“The Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival is a natural progression of the work we do at the Edgemar Center, bringing together industry experts, cultural and media taste makers and the most talented artists from across Los Angeles. My team and I are thrilled to invite you to experience what the West Side has to offer filmmakers and cinephiles, which is quite different from what you’ll find in Hollywood.”

- Michelle Danner, Founder

Over the past 3 years, The Cinema at the Edge has grown from being held in two theaters at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica to approximately 5,700 attendees each year. The festival screens nearly 55 narrative and documentary feature films, and short films to a diverse local and international audience. From VIP galas to celebrity-studded premieres, the Cinema at the Edge highlights film from every corner of the globe.

The Edgemar Center for the Arts is well known on the West Side of Los Angeles as a venue where up and coming talent share quality work. Michelle Danner, Artistic Director of the Michelle Danner Los Angeles Acting School, is thrilled to now invite the global independent film community to experience this vibrant beachside collective at the 2nd Annual Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival. Cinema at the Edge selects films with a unique voice and a clear vision, that blend genres or break conventions of the medium, with an added focus on life in the beachfront communities of Santa Monica and Venice and the talented group of independent filmmakers who make LA’s West Side their home. The 2013 festival featured audience favorites from Sundance, SXSW and other major festivals, while maintaining a focus on world or regional premieres, challenging films that deserve a second look and showcasing local artists.


Previous iterations of the festival have welcomed Brett Ratner as an Honorary Chair, as well as a celebrity jury that included film veterans such as Susan Sarandon and John Singleton. The 1st Annual Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival took place over four days in the spring of 2013, and was the natural expansion of these prior events. Nine narrative features, nine documentaries and twenty-five short films screened for packed theaters at the Edgemar Center, and festival-goers also enjoyed access to opening and closing night parties, an awards ceremony, a filmmaker bar crawl and and a series of panels focused on the various stages of the filmmaking process. Our panels were made up of prolific LA-based producers, development executives, entertainment attorneys and distribution professionals, joined by filmmakers screening their work at this Los Angeles film festival.

Awards were given out both by the jury and the audience in the narrative, documentary and short film categories. In addition, the festival honored SUGAR, a real life depiction of life as a homeless teen on the streets of Venice Beach with our inaugural Community Vision Award, which will again be given to a deserving film in 2014. But beyond the accolades, we want our filmmakers to have the all-important instant feedback that the theatrical experience permits. Each screening at the festival is followed by a Q&A, even if it has to take place over Skype from countries away.
In 2014 the Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival will again present narrative feature, documentary and short film programs, with jury and audience awards given in each category. One of this year’s themes is ‘growth’, which is rapid here on the West Side, and will be carried through to the film festival with an additional full day of programming. Expect more films, parties and events, more sponsors and perks for festival attendees and even an outdoor beach screening. While we are thrilled to give independent filmmakers a vehicle of expression, Cinema at the Edge has an additional commitment to see the standout titles at the festival have an opportunity to screen for distributors. Therefore our program juries will again be comprised of the best and brightest professionals in the global independent film distribution community, giving films in all categories the opportunity to be considered for acquisition.

The Founders

MICHELLE DANNERmichelle_danner


Michelle Danner is the founder and artistic director of The Edgemar Center for the Arts and The Edgemar Theater Group. She is a renowned actor, director and award-winning acting coach. Michelle directed and produced the film “Hello Herman” starring Norman Reedus (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) through her production company All In Films. As an acting coach, Michelle has worked with A List talent privately and on set, including Gerard Butler, Chris Rock, Seth MacFarlane, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Penelope Cruz, Michael Pena, Isla Fisher, Common, Salma Hayek, James Franco, and Zooey Deschanel. She has directed and acted in over thirty award-winning plays and musicals in New York and Los Angeles. Her directorial debut in film was 2006’s “How to Go Out on a Date in Queens” with Jason Alexander, Esai Morales and Ron Perlman. It was released nationwide and aired as an ABC Sunday Night Movie of the Week.



Co-Festival Director

alexandra_guarnieriAlexandra is co-founder and managing director of Edgemar Center for the Arts, curator of its arts gallery, and the manager of the Michelle Danner Acting School. Born in Paris, Alexandra moved to the US at age 11. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, Alexandra spent several years
working in television, first at CNN then MSNBC.  Alexandra has been producing plays and films since 2005. She co-produced “How To Go On A Date In Queens” and  “Hello Herman” written by John Buffalo Mailer, which will open theatrically in ten cities in June and will simultaneously release on Cable/Internet VOD in 80 million homes. Alexandra has had a long collaboration with director Henry Jaglom, producing his critically acclaimed play “Always but Not Forever” through his runaway hit “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway” that ran successfully for over a year. Alexandra also produced “THANK Q – A World Music Tribute To the Humanitarian Works Of Quincy Jones” and the Award-winning musical “Black Cat Cabaret” which also ran for a year.



Sarae Allyn


Festival Director

Sarae Allyn relocated from the San Francisco Bay area nearly two years ago and has called Santa Monica her home ever since. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Business Administration. Sarae has been very active in the Edgemar community since last year, serving as Casting Director for the world premiere of the play “One White Crow,” as well as assisting with the distribution of All In Film’s “Hello Herman.”  Most recently she was the Associate Producer for Michelle Danner’s “The Bandit Hound.”  Her previous film festival involvement includes both Sundance and the San Francisco International Film Festival.  Last year she was part of the inaugural Cinema At The Edge Film Festival.  Sarae is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Cinema At The Edge Film Festival, serving as Festival Director.

 Directors who have been in past panel discussions


David Mametdavid_mamet

  • Redbelt, director, writer (2008)
  • The Edge, screenwriter (1997)
  • Wag the Dog, co-screenwriter (1997)
  • American Buffalo, screenwriter (1996)
  • Gelengarry Glen Ross, screenwriter (1992)
  • Hoffa, screenwriter (1992)
  • The Untouchables, screenwriter (1987)
  • The Verdict, screenwriter (1982)

David Alan Mamet, born November 30, 1947, is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director.

As a playwright, Mamet has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Speed-the-Plow (1988). As a screenwriter, he has received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (1982) and Wag the Dog (1997). wikipedia



 John Singletonjohn_singleton

  • Abduction, director (2011)
  • Black Snake Moan, producer (2007)
  • Four Brothers, director (2005)
  • Hustle & Flow, producer (2005)
  • 8 Mile, actor (2002)
  • Higher Learning, director, screenwriter, producer (1995)
  • Poetic Justice, director, screenwriter, producer (1993)
  • Boyz n the Hood, director, screenwriter (1991)

John Daniel Singleton, born January 6, 1968, is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for directing Boyz n the Hood in 1991. A native of South Los Angeles, many of his early films consider the implications of inner-city violence. Some of his other films include Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Shaft, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers and Abduction. wikipedia



David Anspaughdavid_anspaugh

  • Little Red Wagon, director (2012)
  • The Bedford Diaries: Season 1 Episode 4, director (2006)
  • Swing Vote (TV Movie), director (1999)
  • Moonlight and Valentino, director (1995)
  • Rudy, director (1993)
  • Hoosiers, director (1986)
  • Miami Vice: Season 1, Episodes 14 & 16, director (1985)
  • Hill Street Blues: 10 Episodes, director, producer (1981-1983)

David Anspaugh (born September 24, 1946) is an American television and film director.

Anspaugh studied at Indiana University and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, after which he taught high school in Colorado. His work as an associate producer on television movies led to his producing and directing Hill Street Blues, for which he won two Emmy Awards. He followed this with St. Elsewhere and Miami Vice before making his feature film debut with Hoosiers. wikipedia

George Hickenloopergeorge_hickenlooper

  • Casino Jack, director (2010)
  • ‘Hick’ Town, director, producer (2009)
  • Factory Girl, director, cinematographer (2006)
  • Mayor of the Sunset Strip, director (2003)
  • The Man from Elysian Fields, director (2001)
  • Monte Hellman: American Auteur, director, writer (1997)
  • Persons Unknown, director (1996)
  • Dogtown, director (1996)

George Loening Hickenlooper III, May 25, 1963 – October 29, 2010, was an American narrative and documentary filmmaker.

His first feature-length documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, explored the making of Apocalypse Now. It won several awards, including the National Board of Review award for “Best Documentary”, an American Cinema Editors award for “Best Edited Documentary”, two Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awards for “Outstanding Individual Achievement – Informational Programming – Directing” and “Outstanding Individual Achievement – Informational Programming – Picture Editing”, and the International Documentary Association award. Hickenlooper himself won an Emmy for direction. wikipedia