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Design Film Fest Comes to L.A.

By Dante A. Ciampaglia
March 12, 2014


Watch a trailer for Coast Modern by directors Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome. The film screens in the first Los Angeles edition of the Architecture and Design Film Festival.

After five years in New York (and a couple in Chicago), the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) is expanding to the West Coast. The inaugural Los Angeles edition runs March 12–16 at the Los Angeles Theater Center in downtown L.A. (Architectural Record is a media sponsor of the festival.)

Architecture and Design Film Festival Los Angeles
Image courtesy Architecture and Design Film Festival
Still from director Kyung Lee's TELOS: The Fantastic World of Eugene Tssui screening in the Los Angeles edition of the Architecture and Design Film Festival.
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“For years, I’ve been wanting to bring it to L.A., but we have been waiting until we had enough momentum,” says ADFF founder and director Kyle Bergman. “It feels as if the time is right.”

Given L.A.’s status as the film industry’s capital, and the city’s history of architecture and design, it seems like a natural fit for the ADFF. But with film festivals a dime a dozen in the center of the entertainment universe, Bergman and ADFF organizers needed to set their program apart. “You have to give people a reason to brave the traffic,” Bergman says.

With that in mind, the festival has a long roster of panels and presentations by filmmakers as well as designers, and Bergman thinks these will make the L.A. ADFF stand out. A pop-up bookstore stocked by Hennessey + Ingalls, the renowned art and architecture bookseller in Hollywood and Santa Monica, will help too.

But, fundamentally, the organizers expect the films themselves to be the draw. The festival opens with If You Build It (2012), a documentary directed by Patrick Creadon that follows a design-build class at a rural North Carolina high school. Also on the slate are several U.S. and world premieres, as well as films selected for their relevance to Los Angeles. The 24-minute Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story (2004), for example, documents the last days of a Mexican community that was razed in the 1950s to build Dodger Stadium. The feature-length Coast Modern (2012), meanwhile, tracks the growth of Modernism along the Pacific coastline through the architects and designers who pioneered West Coast cool.

“It’s nice to be able to bring the festival to another venue,” Bergman says. “It’s like curating a museum show—it’s great to do it at one museum, but if it travels, all that effort can have a longer life.”

View a schedule of screenings below and descriptions of each film at the ADFF L.A. website.


Click to enlarge (PDF)

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