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June 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Although it has been operating annually for nearly two decades and now attracts some 90,000 visitors, the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) is still seeking respectability among hollywood heavyweights, the Los Angeles Times observed today. The festival, which opens tonight (Wednesday) with the North American premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer, will spotlight nearly 200 features, shorts and music videos, but David Ansen, the festival’s artistic director (and Newsweek magazine’s film critic for more than 30 years), has acknowledged that was unable to book several films that he had wanted to screen because producers preferred to open them at more prestigious festivals in the fall, around awards season. And while studio executives think nothing about braving the winter cold in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, or flying thousands of miles to France for the Cannes Festival, “It’s hard to convince industry eyes to take us seriously and make the drive from Beverly Hills,” Festival Director Stephanie Allain told the Times. But Ansen said that the festival is drawing a diverse audience, 70 percent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 35. “Slowly, we’re starting to gain respect from the Hollywood establishment, too,” he said. “They’re recognizing the value of the festival as a launching pad.”