Attention all film buffs—Looking for the ultimate summer getaway? Lucky for you, the city of Los Angeles is gearing up for its second annual Sundance NEXT FEST, a weekend entirely dedicated to film and music, from August 7-9 at the historic Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. The Festival, which is an extension of the NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival, is set to showcase some of the most talented up-and-coming independent filmmakers and musical acts. And with tickets going for $15-25 dollars, you don’t want to miss out on this exclusive-yet-affordable film and music lineup.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your NEXT FEST weekend in Los Angeles:
EAT: Restaurants to Try
- Bestia: Mama Mia! If you’re in the mood for Italian, nothing beats Bestia. Located in the art district of downtown Los Angeles, this multi-regional Italian restaurant serves up arguably the best Napolitana pizza and pastas in town. Take a look at their expansive menu here.
- Blue Cow Kitchen: Blue Cow Kitchen is favorite local spot with an upscale feel. This New-American restaurant serves up some creatively delicious sandwiches, seasonal cocktails, craft beers and small plates. The Blue Cow Burger and their Soy Glazed Pork Belly Tacos are mouth wateringly amazing. Check out their menu here.
- Perch: With its romantic ambiance and delicious French cuisine, Perch is the perfect hang out spot to grab a great meal before you catch your movie premiere. This French inspired rooftop bistro offers mesmerizing views of downtown Los Angeles and a romantic ambiance. The food’s “incroyable” too! Chef Gerardo Benitez presents stand-alone menu items like his Filet Mignon Au Poivre and his Boeuf Bordelaise that will send your taste buds into a spin. Check out additional menu items here.
PLAY: Can’t Miss Film Lineup
Six films are set to premiere at Sundance NEXT FEST with special musical performances throughout the weekend. Here’s a look at the lineup.
- Cop Car: Kicking off NEXT FEST is an outdoor screening of Cop Car, which recently premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film will be presented at Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Plot: What happens when a small town Sherriff sets out to find the boys who have taken his car on a seemingly innocent joyride? Find out on Sunday, August 2 at 8:30 pm. Purchase your tickets here.
- Mistress America with Music by Sky Ferreira: Friday, August 7 at 8 pm.
Plot: Audiences will surely let out more than a few laughs in following the lives of two polar opposite stepsisters as they learn to bring their very different worlds together in the city that never sleeps. Watch the full trailer here.
- Finders Keepers | Musical Guest TBD: Saturday, August 8 at 3:30 pm.
Plot: This rare documentary/satirical comedy follows the everyday life of John Wood who finds himself in a rather strange predicament as he sets out to reclaim his amputated leg that was found by a disgruntled Southern entrepreneur in a grill be bought at an auction. Purchase your tickets here.
- Entertainment with a Musical Performance by Sharon Van Etten: Saturday, August 8 at 8 pm
Plot: At what lengths would you go to reclaim fame and success? Filmmaker Rick Alverson and co-writer/lead actor Gregg Turkington set out to answer this question in a film featuring an aging comedian grasping to reclaim his once successful career in the entertainment industry. Buy your tickets here!
- Cronies | Musical Guest TBD: Sunday, August 9 at 3:30 pm
Plot: With equal parts comedy and drama, this independent film follows the life of NYU grad student, Michael Larnell, who is determined to write, edit and produce a story about his hometown while relying only on local talent. Get a full synopsis here.
- Turbo Kid with a Musical Performance by Neon Indian & Toro Y Moi: Sunday, August 9 at 8 pm
Plot: Any post-apocalyptic movie fans out there? This action-packed thriller follows an orphaned teenager who ventures out to save his female-robot friend from lurking evil. Get your tickets here.
STAY: Enjoy LA Hotspots
- Ace Hotel: Reserve your room at Ace Hotel, the official home base of Sundance NEXT FEST. For discounted hotel rates, enter the promo code: GONext15
- Full price, but definitely worthwhile hotel options, include the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles in the heart of downtown LA and the Omni Los Angeles at California Plaza. Want to do some celebrity-spotting? Then check-in to the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood.
Are you making the Los Angeles trek for NEXT FEST? Let us know your favorite premiere at this weekend festival!