Local festival to premiere film shot almost entirely with San Diego resources
Logan Broyles | Downtown News
Sifting through more than a thousand submissions was a daunting task, but the organizers of this year’s San Diego Film Festival are proud of the results. An influx of capitol and new leadership has increased the size and scope of this year’s festival.
The festival began on Wednesday, but film fans still eager to get their fill have two nights of movie premieres and movie panels with industry insiders left to go to. In total there will have been more than 200 movie screenings before this weekend is out, including 11 world premieres, 16 West Coast premieres and 4 U.S. premieres.
With a brand new board of directors, this year promises to be special, including expanded categories such as the brand-new Native American and Music sections.
This will also be the first time in the festival’s decade-plus existence that events will be held outside of the Gaslamp Quarter, as the festival expands to the jewel of the sea that is La Jolla.
“One of the things we want to do moving forward over the next few years is create opportunities to help filmmakers find financing and also to allocate dollars from our ticket sales to help them do what they need to do,” said Tanya Mantooth, an executive producer and filmmaker who is in her first year as director of programming for the film festival.
Opening night kicked off on Wednesday, with a red carpet party and the premiere of Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires at the Reading Theater in the Gaslamp, a story about music and friendship that has already garnered some Oscar buzz. Next came The Oranges at The Reading Theater in La Jolla, a film directed by Julian Farino that featured an all-star cast including Hugh Laurie (the star of hit TV show House), Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, and Allison Janey.
On Friday night, locals will be treated to an Almost Famous Block Party & Screening, a tribute to Cameron Crowe’s classic film about an aspiring young journalist from San Diego who writes for Rolling Stone magazine. The streets of the Gaslamp Quarter will be transported back in time to a 70’s themed street party, complete with live music and a screening of the film.
Closing night at The Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla on Saturday will feature the debut of Quartet, for which famous actor Dustin Hoffman crossed over to the other side of the camera for his directorial debut.
Saturday night will also feature a few other choice events, including a Filmmaker’s Brew-Ha-Ha and Award Ceremony, giving fans a chance to throw back some great local beers and mingle with the local film industry.
“We have several studio heads coming down to conduct some panels about the industry and about the filmmaking process, so I think that will be very interesting for film fans to hear how the inside works,” said Neil Strack, who is in his first year as CEO and chairman of the film festival’s board.
Later that evening will see the premiere of the star-studded film Grassroots, which was directed by Stephen Gyllenhall and stars Jason Biggs, Lauren Ambrose, comedians Tom Arnold and Cedric the Entertainer, and Colbie Smulders who just had a turn in the box office shattering The Avengers.
Horror fans will delight at the Horror Fest at the Gaslamp, an exciting new addition to this year’s festival that will spotlight Martin McDonagh’s highly anticipated film Seven Psychopaths that stars Hollywood heavyweights Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell. Farrell stars as a struggling screenwriter who gets pulled into the Los Angeles criminal underworld when his idiot friends (Walken and Rockwell) decide to kidnap a gangster’s (Harrelson) girlfriend.
“There’s a standout Indie comedy that during the process of getting it squared away for the film festival, it got picked up by a studio for distribution,” Mantooth said. “It’s called 3,2,1 … Frankie Go Boom and [it stars] Ron Pearlman from Sons of Anarchy and Chris O’Dowd who was in Bridesmaids.”
3,2,1 … Frankie Go Boom will be the only film with a double billing, with it’s West Coast premiere held at the Gaslamp Reading Theater Friday night and at the Coast Room in La Jolla on Saturday.
“We also have a great up and coming film called Redline (world premiere on Saturday at the Gaslamp Reading Theater) from a local filmmaker named Robert Kirbyson who grew up in San Diego and filmed it here using a crew of local film students, so we’re really excited for that to have it’s world premiere at the San Diego Film Festival.”
For more info and a full schedule of all films and panels go to: sandiegofilmfest.com
Contributing writer Logan Broyles is the former managing editor of Pacific San Diego Magazine and Editor-in-Chief of Construction Digital magazine. He likes to write about music and news and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: Logan Broyles also did a Q&A with Red Line director, Robert Kirbyson. Follow this link to read more about the movie that was filmed in San Diego and made almost exclusively with San Diego resources.