to Doheny – telling this year’s #JUSTBE story made its way back home along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood on Sunday, June 10th 2018.

Grand Marshal Michaela Ivri Mendelson
This was one of the highlight events of LA Pride Week 2018. This year’s Grand Marshal Michaela Ivri Mendelson, a transgender activist and entrepreneur Mendelson, led a colorful assortment of floats down a  1.5 mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. Mendelsohn is the CEO of Pollo West Group and Founder of TransCanWork, now sits among a number of respected LGBTQ+ activists and community leaders who have received CSW’s most prestigious honor. 
She was chosen by Christopher Street West (CSW),which is a non-profit, organized the world’s first permitted parade advocating for gay rights on June 28, 1970, as a response to and in commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion on Christopher Street in New York City the year prior. Since then, they have built a rich history as an active voice for the LGBTQ+ community across the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Pose (FX) TV show
Attorney Gloria Allred and ladies dressed in "All red"
The Abbey Bar Float with LOVE BOAT Jill Whelan
The Parade floats included the casts of Sense8 (Netflix), It’s Always Sunny (FX) and Pose (FX), along with other celebrities  including Fran Dresher, Jill Whelan from the Love Boat with The Abbey, Ketya from Drag Race, Marlee Matlin, Attorney Gloria Allred and several ladies dressed in and as “all red,” and Congressman Adam Schiff, LA Mayor Garcetti, former Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
(Left with flag) LA Mayor Garcetti
Former Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse
Mickey's Bar in West Hollywood Float at LAPride Parade 2018
#LoveGreatBritain Bus
Sponsor Chipotle's Giant Burrito at LAPride Parade 2018
LA Pride Festival’s second day also featured entertainment of artists including Natalia Jiminez, Keke Wyatt, Allie X, Eve, and Tove Lo.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ketel One Botanical Launch Summer 2018

Photos by Karen Ostlund
– An evening of music, fitness, and cocktails as we get ready to celebrate summer and the launch of Ketel One Botanical, said Tone It Up! co-founder Karena Dawn at Millwick, 800 E 4th Pl , Los Angeles.
May 22nd, Ketel One Botanical launched as a series of three varietals in beautifully illustrated, botanical-inspired bottles: Peach & Orange Blossom, for those who enjoy lush, juicy white peaches and bold notes of fragrant orange blossoms; Cucumber & Mint, for those who appreciate crisp cucumbers and light tones of fresh garden mint; and Grapefruit & Rose, for those who seek zesty, mouthwatering grapefruit and the refined elegance of rose petals.

The evening kicked off with a fitness class taught by Tone It Up! trainers Chyna Rae and Tori Simeone as DJ Brittany Sky spun tunes. Following the class, guests could enjoy fresh tasting, signature Ketel One Botanical cocktails and juice shots.          

Ketel One Botanical is a 30% ABV spirit made with 100% non-GMO grain, with no carbs, no artificial flavors, no added sugars, no artificial sweeteners and it’s only 73 calories. On the cocktail menu:
The Ketel One Botanical & Soda:
Grab a wine glass
Fill it with ice
Pour Ketel One Botanical (1.5 oz.)
Top with sparkling water (3 oz.)
Choose the garnish: fragrant herbs, crisp citrus or fresh fruit
Tone It Up trainers Tori Simeone (L) and Chyna Rae w Ketel One Botanical & Soda
Peachy Keen Fizz  cocktail:
– Ketel One Botanical Peach & Orange Blossom, fresh lemon, strawberry, rhubarb, and tonic water
 Mint To Be cocktail:
– Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint, fresh lime, mint, fresh pressed kiwi juice, agave and club soda
Grapefruit Glow
– Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose, fresh grapefruit, pineapple, wildberry, raw honey, hibiscus flower tea, and rose water

Karen Ostlund at Ketel One Botanical
Ketel One Botanical vodka is distilled with botanicals and infused with fruit and botanical essences and origin from 11th generation family distillers Carl Nolet Jr. and Bob Nolet in Schiedam, Holland. 
Forget Me Not Juice Shot

Saturday, May 5, 2018

13th Annual LAWineFest Returns June 2nd & 3rd to ROW DTLA

Photos by Karen Ostlund

 LAWineFest returns on June 2 and 3, 2018 to downtown LA.

Stroll down for complete list of Wineries & Beers exhibitors 2018
LAWineFest crowd in 2017 at ROW DTLA
Will & Wont's band performed at LAWinefest 2017
Rebel Coast Winery at LAWinefest 2017 at ROW DTLA
The LAWinefest moved last year from Hollywood to the ROW DTLA at 777 S. Alameda Street - an artsy place that offers plenty of parking.
The festival is often called LA's "Signature Celebration of all Things Wine,”and is the  combination of award-winning wines and artisan beers, but offer also coffee, cider and water.
LAWinefest was founded by DR. Joel Fisher (in red shirt).
LAWinefest was founded by DR. Joel Fisher in 2005 and now in its 13th year. The event became popular in L.A. to bring wine and people together, because it balanced fun and education. Each day include tastings, presentations and seminars or just relax to live music in one of the lounge areas.

Guests savor and discover flavors from around the world, whether a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, well balanced Pinot Noir, or an ice cold innovative craft beer. For wine aficionados who want to experience small-batch pours from boutique wineries, there will be a limited number of daily tickets for tastings at vip lounges.

LAWinefest 2017
While sipping, savoring, and strolling, attendees will be able to shop for unique, one-of-a-kind items offered from artesian boutique exhibitors along with the ROW DTLA new shops opening throughout the complex. Food trucks will be on site.

LAWineFest will donate a portion of the event proceeds to a worth non-profit organization.
Event sponsors include ROW DTLA, Los Angeles Magazine, Icelandic Glacial, King Barrel, Pasquini Coffee.

Admission to LAWineFest includes commemorative glass, beverage sampling, bottled water, coffee and bread. Designated drivers are encouraged and receive discounted admission.
Pasquini Coffee

Festival hours are: Saturday, June 2nd: 2pm to 6pm, and
Sunday, June 3rd: 1pm to 5pm. Tickets are $90 per day or $120 (which includes the popular and limited boutique tasting), and $25 for designated drivers. More info at

                                             Wineries LAWinefest 2018

Ascension Cellars*
Byron Blatty Wines*
Caduceus Cellars/Merkin Vineyards
Cass Winery
Cavaletti Vineyards
Cloak & Dagger Wines
Clos Pepe Estate*
Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits
Giracci Family of Wines* (Giracci Vineyards, A Stone’s Throw, Cowboy Canyon)
Herzog Wine Cellars (Sunday only)
J. Wilkes Wines (Saturday only)
Joya Import
Kooksoondang Brewery Co., LTD
LOLA Wines
Los Angeles International  Wine Competition
Lucky Dogg Winery
New Zealand Wine Navigator*
Obvious Wines
PB Importers – Hungarian Wines
Quigley Fine Wines
Riboli Family Wines of San Antonio Winery
Roadhouse Winery*
Slyd Wines*
Sycamore Ranch Vineyard & Winery*
Temecula Valley Winegrowers
The Wine Caterers
Vino Vibes*
Wedell Cellars*
Wilson Creek Winery
Wines of Greece
Yarden Wines
* Boutique Wineries

Beers & Ciders LAWinefest 2018

Highwater Brewing
Iron Triangle Brewing Company
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lincoln Beer Company
Reel Brew Co.
San Fernando Brewing Company

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

COLCOA French Film Festival 2018 Winners: Cinema, Television, Shorts & Digital Series

Announcements by Karen Ostlund

COLCOA French Film Festival Announced 17 Awards For Cinema, Television, Shorts and Digital Series at the 22nd Edition of the Festival, which ended yesterday.

LE BRIO Wins LAFCA Jury Award and BLOODY MILK/Petit Paysan Wins Audience Award 
LE BRIO Wins LAFCA Jury Award
BLOODY MILK/Petit Paysan Wins Audience Award
 (West Hollywood, May 1, 2018) The Franco-American Cultural Fund, a collaboration between the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, The Writers Guild of America West and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM), announced today the awards for the 22nd edition of COLCOA French Film Festival.

COLCOA Cinema – 8 Awards

This year’s LAFCA film jury was comprised of Lael Lowenstein (KPCC’s FilmWeek), Wade Major (KPCC’s FilmWeek, DigiGods, and Chuck Wilson (LA Weekly and Village Voice).

LE BRIO, written and directed by Yvan Attal was awarded the COLCOA LAFCA Critics Award/Prix de la Critique by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Jury at the 22nd edition of COLCOA French Film Festival.

Jury Statement
At a time of heightened racial and religious tensions on both sides of the Atlantic, writer/director Yvan Attal’s superb LE BRIO shines a hopeful light on a subject too often relegated to dark prognostications. In blending elements from such classics as PYGMALION and THE PAPER CHASE with serious issues of contemporary concern, Attal’s smart, elegantly-crafted and superbly entertaining film is both socially relevant and artistically proficient, making it the perfect choice for our COLCOA jury.  In the hands of veteran Daniel Auteuil and dazzling newcomer Camélia Jordana, Attal’s crackling dialogue becomes the spark that sets off one of the most incendiary screen pairings in recent years. 
C’EST LA VIE!/Le Sens de la fête, written and directed by Éric Toledano & Olivier Nakache, was awarded the LAFCA Critics Special Prize/Prix Special de la Critique.
Jury Statement
C’EST LA VIE! is further confirmation that Éric Toledano and Olivier Nakache are among the most skilled filmmakers currently working anywhere in the world. It’s an unbelievable juggling act — folding an unwieldy number of characters and subplots into a single, frenetic event — that manages to be as life-affirming as it technically accomplished. 
LUNA, written and directed by Elsa Diringer, received the Best First Feature Award/Prix du Meilleur Premiere Film.

Jury Statement
Our jury also celebrates the achievement of first-time writer/director Elsa Diringer whose LUNA stands apart from a host of other films wrestling with the contemporary challenges of youth. Anchored by a sterling lead performance from Laëtitia Clément, LUNA is at once heartbreaking and impassioned, deeply empathetic and bracingly optimistic.

BLOODY MILK/Petit Paysan, written and directed by Hubert Charuel, won the distinguished COLCOA Audience Award/Prix du Public.
PROMISE AT DAWN/La Promesse de l’aube, written and directed by Éric Barbier, opened the festival, and won the Audience Special Prize/Prix Special du Public.

MAKALA, directed by Emmanual Gras, received the Best Documentary Award/Prix du Meilleur Documentaire.

CUSTODY/Jusqu’ à la garde, written and directed by Xavier Legrand, was awarded the Coming Soon Award, which is awarded to a film with a U.S. distributor.   The film will be released by Kino Lorber later this year. 
SEE YOU UP THERE/Au revoir là-haut, written and directed by Albert Dupontel, won the American Students Award/Prix des Etudiants Amercains.  This award was voted on exclusively by a jury of ten students from local area high schools and colleges.

COLCOA Television – 4 Awards
Presented in association with TV France International and TITRAFILM, the COLCOA Television competition awarded four programs the following awards:

THE AGE OF STATELESS/Le Temps des égarés, written by Gaëlle Belland, directed by Virginie Sauveur, received the Best TV Movie Award/Prix du Meilleur Telefilm.
PROUD/Fiertes, written by José Caltagirone, Niels Rahou, Philippe Faucon and directed by Philippe Faucon, was awarded the Best TV Series Award/Prix de la Meilleure Serie and the Audience Award (TV Series)/Prix de L’Audiene (Serie).

INFIDELITY/Un Adultere written by Eric Assous, Stéphanie Vasseur and directed by Philippe Harel, was honored with the TV Movie Audience Award/Prix de L’Audience Telefilm.

COLCOA Shorts – 4 Awards

GRAMS/Petites filles, written/directed by Camille Japy, won the Best Short Film Award/Prix du Meilleur Court Metrage.

THE WRINKLES/Les Bigorneaux, written/directed by Alice Vial, received both the Best Short Film Special Prize/Prix Special du Court Metrage and the Audience Short Film Award/Prix de L’audience Court Metrage.

HYBRIDS, written/directed by Romain Thirion, Florian Brauch, Matthieu Pujol, Kim Tailhades, and Yohan Thireau,was awarded the inaugural Best Animated Short/Prix du Court Metrage d’animation.

COLCOA Digital Series – 1 Award
BIARRITZ SURF GANG, written and directed by Nathan Curren and Pierre Denoyel, was awarded The Best Digital Series/Prix de la Meilleure Serie Digitale.
86 films, television series, digital series and VR programs were presented at COLCOA this year and 33 features, 4 documentaries, 23 short films, 12 television series, and 4 digital series competed for the 2018 COLCOA Awards. Films details:

This year’s festival opened on Monday, April 23 with the North American Premiere of writer/director Eric Barbier’s PROMISE AT DAWN and closed with the North American premiere of Cedric Kahn’s new drama THE PRAYER on Monday, April 30.  Writer, director and actress Mélanie Laurent was honored as the “Focus on a Filmmaker” and composer Laurent Perez Del Mar was honored with the “Focus on a Composer.”  Happy Hour talks included France’s Female New Wave with panelists w/d Sou Abadi (SOME LIKE IT VEILED, w/d Elisa Diringer (LUNA), actor Camélia Jordana (LE BRIO and SOME LIKE IT VEILED), w/d Nawell Madani (STAND UP GIRL) and w/d Marie-Garel Weiss (THE PARTY’S OVER) and a panel with several of the festival filmmakers including w/d Eric Barbier (PROMISE AT DAWN), w/d Samuel Benchetrit (DOG), w/d Hubert Charuel (BLOODY MILK), w/d/p Charles de Meaux (THE LADY IN THE PORTRAIT), w/d Xavier Legrand (CUSTODY) and w/d Marie-Garel Weiss (PARTY’S OVER).


Other attendees included director Jon Amiel, writer, director, producer Lucia Aniello, composer Jean-Michel Bernard, Anthony Bajon (THE PRAYER), director Modi Barry (CHATEAU), w/d Dany Boon (FAMILY IS FAMILY), director James Bort (RISE OF A STAR), actor Isabelle Candelier (BLOODY MILK), w/d Christian Carion (MY SON), author Erri De Luca, Prima Ballerina at Paris Opera Ballet Dorothée Gilbert (RISE OF A STAR), actor Vanessa Guide (LET THE GIRLS PLAY), w/d Taylor Hackford, musician Jean-Michel Jarre, w/d Philippe Le Guay (NAKED NORMANDY), writer, director, producer and education Jeremy Kagan, actor Xavier Lemaître (INFIDELITY), actor Gong Li, w/d Michael Mann, w/d Mike Mills, actor Vanessa Paradis (DOG), composer Lalo Schifrin (Honoree), singer Hélène Ségara. w/d Francis Veber (THE DINNER GAME), and w/d Marie-Garrel Weiss (PARTY’S OVER).

COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique collaboration between the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, the Writers Guild of America West, and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM). COLCOA is also supported by France’s Society of Authors, Directors and Producers (L’ARP), the Film and TV Office of the French Embassy in Los Angeles, the CNC, TV France International, and Unifrance.

COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is sponsored by Air Tahiti Nui, TV5MONDE, Variety (Official Sponsors); Admirable Malibu Wines, Airstar America, Barnstormer, France Télévisions, KPCC 89.3, Los Angeles Times, Champagne Trésor de France, The Hollywood Reporter (Premier Sponsors); Club Culinaire of Southern California, ELMA, LA Confidential, Sunset Marquis, Titra Film (Major Sponsors); Alliance Française de Los Angeles, Cinando, D’Alessio Law Group, Discover Hollywood, Duverger, Laemmle, Marché du Film/Festival de Cannes, Miraval/Vineyard Brands/La Vielille Ferme, Office de Tourisme Epernay, Paul M. Young Fine Wines, (Platinum Sponsors); Cinelife, Delair Labs, France-Amérique, French Morning, Gayot, Hénaff Gonidec, La Chouquette, Le Grenouille Selections/The Source Imports, Locations Wines, Lycée International Los Angeles, Mademoiselle M, MAC, Petit Pot, Rosenthal, Samsung, Sharingbox, Tealeaves (Supporting Sponsors).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

COLCOA French Film & TV Festival Returns April 23-30 in West Hollywood

Announcements by Karen Ostlund

 COLCOA French Film Festival will return its 22nd anniversary in the theaters of the Directors Guild of America, from April 23 to April 30, 2018 in West Hollywood, CA.
More than 120 screenings and panels are scheduled, including feature films, documentary, shorts, TV and digital series will compete for the COLCOA Awards.
 “Through its different competitions, we are proud to dedicate this year’s programming of COLCOA to women, both in their role in the making of the films and series, and their central roles in the majority of the stories selected this year,” said François Truffart, COLCOA Executive Producer and Artistic Director.
“Concretely, we will also introduce a new series called Women Make History.  We will dedicate a day to first films made by female writers and directors; our Focus on a Filmmaker day will be offered to writer, director, actor Mélanie Laurent; and one of our panels will address the role of women in the French film industry.”

An exclusive lineup of 37 new features and documentaries will compete for the COLCOA CINEMA AWARDS, beginning on Opening Night (Monday, April 23) with the North American Premiere of writer/director Eric Barbier’s PROMISE AT DAWN. This adaptation of French author Romain Gary’s autobiography and celebration of his mother gathers, in the title roles, Pierre Niney and Charlotte Gainsbourg

The cinema competition will close on Monday, April 30, with the North American Premiere of Cedric Kahn’s new drama, THE PRAYER.  The film recently had its triumphant world premiere at the Berlin Film festival where newcomer Anthony Bajon won the Best Actor Award.

Stroll down for COLCOA Television Competition Lineup 2018.

The Franco-American Cultural Fund have announced that Mélanie Laurent will be honored as their “Focus on a Filmmaker” at the COLCOA French Film Festival.  Additionally, they have announced the five films that comprise the “COLCOA Classic Series.”  These selections will be presented as part of COLCOA’s 22nd edition, which will run Monday, April 23 through Monday, April 30, with all screenings taking place at the Directors Guild of America.   All films in the COLCOA Classics are FREE to the public. 

FOCUS ON A FILMMAKER: MÉLANIE LAURENT presented in association with Gravitas Films, Rialto Pictures, Unifrance and Variety:
COLCOA will honor writer, director and actress Mélanie Laurent on Thursday, April 26, with a special presentation of her first film THE ADOPTED/LES ADOPTÉS as part of the COLCOA Classics series. The film premiered at COLCOA in 2012 and won the COLCOA First Feature Award.  Following the first screening, Laurent will participate in a Happy Hour Talk dedicated to her career.  The evening will conclude with the U.S. Premiere of Laurent’s latest film DIVING/PLONGER that will be released in the U.S later this year by Gravitas Film.

THE ADOPTED/LES ADOPTÉS (2011) is the story of a family. A family of women often tossed about by life, but who have managed with time to ride out the storms. Men have little place in the women's lives and it's therefore quite natural that when one of the women falls in love, things come asunder. The family equilibrium has to be redefined and everyone strives to do so as best they can. But fate allows them to barely catch their breath before imposing another reality. The family must then learn everything anew. The mechanics of adoption must once again be put into action, obliging each person to change places.  Written by Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Perez, Christophe Deslandes; directed by Mélanie Laurent; with Marie Denarnaud, Denis Ménochet, Mélanie Laurent, Clémentine Célarié.  The film is distributed in the U.S. by Rialto Pictures.

 DIVING/PLONGER (2017): César and Paz are madly in love. Paz, a Spanish photographer, is always looking for new experiences. But César, previously a war journalist, is looking for peace and quiet. Paz gets pregnant and the perspective of motherhood smothers her. Each day she becomes more distant, lost in a quest she can’t quite grasp herself. Until she suddenly leaves behind César and their baby with no explanation. Written by Christophe Deslandes, Julien Lambroschini, Mélanie Laurent, Christophe Ono-dit-Biot; directed by Mélanie Laurent; with Gilles Lellouche, María Valverde, Ibrahim Ahmed. The film will be distributed in the U.S. later this year by Gravitas Films.

THE DINNER GAME/LE DINER DE CONS (1998 – Comedy – Written and directed by Francis Veber.)  20th Anniversary presentation in association with Gaumont:
A few well-heeled folk each bring a dimwit along who is to talk about his pastime at a weekly dinner. Each member seeks to introduce a champion dumbbell. Pierre, an avid participant of the game, runs into one problem after another that devilishly compromises his secrets, turning the tables on him and his objective, which diverges as the movie progresses. Firstly, wishing to be certain he has selected a winner, he invited his guest, Mr. Pignon, to meet him at home before setting off; but night of all nights, Pierre has put his back out and it is questionable whether he can manage to get to the dinner. The blundering Mr. Pignon will continually spring forward to help relieve Pierre of his troubles, which have drastically compounded, pointing in the direction of friends, taxes and women, and Pierre's dimwit Pignon accordingly will prove his substance to the end.  Written and directed by Francis Veber, with Jacques Villeret, Thierry Lhermitte, Francis Huster.

 THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID/LA CHAIR DE L'ORCHIDEE (1975 – drama co-written and directed by Patrice Chéreau) - International Premiere of restored version presented in association with Pyramide Productions and Tamasa Distribution:
A disturbed young woman is kept prisoner in a castle by her aunt for her money. The game-keeper, her guardian, tries to rape her but she escapes. In her flight she meets a man also running away, from two killers. Written by James Hadley Chase, Jean-Claude Carrière, Patrice Chéreau; directed by Patrice Chéreau; with Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Edwige Feuillère.

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEF/PREPAREZ VOS MOUCHOIRS (1978 – Comedy written and directed by Bertrand Blier) - International Premiere of restored version presented in association with Cohen Media Group (40th Anniversary):
Solange is depressed and sick. Friends and neighbors are convinced she needs a child. Her husband enlists the help of another man as her lover, Stéphane, in hopes of getting her pregnant. He fails to cheer her up or impregnate her. The three open a summer camp for children where Solange meets 13-year-old Christian. Christian cheers her up, becomes her lover, and fathers a child by her. Written and directed by Bertrand Blier, with Gérard Depardieu, Carole Laure, Patrick Dewaere, Michel Serrault.  The film will be distributed in the United States later this year by Cohen Media Group.

PEPPERMINT SODA/DIABOLO MENTHE (1977 – Comedy, drama co-written and directed by Diane Kurys) - International Premiere of restored version presented in association with Cohen Media Group (40th Anniversary of the U.S. release):
In the fall of 1963, Anne is becoming a teenager. She lives in Paris with her mother and her older sister, Frédérique. They're just back from summer at the beach with their father. School starts. For Frédérique it's the year of her first serious love, her first foray into politics (the Algerian question and "ban the bomb"), her first kiss from an older man, her first friend who runs away, and her first loss of friendship over values. For Anne, who watches her sister closely, it's a year of her first period and of learning to talk to boys, dealing with unfair teachers, and sorting things out with mom after getting in trouble. Written by Diane Kurys and Alain Le Henry; directed by diane Kurys, with Eléonore Klarwein, Odile Michel, Anouck Ferjac.  The film will be distributed in the United States later this year by Cohen Media Group.

 The COLCOA Classics series is free with no reservation needed on a first come first served basis.

COLCOA Television Competition Lineup 2018:

This year the Television section includes 12 selections competing for the COLCOA 2018 Television Awards given by both audience and a professional jury.  This year’s Television section is comprised of television series and TV movies, including the International Premiere of PROUD, a three-part miniseries that spans three generations with each generation dealing with a crucial gay rights moment in France. The section is presented in association with TV France International and TITRAFILM with the support of AMC Networks, Arte Distribution, Endemol Shine International, Film & Picture, France TV Distribution, Gaumont, Lagardère Studios, Leonis, Scarlett Productions, StudioCanal, Tetra Media, TF1 Studio and Walter Presents.

BEYOND SUSPICION / Insoupçonnable (TV Series – Season 1) – North American Premiere:
This highly anticipated series is an unexpectedly chilling thriller that follows gifted Parisian criminologist Chloé Fisher, who is sent to Lyon to investigate the murder of a powerful politician’s daughter-in-law. The perp in question is Paul Brodsky, a loving family man, perfect in every way and beyond reproach — shrink by day, abominable serial killer by night. And he’s just spotted his next victim.  An adaptation of the Belfast-based BBC series THE FALL. Written by Virginie Brac; directed by Fred Garson, Christophe Lamotte; with Emmanuelle Seignier, Melvil Poupaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Claire Keim and Patrick Chesnais.

THE AGE OF STATELESS / Le Temps des Egarés (TV Movie) - North American Premiere:
Sira is a former refugee.  She speaks six languages and works as a translator for OFPRA, the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons, which is responsible for applying the dictates of the Geneva Convention.  Unscrupulous and extremely lucid, Sira doesn’t hesitate to extort huge sums of money from displaced foreigners seeking asylum in France.  While the story is fictional, the dramatic fate and cruelty imposed upon refugees rejected by OFPRA are approached with great accuracy.  Written by Virginie Sauveur, Gaëlle Belland; directed by Virginie Sauveur; with Claudia Tagbo, Biyouna B, Jean-Pierre Lorit, Hadja Traore, Alice Belaïdi.

THE ART OF CRIME / L’Art Du Crime (TV series) - North American Premiere:
Booted off the Paris police force for insubordination, Antoine Verlay is transferred to a government task force fighting the illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts. A hothead and keen investigator, he teams up with Florence Chassagne, a renowned art historian at the Louvre. As Antoine and Florence solve a series of modern-day crimes that take place in France’s storied museums and landmarks, they unveil some of the great mysteries of the country’s cultural and historical heritage. Created by Angele Herry-Leclerc, Pierre-Yves Mora; directed by Charlotte Brandstrom and Nicolas Guicheteau; with Benjamin Egner, Eleonore Gosset-Bernheim, Nicolas Gob, Philippe Duclos.

BARON NOIR (TV Series – Season 2) - North American Premiere:
This second season of this critically-acclaimed political thriller returns with the election of France's first female president and an unprecedented institutional crisis. Will Philippe Rickwaert's tactical genius be enough to reconcile the irreconcilable or will he have to accept his own destiny and reveal the true nature of the Baron Noir?  Created by Eric Benzekri and Jean-Baptiste Delafon; directed by Ziad Doueri; with César Award-winner and International Emmy nominee Kad Marad, Anna Mouglalis, Astrid Whettnall. (Season 1 screened at COLCOA 2017 and is available in the U.S. on Walter Presents platform.)

BEAUTIFUL LOSER / Irresponsable (TV Series – Season 2) - North American Premiere:
Exasperating, charming, disarming... Julien is back! And so is BEAUTIFUL LOSER, which last year’s Season 1 won the COLCOA 2017 Best Series Award. Incurable slacker, perpetual teenager, improbable father, Julien is ever improvising his life with as much poetry as he can conjure up. Season 2 opens with Julien spending his days hanging out at his son Jacques’ middle school, where his ex-girlfriend, Marie, works. Julien is thrown a curve ball when an unexpected turn of events suddenly threatens his carefree, cozy existence of squatting at mom’s place. Julien is forced to look for an alternative living situation and is finally determined to become self-sufficient. But learning to live as a responsible adult at 32 is apparently not as easy as it seems. Created by Frédéric Rosset; with Sébastien Chassagne, Théo Fernandez, Nathalie Cerda and Sam Karmann.

THE CONSOLATION (TV Movie) - North American Premiere:  
Based on French TV host Flavie Flament’s autobiographical novel of the same name, the film recounts the story of Flavie, a successful TV host suddenly stricken with dizzy spells. In an attempt to avoid fainting on-air, she decides to see a psychiatrist, who suggests she bring a photo album of childhood pictures to their session. When a particular Polaroid of Flavie at 13, taken by celebrated British photographer David Hamilton, tumbles out of the album, horrific obliterated memories suddenly flood her consciousness. “He raped me,” the stunned woman mutters. As a footnote, despite his denials, one week after Flament publicly identified Hamilton as the character in her novel, the photographer — famous for his soft-focus photos of nude young girls — famously committed suicide. Written and directed by Magaly Richard-Serrano, based on the novel by Flavie Flament; with Lou Gable, Émilie Dequenne and Philip Schurer.

I LOVE YOU 2 / J’ai Deux Amours (TV series) – North American Premiere:                          Hector’s life is nice and neat. He’s gay, a doctor, and has been living with Jérémie for five years now. They’re even planning to adopt a child. Then he runs into his first love, Louise and he is head-over-heels all over again. Suddenly his cup runneth over. He truly loves them both and refuses to give up either one. So what’s a boy to do? Your classic triangular romantic farce, with more than a dash of Marivaux thrown in, this original miniseries offers a refreshingly relaxed, delicate and, at times, very funny take on homosexuality, bisexuality, shared parenting, love and family. Created by Olivier Joyard, Jérôme Larcher; directed by Clément Michel; with Francois Vincentelli, Julia Faure and Olivier Barthelemy.

ISKLANDER / Maroni Les Fantômes du Fleuve (TV Series) - North American Premiere:
Thriller Rookie cop Chloé is transferred to Cayenne in French Guiana where she’s partnered with Dialo, a local cop with a prickly personality. Despite their mutual dislike, they’ll have to work together to solve the brutal, ritual murder of a French couple from the mainland. When the murdered couple’s son is discovered missing, and all clues point to a group of descendants of African slaves who worship a forest spirit called Iskander, Chloé and Dialo will have to double their efforts—and the time they spend together. Iskander takes us on a relentless journey from tin-shack favelas and mysterious hallucinogenic drugs to voodoo rituals and a troubled past that will not stay buried. Created by Olivier Abbou, Aurélien Molas; directed by Olivier Abbou; with Stéphane Caillard, Adama Niane, Jérémie Laheurte, Issaka Sawadogo. Presented at COLCOA before its U.S. release by AMC Networks.

INFIDELITY / Un Adultère (TV Movie) – International Premiere:
The tale of duplicitous husband and father Julien, a real estate agent who falls in love with Alice, a young client who, it turns out, works in Julien’s wife Marie’s tea shop. Written by Eric Assous, Stéphanie Vasseur; directed by Philippe Harel; Isabelle Carré, Xavier Lemaître, Roxanne Arnal, David Stone.

PROUD / Fiertés (TV Series) - International Premiere:
This three-part miniseries is a family saga spanning three generations — Charles, Victor and Diego. Each episode coincides with a crucial gay rights moment in France. Episode one begins in 1981, with the election of François Mitterrand, at a time when the WHO still considered homosexuality a mental illness. That’s when Victor comes out. Episode two takes place in 1999, with the creation of the PACS domestic partnership agreement. Now, Victor is living with Serge and hoping to adopt a baby. Episode three unfolds in 2013, with the ratification of gay marriage, when Diego must come to terms with the fact that he has two fathers. While a chronicle of our changing times, the series is, first and foremost, a love story, captured with quiet restraint and the quivering exhilaration of first love. Created by José Caltagirone, Philippe Faucon, Niels Rahou; directed by Philippe Faucon; with Emmanuelle Bercot, Chiara Mastroianni, Jérémie Elkaïmm, Frédéric Pierrot, Samuel Theis, Stanislas Nordey, Nicolas Cazalé and Benjamine Voisin.

SPECIAL HONORS / Mention Particulière (TV Movie) - North American Premiere:
Laura, 20, is determined to earn her high school diploma just like anyone else except Laura has Down syndrome. As she faces her own difficulties, she must also deal with the doubts of her loved ones and the occasional cruelty of her peers. Overcoming challenge after challenge between emotion and laughter, Laura battles for every inch of an opportunity that life tries to keep from her.   A movie in which disability brings a fresh perspective on life’s challenges and the pursuit of happiness.  Based on a true story.  Written by Nathalie Hugon, Vincent Robert; directed by Christophe Campos; with Bruno Salomone, Hélène De Fougerolles, Jonathan, Lambert, Marie Dal Zotto, Maïra Schmitt, Gaspard Meier-Chaurand.

THROUGH THE MILL / La Mélancolie Ouvrière (TV Movie) - International Premiere:
Born into a family of peasants in 1870, Lucie entered the silk mill, as an apprentice, at 12. She married at 20 and was widowed soon thereafter. Working 12 hours a day and struggling to support two children on her meager salary, Lucie is devastated when bosses decide to increase working hours and slash wages. Fired up and supported by unionist Auda who educates her politically and woos her romantically, she launches her first major strike in 1905. An exceptional, intelligent, courageous woman, Lucie throws herself, body and soul, into the struggle against the slavery of women. Written and directed by Gérard Mordillat (based on the novel by Michelle Perrot); Virginie Ledoyen, Philippe Torreton, François Cluzet, François Morel.

 French composer Laurent Perez Del Mar will be honored with the “Focus on a Composer” and he will meet the COLCOA audience on Saturday April 28, for a one-hour discussion about his career. Del Mar is critically acclaimed for his work on the score for the Academy Award nominated feature film THE RED TURTLE / La Tortue Rouge, which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film.  The Sony Pictures Classics film was produced by the world-renowned Studio Ghibli.
Focus on a Composer and part of the COLCOA Television Competition are free to the public, as  Classic series and COLCOA Short Competition. More info at
COLCOA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL is presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique collaboration between the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, the Writers Guild of America West, and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM). COLCOA is also supported by France’s Society of Authors, Directors and Producers (L’ARP), the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) and the Film and TV Office of the French Embassy in Los Angeles, the CNC, TV France International, and Unifrance.