Women Directors Shine at 2016 DTLA Film Festival,  Presented by Toyota Mirai, Los Angeles, Sept. 21-28, L.A. LIVE

Women Directors Shine at 2016 DTLA Film Festival, Presented by Toyota Mirai, Los Angeles, Sept. 21-28, L.A. LIVE

14 films directed by women in 2016 line-up, including award-winning homeless youth drama ‘Between the Miles,’ complex character piece ‘Erasing Eden’ by three-time Emmy nominee Beth Dewey, and Margaret Byrne’s intimate look at rural poverty ‘Raising Bertie’

LOS ANGELES – September 19, 2016 – The 8th annual DTLA Film Festival, presented by Toyota Mirai, will once again showcase some of the best in cutting-edge indie filmmaking by women. From narrative features to documentaries and shorts, from L.A. to Berlin to Cuba, the 14 women-directed films in the 2016 line-up tell original, compelling stories and highlight the complex realities of the modern female experience.

Last year DTLA Film Festival became the first non-genre-specific film festival to establish a goal that that half of its films would be by women directors. (The final count was 64% of the films screening at the 2015 festival were by women filmmakers.)

The 2016 DTLA Film Festival, which begins for 8 days on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at L.A. LIVE, continues the commitment to showcasing the work of women filmmakers. One of the highly anticipated feature films of the festival week will be Michelle Opitz’s award-winning, autobiographically inspired Between the Miles, screening September 27 at 10:00 pm. In the AFI graduate’s complex feature film debut about teen homelessness set in Los Angeles, Florence (Leigh Schindler), a hapless musician, takes three homeless teens off the streets and into her care only to realize she has to overcome her own reckless tendencies in order to care for them.

“I had the idea for the film when I was teaching music video production to homeless and at-risk teens all over L.A. and some of the kids were displaced after their center had shut down,” explained Opitz, who also hopes the film will help to change common misconceptions about homeless people: “We sometimes judge people right up-front and have these predetermined judgments on the homeless population or the street teens that we see but they all have a story and they need a chance.”

Beth Dewey’s character drama Erasing Eden promises to be another gem among the feature film submissions this year. In her second feature, Dewey, a three-time Emmy nominee for her editing work on the Oscars, follows Eden, a self-described “master of self-sabotage,” who puts her wedding on the line to reclaim her identity and prove that she alone can make or break herself. Independently financed and shot over the course of three years, Dewey described the film as having “a total self-empowerment, feminist bent. It is about someone having control over their own life, albeit in a slightly self-destructive manner. But it is definitely a very self-determining story.” Starring Breeda Wool (from Lifetime’s TV series UnREAL) and Ben Rovner (Area 51), Erasing Eden screens Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 pm.

The music documentary How Berlin Got The Blues by Victoria Luther takes the viewer back to Cold War Germany. It traces how musician Ebylee Davis spread the blues to East and West Berliners during his stint in the U.S. Army. It screens Saturday, Sept. 24, at 8:00 pm.

Two other documentary features by women filmmakers at this year’s festival are Margaret Byrne’s Raising Bertie and Nicole Di Rocco’s Pastport Cuba. While Raising Bertie, which will screen in the festival’s special series on Income Inequality, is an intimate portrait of three boys growing into adulthood in a rural African-American community, Pastport Cuba unveils the mystery behind a country often misunderstood, as it follows director Di Rocco and her parents returning to the country they left almost 50 years ago. Pastport Cuba screens in the festival’s special series on Cuba, while another feature film, Millie and the Lords (Jennica Carmona), about a young Puerto Rican woman from Spanish Harlem secretly longing for a different life, is part of the festival’s American-Latino Series.

In the shorts section, women directed more than half a dozen films: Dreamworld (Johanna Siracusa), The Graveyard Shift (Lara Arikan), Have You Seen My Boyfriend? (Beth Rowe, Lexi Langill), Lay It On Me (Michelle Larkin), NOTFUCKINAROUNDCREW (Lyle Friedman), Spectrum (Katelyn Schulfer), Zulu Maniacs (Rachael Pelzer) as well as Domino (Maylen Calienes) in the Cuban Film Series. While the latter explores how the game of Domino is played by some of the characters inside the famous Domino Park en la Calle Ocho in Miami, an unlikely character is at the center of Larkin’s Lay It On Me: a mattress. It tells the stories of the lives of the couples and people connected through it over the course of five decades. For her clever directorial debut, Larkin has won several awards, including Best Director of a Short Film at The International Film Festival Nice.

DTLA Film Festival programming director Carolyn Schroeder is pleased with the strong submissions by women filmmakers the festival received this year. “The film industry continues to grossly underrepresent womenin the executive office and behind the camera. Our showcase of the work of some incredibly talented women directors, whether in the feature film, special series or shorts sections, is one more crack in Hollywood’s glass ceiling,” she said.

The 2016 DTLA Film Festival is presented by Toyota Mira. The festival is sponsored by Regal L.A. Live: A Barco Innovation Center, UCLA Extension, City Club Los Angeles, Mrs. Fish, Council District 14 – Jose Huizar | City of Los Angeles, 8th & Grand Luxury Apartments, The Park DTLA, Level Furnished Living, ChillHound, Los Angeles Times, BitTorrent Now, Metro, Wynning Touch Event Planning, Cloud 19, Fostered Productions, District Restaurant on the Bloc, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, Little Easy, Down and Out, and Creative Handbook.


Press Contact:
Alisse Kingsley
for DTLA Film Festival

Press Credentials:
To apply for press credentials for the 2016 DTLA Film Fest, contact info@dffla.com.

About DTLA Film Fest
The only major film festival in the Capital of Cool – downtown Los Angeles – DTLA Film Festival was established in 2008 as a showcase for independent cinema in the historic core of the Film Capital of the World. The festival embraces its mission to reflect in its programming the unique cultural, ethnic and gender diversity of downtown Los Angeles and its neighboring communities. DTLA Film Fest is produced annually by a nonprofit arts organization that is led by a volunteer group of filmmakers and community activists.

Erasing Eden Movie

Erasing Eden Movie

Official Selection of the Downtown LA Film Fest


Monday, September 26th @ 7:30 pm – Erasing Eden – Los Angeles Premier






Stars Breeda Wool and Ben Rovner
Directed by Beth Dewey
Written by Beth Dewey and Justo Diaz
Director of Photography Yasu Tanida. Produced by Tina Pavlides

A young woman plunges her life into chaos by drinking herself into a blackout the night before her wedding, facing the ultimate soul-searching. She decides her own fate, recognizing that she has the power to make or break herself.




toronto-film-scene“ERASING EDEN is a unique and emotional character piece you shouldn’t miss…”

“Dewey creates the perfect headspace for the viewer to be in.”

– ANDREW PARKER, Toronto Film Scene

Read more…





STUDIO Selectees, Casting Directors Call for Diversity, and Erasing Eden

Read more…


Beth Dewey’s ‘Erasing Eden’ to Premiere at Female Eye Film Festival, 

Read more…


Cannes 2015 sex party

Cannes 2015 sex party

I am developing a project, the comedy “Unicorn Sex Party” about a sex-starved divorcee and her foray into swinger’s parties and sex clubs. While in Cannes for the film festival, I thought it would be the perfect time to check out the vibe at the sex clubs – Oh la la!   My theory was that the climate might be a bit more misogynistic than the clubs in the states, but then again the French pretty much invented sexy so I was anxious to check it out!

Famous for les club échangiste, I imagined Cannes swingers clubs over-run with starlets and celebrities during the festival. What famous couple would need me to jump-start their lackluster love life? What globe trotting billionaire would step off his or her yacht for a night of pleasure avec moi?

At 10 pm I was the first person to arrive!  Awkward.  Apparently business is slow during the festival because traffic is bad. The bartender was good looking, but very busy putting out pretzels and chocolates. I went straight for the jacuzzi, enclosed in a fabulously kitschy jungle grotto, avec exotic plastic plants and artificial rocks. Heavy black light completed the vibe, and as I stepped in to soak my aching feet, my Malibu Barbie pedicure glowed luminously pink in the luke warm water. Ahhhh.

The doorbell rang and a second and third man entered the building. I was outnumbered and fear crept over me like a wet blanket. A warning from a French friend back home: Be careful of the men in the clubs. My body tensed as I perched on a fake rock, ready to spring into action.


Kenny Powers

But they barely looked at me as they dashed around re-jiggering the stereo system. A man looking like Kenny Powers visited me briefly, inquiring in a heavy accent “Are you okay?” I nodded yes and he scurried off.

In the states, my experience in the swinger’s scene with men is that they generally pander to the pleasing of women. Men are reviewed online with comments like “good oral skills” or “excellent use of the hands” (lol).  So when a single male approached me, I expected the same until he made oafish advances, in spite of me asking him to slow down.  Ugh. I lost patience, put my clothes on and hit the cobblestone road!

Exactly one year has passed since my separation from my husband and the universe has provided me with plenty of sexual healing. So much in fact that I feel over saturated. However upon my return to the USA, I did have the pleasure of having a man give me a tantric yoni massage, which is all about pleasing a woman. (ladies, google it – amazing.)   Although it is unfair to generalize, my experience proves a difference in male sexual behavior in the swinger’s scene in France. Vive la difference.


Cannes 2015 and A Call To Action

Cannes 2015 and A Call To Action

I have been dying to go to the Cannes Film Festival for over ten years. This year in 2015, I finally went, appropriately in what is being called The Year of the Woman.  While it is encouraging to have the ACLU fighting gender disparities in TV and film directing, there is a long way to go to affect real change.

What better way to get the party started than to ban a group of from a Cannes gala screening for not wearing high heels!  The outcry rippled through the festival, but I wish it were more for the main Cannes competition only including two female directors. I happened to get a gala ticket for one of the two – “Mon Roi” directed by Maiwenn and gleefully suffered the red carpet in six inch heels.

Marche du Film Cannes 2015

Marche du Film Cannes 2015

As a Cannes newbie I was shopping “Erasing Eden”, the nearly complete feature drama that I directed. The hallways of the Marche du Film, however, were devoid of female protagonists and female filmmakers, judging from the posters and key art.  My creative partner Justo Diaz and his wife have three little girls and we want them to grow up with entertainment that eclipses the gender bias. We have been crafting “Pimp Girl” a vengeance-laced action story featuring a kick ass female protagonist to that end. I tried to imagine our project squeezed into this year’s crop of male centric Van Damme movies and Game of Thrones rip offs.  Think big.

Inside the Marche du Film

Inside – The Palais

Real change is going to take a lot of hard work, solidarity and sacrifice; it must be felt economically by the industry.  Echoing influential writer Melissa Silverstein from a recent female activist gathering, money talks and action is necessary. Melissa raised two ways to affect change that I will personally challenge myself to implement:

Boycott male driven and directed films…and HIRE WOMEN.

For the ACLU petition Click here:

(stay tuned for my next blog post “Cannes Sex Party”)