By Mary Lynch
The 8th annual Highland Park Independent Film Festival opens Friday night, Oct. 1, with red carpet fanfare and a screening of the feature, “Playing with Fire,” a exploration of the life and art of Carlos Almaraz (1941-1989), a towering Chicano artist who lived and worked in Highland Park and other L.A. eastside neighborhoods.
Opening night admission to the festival is free and includes a ceremony to grant the festival’s Humanitarian Award to Juan Escobar, the filmmaker, photographer and teacher who founded the East L.A. Society of Film & Arts. Over the past eight years, the festival’s Humanitarian Award has become a coveted acknowledgement of Latino achievement in film, culture and community building.
The film festival, at the historic Highland Theater (5604 N. Figueroa St.) continues on Saturday, Oct. 2 with two feature films, two documentaries and 26 short films. The screenings take place in two auditoriums within the theater.
A full program, including trailers and links to advance ticket purchases ($10 general admission, $5 for students), are here.