Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival

09/08/2010 05:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This week's Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles (DFFLA) might be confused with June's Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF). Film Independent produces the annual LAFF at LA Live, which screens films that will later be honored at the Independent Spirit Awards. DFFLA, meanwhile, doesn't have an awards show, but it does have the distinction of being Downtown LA's truly independent film festival.

Recently, I noted how much Film Independent's Spirit Awards resembled the Oscars, mostly because the maximum budget for a Spirit Award-contender is $20 million. And that, my friends, is not indie.

DFFLA, meanwhile, was founded in 2008 by the organizers of the Silver Lake Film Festival -- so they know all about being indie. I actually mean that in the truest sense of the annoying word. How do filmmakers with next-to-no budget compete with a film made under $20 million that just so happens to have a volunteer cast of A-listers? They don't. Instead, they have their own festival.

Instead of LA Live, the third annual Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles is headquartered at the lesser-known but more historic L.A. Center Studios. Built in 1960, the former offices of the Unocal oil company now has six stages, a theatre, and other services to make that breakthrough independent directorial debut. It also reflects DFFLA's mission: "to [showcase] the best in independent cinema in the heart of the world's entertainment and arts capital."

Here are just a few anticipated highlights of the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. Check the DFFLA website for more news and special announcements.

Opening Night Gala: American: The Bill Hicks Story w/ the short GayKeith
Tickets from $15
Wednesday September 8 (8PM)
Civic Center Theater
100 W 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Red Hot Chili Peppers : Untitled Documentary
Tickets from $15
Thursday September 9 (7:30PM)
800 W. Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Taco Cinema with the film 140
Tickets from $10
Saturday September 11 (1-10PM)
The Medallion
334 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

How Weed Won The West
Tickets from $15
Saturday September 11 (11PM)
Downtown Independent
251 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3707

So Long, Lonesome
Tickets from $15
Sunday September 12 (2:30PM)
Civic Center Theater
100 W 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012