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LAFF Centered on 'Nine Lives'

Rodrigo Garcia's "Nine Lives" will screen as the Centerpiece Premiere of the 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival, which is taking place June 16-26. The film, which depicts nine characters at emotional crossroads, stars Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is the executive producer, and Julie Lynn is the producer.

David Jacobson's "Down in the Valley," which was announced previously, will serve as opening-night film. Don Roos' "Happy Endings," starring Tom Arnold, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Laura Dern, Lisa Kudrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal, has been chosen to screen at the closing-night gala.

Headed by festival director Rich Raddon, director of programming Rachel Rosen and Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson, the festival also announced Monday that Don Cheadle, Kudrow and Elijah Wood will serve as honorary festival chairs. Wood will host opening night, Kudrow closing night, and Cheadle will present the Target Filmmaker Award for best narrative feature at the Spirit of Independence Evening on June 25.

Sydney Pollack, who is serving as guest director of the fest, will host a two-day filmmaker retreat and program a sidebar of films that inspired his work.

The RZA, the musician, film composer, actor and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, will be the festival's artist in residence. He has selected three films that will screen at the festival and also will headline "ToonTime With the RZA" at the Ford Amphitheatre on June 22.

On June 25, the festival will celebrate Family Day at the Santa Monica Pier, a free event open to the public beginning at 11 a.m.

A 10-day showcase of independent films, the festival will screen more than 70 features and 50 short films from around the world.

The festival center, which includes the festival's boxoffice, will be located at 8000 Sunset Blvd. Screenings will take place at such venues as Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatres, the DGA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Mann's National Theatre and the ArcLight Hollywood Cinerama Dome.

Tickets go on sale June 1. Passes, which are on sale now, allow passholders to reserve and purchase tickets beginning today.

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