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Cinematic: Box Office Disaster

The UCLA Film & Television Archive teams with the L.A. Film Festival to present a series of movies in which "Los Angeles Destroys Itself."


By Natalie Aldern '07

Published Jul 1, 2007 8:00 AM

Rock me, baby: Charlton Heston as Stewart Graff rises to L.A.'s rescue in Earthquake (1974), directed by Mark Robson. Copyright © Still image courtesy of Performing Arts Special Collections, UCLA

By Natalie Aidem

Killer radioactive ants, massive earthquakes, lawless regimes, comets and nuclear annihilation are all threatening Los Angeles — at least according to the movies. Over the years, the film industry has been quite creative in imagining the demise of the city it calls home. As Film Independent's 13th Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) kicks off its second year in Westwood on June 21, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will present "Los Angeles Destroys Itself," a five-film series of '50s horror flicks to '80s B-movies that takes a light look at the many fictional menaces facing our fair city. Included are such guilty pleasures as Them!, Earthquake and Night of the Comet.

Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in Escape From L.A. (1996), directed by John Carpenter

The collaboration between the Archive and LAFF includes premieres, revival screenings, live musical performances, award ceremonies and discussions with filmmakers. After considering more than 4,500 submissions, the festival will present more than 230 narrative and documentary features, shorts and music videos. The array showcases the best of independent American and international cinema with works from more than 40 countries.

The Archive will pay special tribute to émigré filmmakers with the "L.A. International" program. The event honors L.A.-based luminaries who have made meaningful contributions to the cinema of their native country or to film culture overall. This year the focus is on Syrian-born Moustapha Akkad '58, best known for his work on the Halloween horror franchise. Akkad died in 2005 in a Jordan terrorist bombing, but his cinematic legacy will be honored with a special screening of his 1976 directorial debut, The Message. Los Angeles Film Festival. June 21-July 1. Various locations on campus and in Westwood Village. For tickets and more information, call the Archive at (310) 206-3456 and the Film Festival at (866) 345-6337 or log on to and