Maudit 2.0 film festival introduces unique, off-the-beaten-path cinema to the West side

With an emphasis on showcasing lesser-known and unique films, Santa Monica’s 4th annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival kicked off this week at the Highways Performance Space on 18th Street, just off Colorado Avenue.

This year’s festival, which opened on Thursday Jan. 12 and will run through Feb. 11, features over 100 cinematic works from more than 25 countries, some of which have rarely been shown at festivals. The focus of the works varies widely, but they all have a shared identity of falling outside of what is considered to be mainstream – which Film Maudit Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly says is precisely the point and the reason for the festival’s existence.

“It’s a reimagining, revamp, reinvention of a festival that was first created kind of as a pop up in 1949 by John Cocteau, the famous French artist, on the Basque coast,” he said. “It was films at the time that were overlooked, neglected films that were outside of the mainstream that was popular at the time, and many works that would eventually become quite classics. So today we have created this as a continuation of it, you know, 2.0, with films that exist outside the normal sort of rigid confines of festival programming.”

Each day of the festival includes a screening of at least one film as well as a roster of live music events and other programming.

“Performance is involved with it and music and we do activities as well,” Kennelly said.

The first film Maudit 2.0 was held in fall of 2019, just before the outbreak of COVID-19. This forced the festival to become virtual 2020 and 2021 and hybrid in 2022. While much of this year consists of in-person, live events at Highways, Kennelly said the majority will also still be streamed virtually.

He said that he feels hosting this event in Santa Monica adds a cultural resource to the area that hasn’t previously existed.

“There’s not a lot of this kind of thing on the west side. The location that we have, we’re very connected with the Santa Monica Community,” he said. “The reception has been great, it [Maudit 2.0] sort of fills a certain gap in festivals in Los Angeles just in terms of the kind of programming that we do. It’s not a horror film festival, it’s not an experimental festival, it’s not a normal festival, it’s films that are really out there from around the world and weaving it together.”

Tickets to the festival are available for free or on a pay-what-you-can basis, with the goal of making it accessible for anyone interested. The only requirement for attending, Kennelly said, is an open mind.

“If you’re curious to see programming or film making that exists outside of the mainstream or more independent, artisanal works, it’s a good experience and there’s a broad array of that,” he said.

For more information about Maudit 2.0 and to view a full schedule for the festival visit:

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