The LA Film Festival (LAFF) kicks off on June 1 with the usual fanfare associated with an acclaimed festival. There are the opening and closing night screenings, in this case, Lowriders directed by Ricardo de Montreull and Desierto directed by Jonas Cuaron. Also, there are Conversations and Talks, Special Screenings, Galas, and Festival Competition categories, like U.S. Fiction, Documentary, World Fiction, and Nightfall.

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But one of the selections, “LA Muse,” (also a competition category) is unique to LAFF.

LA Muse are the narrative and documentary films that capture the spirit of Los Angeles. It is one of the only festivals that has a sidebar of films devoted to the host festival’s city. So for those who adore L.A., these six films celebrate the spirit of this diverse town.

'Actors of Sound' (Directed by Lalo Molina)

Foley artists are indeed artists.

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These artisans recreate the sounds within a film that were not captured on the set or that need enhancing. These low-tech sound technicians create an authentic sound in enlightening ways that can’t be captured digitally. Director Lalo Molina celebrates this rare and skilled craftsman in the documentary, Actors of Sound.

'Girl Flu.' (Directed by Dorie Barton)

Filmed around Echo Park, writer/director Dorie Barton explores the coming of age tale surrounding sixth grader Bird (newcomer Jade Pettyjohn).

During the worst week of her life, Bird must navigate her new home in Echo Park with her flighty single mom, in addition to getting her period in an embarrassingly public way at school. Girl Flu also stars Katee Sackhoff, Jeremy Sisto, Heather Matarazzo and Judy Reyes.

'Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story' (Directed by Eric ‘Ptah’ Herbert)

Schea Cotton has been described as the “Lebron James before Lebron.” But Inglewood’s Cotton never made it to the NBA. Why?

Director Eric ‘Ptah’ Herbert explores this amazing player’s plight through NBA players, journalists, coaches and Cotton’s family in “Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story.”

'Namour' (Directed by Heidi Saman)

Steven is a valet at an upscale restaurant in Los Angeles. He’s also a member of a once tightly knit Arab-American family. With a dead-end job and a family stress, Steven starts acting out in erratic ways that depict what it is to be alienated in L.A. Directed by Heidi Saman, Namour stars Karim Saleh as Steven.

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'No Light and No Land Anywhere' (Directed by Amber Sealey)

LAFF alum Amber Sealey returns with her third feature, No Light and No Land Anywhere, when grieving Londoner, Lexi (Gemma Brocks) travels to Los Angeles in search of a father who left when she was three, Lexi finds a seedier and lonelier side of L.A. Sealey filmed around the Echo Park neighborhood.

'Sensitivity Training' (Directed by Melissa Finell)

A female buddy picture, Sensitivity Training is written and directed by Melissa Finelli, winner of the Alfred P.

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Sloan Production Grant and Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award. Filmed on the grounds of UCLA and around Los Angeles, this tale follows a rude and unapologetic microbiologist who is forced to seek a personality adjustment through a sensitivity coach. This comedic film stars Anna Lise Phillips and Jill Alexander.

The LA Film Festival produced by Film Independent runs from June 1-9 at the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City. For festival information, visit the LA Film Festival website.

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