One of the many things that makes film festivals great is the wide variety of topics filling out the lineup. Whether its an inside look at the Westboro Baptist Church that will probably make your blood boil, or a horror movie given an R rating for ‘violence and terror,’ no matter what you’re interested in, there’s sure to be a movie for you.
Film festivals are also a place where lots of directors who have made thought-provoking movies hope to have their premieres. This year’s LA Film Fest played host to two movies from high profile names that tackle particularly sensitive subjects; immigration and religion.
‘A Better Life,’ directed by Chris Weitz (‘About a Boy,’ ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’), is a story that producer Paul Junger Witt, best known for being executive producer of ‘The Golden Girls,’ has been trying to get made since 1989. Set in East Los Angeles, the movie follows a father, an illegal immigrant, and his son, born in the U.S., struggling to get by. ”We’re an immigrant nation and this is a classic immigrant story, going beyond and transcending documentation,” Witt told us. ”First and second generations have always had that difficulty in translating each other’s experiences to one another.”
For Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (‘The Departed,’ ‘Up In The Air’), the subject of faith is a familiar one. ”I grew up in a house where it was of utmost importance, spirituality, and the need to determine, ‘what does God mean to you?’” That same question is at the center of Farmiga’s directorial debut, ‘Higher Ground.’ After spending her adulthood living within the traditions and teachings of a small religious community, Farmiga’s character, Corinne, begins to question her faith not only in God, but in herself and her relationships.