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Flying out to LA I knew one thing was certain, I would return a changed person – baptized by the fact that I could now, officially, call myself a feature filmmaker. The festival itself was 9 days, but I stayed in LA for just over two weeks, saw at least 14 movies, and talked myself dry. Moments that I didn’t capture were just as good as the ones below, nor do the ones included actually “say” all that much, but the experience, for me, was singular and these are the images that describe it.

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One of the signature events of the LA Film Festival is the filmmakers retreat beforehand where they wined and dined us before the tsunami. On the bus to palm springs I had time to chat with Remy Auberjonois, whose film Blood Stripe would take home the Grand Jury Prize, and Maria Govan whose film Play the Devil was also lush and beautiful. During the ride Damani Baker was still typing out credits for his film The House on Coco Road, which was 15 years in the making.
 

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Wining and Dining.
 

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Filmmaker Ryon Baxter whose film Green is Gold, one of my favorites, won the audience award in the fiction category. Ryon and I had breakfast together several times. This shot came after we scarfed down a quick dinner at Whole Foods and sprinted to catch the festival bus leaving the hotel.
 

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Eva Longoria was right behind me in the above shot. Me and my producer Vincent Harris on the red carpet during opening night of the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival, June 1, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
 

Raafi Rivero and Vincent Harris during opening night of the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 1, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

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Our premiere sold out!
 

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High School buddies Yoon Ahn and Robb Chavis, who’s now a TV writer.
 

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With filmmakers Karim López and Tanuj Chopra. Karim edited Tanuj’s film Chee and T. Also, Karim was my freshman year roommate in college and Tanuj was one of my senior year roomies.
 

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Lalithra Fernando, who worked on Chee and T, also worked on my film Their Eyes Were Watching Gummy Bears years ago. I introduced him to Tanuj. Sharing that history made having our films premiere at the same festival, on the same night, all the more special.
 

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With producer Inuka Bacote and Cinematographer Shawn Peters who blessed 72 Hours with his beautiful eye. It’s hard to tell but we all came to the brunch event that morning wearing the same color blue.
 

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Filmmaker Robert Pietri
 

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Kaela and I were all smiles.
 

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Vincent and I looking very serious.
 

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Hanging at the buffet with the crew from Chee and T – Tanuj Chopra, Arun Chopra, Chee Malabar, and me.
 

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Yoon gave me a food and architectural tour of LA.
 

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Obligatory trip to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.
 

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My AirBnb after the festival had the saddest old dog. And the best view.
 

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