LA Film Festival: Documentaries cover foreign sports, U.S. financial crisis

"Salaam Dunk" is one of the documentaries featured in the 2011 L.A. Film Festival. It's the story of a women's basketball team that was formed at an American university in Iraq
"Salaam Dunk" is one of the documentaries featured in the 2011 L.A. Film Festival. It's the story of a women's basketball team that was formed at an American university in Iraq Salaam Dunk

Documentaries on the schedule for the L.A. Film Festival that begins this weekend include two films about sports in foreign countries, and two others that focus on the U.S. financial crisis.

"Salaam Dunk" is the story of a women's basketball team that was formed at an American university in Iraq and Kurdistan. Another, "Skateistan,' tells the story of Australian aid workers who bring the sport of skateboarding to Afghanistan. The film shows how the sport unites kids of different ethnicities and religions.

“None of that matters when they’re trying to perfect their ollie kick in a dry fountain in the middle of Kabul,” said Doug Jones, the festival's associate director of programming.

Two of the other documentaries on the festival's schedule focus on the U.S. financial crisis.

"Unraveled" tells the story of Marc Dreier, a lawyer and philanthropist who is convicted in a Bernie Madoff-style financial fraud. The film catches Dreier at a moment when he is awaiting sentencing, and it allows him to reflect on how he got to that point.

“This is one of the first cases of actually hearing a first-hand account of what it was like to be right in the eye of the hurricane," said Jones.

Most of the film screenings are at the Regal Cinemas LA Live Stadium 14. The festival continues through June 26.

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