Movies + Music + Mischief

…can only begin to describe the weekend at the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA. With the summer’s most innovative films making their first Hollywood appearance alongside musicians, performing artists and industry insiders – it should come as no surprise that the excitement grew with each passing event. Set in one of the most historic theaters in the city – more royal than Regal – there was an unspoken sentiment of the old meshing with the new.

This was most apparent between showings, where film goers and production teams joined one another to hangout NEXT Door for food, drinks, and sunshine splattered think tanks. Between the live music, candid panels and diverse crowd the conversation maintained a constant buzz.

Easily our favorite group to get down NEXT Door, and also one of our top panels, was the cast behind Gente-fied. Executive Producer, America Ferrera, and Josefina López, the legendary playwright known for Real Women Have Curves offered insight and optimism. Lopez shared her motives as a storyteller and educator, specifically why she opened up her community theatre: to educate as many writers as possible and ultimately change the narrative of Boyle Heights. López went on to say that she believed arts gives us the power to give back. “The people that are succeeding in the community are the people that act as the bridge.” The group was in agreement that individuals rely on communities to build an identity, which is why we must maintain some tradition to instill grounding values of creativity and resiliency.

On Sunday, Vanguard Award recipient, Dee Rees, synthesizes this rollercoaster of weekend sentiments best,

Each moment is defined by a multitude of histories. The past constantly converging upon us, perpetually decaying and reforming itself on the steady pulse of now, now, now, now. History constantly races towards itself along a multitude of angles to the singular moment, instantly splintering out again into the fractured experience of 7.5 personal realities. So tonight its hard to know where to begin. The personal is the collective. –Dee Rees

Rees, chosen for being an emerging filmmaker with an independent spirit, served as the perfect bookend to opening night (Thursday) when Quentin Tarantino accepted an award after the 25th anniversary screening of “Reservoir Dogs.” To say the least, the decades of innovation colliding at NEXT Fest ’17 brought new meaning to the influence film will have on generations to come.