Established in 2008, the festival has screened more 1,000 films, held more 200 events and partnered with more than 75 other profit and nonprofit business in DTLA. Our programming reflects downtown L.A.’s vibrant new urbanism, the unique ethnic and cultural diversity of its neighborhoods, its burgeoning independent film community, its singular blend of late 19th and 20th century architecture, and the seminal role it played in the early days of American cinema (epitomized by the world’s largest group of vintage movie palaces located in the Broadway Theater District). Set against this dramatic backdrop, DFFLA serves as a beacon for movie fans and industry professionals throughout Southern California and beyond.
The key art, logo and branding for this year’s festival evolved from the limitations of an unused design and a night of somewhat restless sleep. The tag line “Frame Yourself.” appeared at the end of a dream after a night of brainstorming how to convey the festival’s irreverent and inclusive intent and programming visually.
Directors, cinematographers, artists and designers, frame shots and vistas, determine formats and proportions by creating right angles, squares or rectangles with their index fingers and thumbs or whole hands. In popular culture the extended index finger and thumb, raised to one’s forehead signifies to another that they are a “loser”. This is how it was seen in the dream at first. Ignored, underrepresented people – virtually unseen on screen – extending the “L” above their heads with both hands framing themselves. The locations were real, not a Hollywood backlot.
The design itself conveys the intersection of Downtown L.A. with all aspects of cinema. A variation of a custom typeface, the letters of “DTLA” are architectonic by design and encased in round edged squares resembling city blocks as well as perforations in motion picture film. The spacing between them refers to grid like streets and sidewalks of Downtown. The typefaces used for the rest of the branding are a nod to film posters, technocentric design and art. Sunsets reflected on the L.A. skyline inspired the colour scheme and the vibrant, diverse programming the audience will enjoy in the darkness.
Hopefully, the audience will enjoy the films that inspired the designs created for them and come away with a greater appreciation for both.
Stay true to the frame.
J Bird Lathon
Programmer, Architecture & Design Series