When the Architecture and Design Film Festival's co-director Kyle Bergman came out to Los Angeles to spend time with the city before the festival happens from March 12 - 16, he made a strange discovery. As he surveyed the city, he realized the city's growing traffic problem had a constructive side effect. "There's a really positive thing to all the traffic: everyone's fear of driving has created communities," he says on a phone call from his car. "[There are] these pockets of neighborhoods. Each one is very rich and vibrant."
Bergman and his co-director Laura Cardello's festival is now officially in three cities -- it's expanded to L.A. and Chicago this year -- after a well-received four-year run in New York (the inaugural festival took place in Waitsfield, Vermont). Held at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre, the ADFF has grown to be the biggest festival dedicated to architecture and design films in the United States. The L.A. edition will present 30 films, a pop-up shop hosted by Hollywood bookseller Hennessey + Ingalls, and a series of panel discussions that are open to the public.
The film program will have both an international focus -- a German film about Japanese minimalist architect Tadao Ando, a French film about British menswear designer Paul Smith, and a Swiss film about the Sagrada, a never-finished building in Barcelona -- and a faction of films dedicated to Los Angeles' relationship to architecture. Bergman recognizes the importance of striking a balance in the program. "When we go to Chicago, do we want to heavy it up with Chicago films?" he says about the questions that arise while crafting the program. "Or is it something that people already know about, so they're less interested in it?"
In the end, several notable films about L.A. made the program. "Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story" tells the tale of a photographer who captured the days leading up to the neighborhood's razing to make way for Dodger Stadium, "The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat" is about an unlikely home built in the desert by the famed architect for a blue-collar worker, and the triumphant film "Levitated Mass" follows the path of artist Michael Heizer's massive Land Art sculpture that rests on the northwest side of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus.
We were were showing "The Oyler House" in New York anyhow, so we're showing it here," says Bergman. "'Levitated Mass' didn't show in New York. I thought people would be more connected here. 'Chavez Ravine' is actually a 10-year-old film that's part of our preservation program. It's a beautiful and sad story about L.A. that I felt connected here."
Connection is key for Bergman and the festival. Designed both for the general public as much as the architecture and design community, ADFF is dedicated to both education as well as entertainment. "Most of the films have human stories as well as design stories, which is important, because the goal of the festival is really to increase the design dialogue," says Bergman. "Film is a way to tell the story that people can wrap their head around."
Top Image: Built on Narrow Land, The Hatch Cottage.
About the Author
Select the most compelling article and help us make TV.
California becomes an international export by redefining the concept of city and home.
Through workshops, education and placed based projects, art is the connective tissue of a community.
Funding bubbles, cultural deserts and the politics of access to the arts in the 21st century.
At the shadow of the entertainment industry, video artists and underground filmmakers take a stand.
Noir, sunshine and dystopia create a multi-ethnic narrative that is read, watched and admired around the globe.
Multi-hyphenate works that combine disciplines, remix dogmas, and reinvent the wheel.
A dialogue between cultures, the music of our state serves up the California dream like no other artform.
Staging the drama of California through dance, music and theater.
Breaking away from the European and New York vanguard, California reinvents the art world.