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If you're in the L.A. area the second weekend of August, it will be worth your time to check out Next Weekend, a debut event sponsored by the Sundance Institute that celebrates independent film with a mix of premieres and films that played at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
The four-day event kicks off Thursday, Aug. 8, with an outdoor screening of Chris Smith's documentary "American Movie," which chronicles two amateur Wisconsin filmmakers as they live their dreams making their own horror movie. The movie itself, "Coven," will also be screened. The screening will be held at the Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and Smith will introduce the films.
The rest of the event happens at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood. The closing-night event, on Sunday, Aug. 11, is the "Next Sunday" initiative at venues across Los Angeles: the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre, Cinefamily, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum.
Here are the 10 feature films selected for Next Weekend:
• "12 O'Clock Boys," written and directed by Lotfy Nathan (U.S.) • A documentary follows a 13-year-old Baltimore boy who wants to join a notorious urban dirt-bike gang.
• "Blue Caprice," directed by Alexandre Moors, written by R.F.I. Porto and Alexandre Moors) Tequan Richmond plays an abandoned boy who falls under the wing of a dangerous father figure (Isaiah Washington), in this drama inspired by the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks.
• "Cutie and the Boxer," directed by Zachary Heinzerling (U.S.) • A funny, moving documentary that traces the relationship of "boxing painter" Ushio Shinohara and his patient wife Noriko, who's at last coming into her own as an artist.
• "The Foxy Merkins," directed by Madeleine Olnek, written by Olnek, Jackie Monahan and Lisa Haas (U.S.), World Premiere • Two lesbian hookers (Lisa Haas and Jackie Monahan) form an unlikely partnership in this buddy comedy.
• "How to Be a Man," directed by Chadd Harbold, written by Bryan Gaynor, Chadd Harbold and Gavin McInnes (U.S.), World Premiere • A former comedian (Gavin McInnes) learns he has cancer, and hires a young cameraman (Liam Aiken) to capture his crude and comical life lessons to his unborn son.
• "It Felt Like Love," written and directed by Eliza Hittman (U.S.) • A 14-year-old Brooklyn girl (Gina Piersanti) seeks sexual experience, and her quest takes a dangerous turn when she pursues an older guy.
• "Newlyweeds," written and directed by Shaka King (U.S.) • An unlikely romance between a Brooklyn repo man (Amari Cheatom) and his globe-trotting girlfriend (Trae Harris) is defined by their chemical dependency.
• "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors," directed by Sam Fleischner, written by Rose Lichter-Marck and Micah Bloomberg (U.S.) • An autistic Mexican boy runs away from his undocumented family outside New York City, beginning an 11-day journey on the city's subways as his splintered family unites to find him.
• "A Teacher," written and directed by Hannah Fidell • In a wealthy Texas suburb, a high-school teacher (Lindsay Burdge) has an affair with one of her students (Will Brittain).
• "This Is Martin Bonner," written and directed by Chad Hartigan • A divorced mentor (Paul Eenhoorn) and an ex-convict (Richmond Arquette) form a bond in this low-key story that won awards at Sundance this year.
For more details on the program, go to the Sundance website.