A weekend of film screenings, seminars, parties and networking events for cinefiles, fans and film industry professionals is coming to Santa Monica via the producer of the yearly Malibu Film Festival.
The inaugural year of the revitalized Santa Monica International Film Festival will feature screenings of about 35 independent films entered from around the world.
Up until 2004, the Santa Monica Film Festival was produced by a Dallas, Texas-based non-profit organization. The company’s festival consisted of out-door film screenings in Santa Monica. Recently, current organizers contacted the company to let them know that they would like to revive the film festival with the name and the spirit of the previously produced festival, but with a different style and format.
Festival events are scheduled Friday through Monday, August 3rd through 6th, at four Santa Monica locations.
The festival will include a number of seminars, panel discussions, parties and special screenings to help promote “Responsible Cinema,” a theory proposed by several film industry professionals to help integrate environmentally conscious and energy-efficient alternatives to film productions.
An opening night party is set for 9 p.m. Friday, August 3rd, at Writers Boot Camp at Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets are $20.
On Saturday, August 4th, film screenings will be held at noon, 1:30, 3, 5, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets are $10 per screening.
A filmmaker brunch will be held at noon Sunday, August 5th, followed by a Writers Boot Camp seminar at 1 p.m. at the Santa Monica Public Library Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica.
The seminar will feature Writers Boot Camp founder Jeffrey Gordon discussing commonly held fallacies about writing for film and television. Admission to the seminar is free.
Following the seminar will be a special advanced screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental documentary The 11th Hour, at 3 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium. The screening is free and precedes the films official opening in Los Angeles theaters on Friday, August 17th.
The documentary questions whether catastrophes and “natural disasters” reported on the news are isolated incidents or part of the larger picture of global warming and its disastrous effects. The film is narrated by DiCaprio, and written and directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners.
In addition to The 11th Hour, two other documentaries will be screened at the festival — Building Bridges and Willie Francis Must Die Again.
Willie Francis Must Die Again, narrated by Danny Glover, is about Willie Francis, a 16 year-old African-American kid from a small town in Louisiana who was charged with and convicted of a murder, although the sheriff admitted that the murder weapon belonged to one of his deputies. He was electrocuted in the electric chair in 1946, but survived. Then in 1947, the state wanted to put him in the electric chair again. After the first unsuccessful execution, a local attorney whose grandfather was a leader in a Klan-like organization took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
By a 5-4 vote, the court voted to allow a second execution, but then the Supreme Court Justice who cast the deciding vote went to work behind the scenes to get the sentence commuted to life in prison.
Building Bridges is centered around the women of the Mostar Women’s Citizen Initiative in Bosnia. They are a group of community leaders, political activists and ordinary citizens who launch a joint effort to transcend ethnic and religious strife in a country fractured by war.
With narration provided by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Building Bridges recounts the inspirational story of this group of women who set aside sharp differences to produce a new law protecting women and families.
Through friendship and common purpose, the women find they are changing an entire community, discover their own inner strength and protect a future that they came so close to losing.
The conclusion of the festival will be an Awards Night Party at Ma’kai Lounge, 101 Broadway, Santa Monica. Tickets are $25.
Short films in the festival include “07,” “AGNIESZKA 2039,” “Asparagus,” “The Story Of Bubbleboy,” “Chinese Dumplings,” “Dartsville,” “Death in the Woods,” “Everything Will Be OK,” “Expecting,” “Fortune Hunters,” “Her Smile,” “Hikeaway,” “Hollow,” “Itsy Bitsy,” “Lance is a Jerk,” “Making Do,” “The Masquerade,” “My Carnival,” “The Needful Head,” “Partially True Tales of High Adventure!,” “Proof of Birth,” “Rita,” “Scarred,” “Somewhere in the City,” “The Election,” “The Trainee,” “Twilight’s Grace,” “Two Eleven,” “Zack’s Machine,” “A Senseless Act,” “Fetch,” “The Counter,” “The Little Gorilla,” “Real Men” and “Dream Keeper.”
The Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau has signed on as one of the event’s sponsors.
A pass to all screenings in the festival is $25, and a pass for all access screenings and festival events is $50.
Reservations, (866) 468-3399.