Category Archives: Film Festival

Lucky Strike Film Festival Launches

Acclaimed and prolific production company Lucky Strike Films has just launched the much anticipated Lucky Strike Film Festival.  Besides giving filmmakers the opportunity to have their movies premiered before enthusiastic audiences, the Lucky Strike Film Festival will also host an awards show, complete with a snazzy red carpet event and after party! This epic event will take place on September 21st-23rd, with the awards ceremony on September 22nd at the Regency Valley Plaza 6 Theatre in North Hollywood.

Filmmaker, author, festival founder Romane Simon on the red carpet.

In addition to the exposure, the winners for Best Film will also receive a distribution deal through Lucky Strike Productions.

This is a wonderful opportunity for films of all genres and filmmakers of all backgrounds. This festival will truly be a home for indie filmmakers and a new voice for artists, which will allow for their talent to emerge.

This innovative festival was founded by multi award-winning filmmaker Romane Simon. Asked why he created his own festival in addition to writing, directing and producing countless films and being a highly regarded author, Simon said, “it feels really good knowing that I created a platform for creative fellow filmmakers to showcase their work for a broad audience.”

Simon, himself, has an interesting background. As the Grandson of Haiti’s Former President, he was born and raised in Haiti, where he began his filmmaking career. He moved many miles from home to the United States to continue and expand his dreams in the entertainment industry, by embarking upon several more projects. Simon currently works as a screenplay writer, actor, fight choreographer, stuntman, dancer, and even model. Simon is also a great MMA fighter with a record of 9-2-3. His most recent film Hybristophilia stars Quinton Aaron from the Blind Side, Sadie Katz from Wrong Turn 6, Jenna Willis from the People Vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, Iyad Hajjaj from Madam Secretary and many others.

Honoree Quinton Aaron
Honoree and Emmy winner Patrika Darbo
Honoree Iyad Hajjaj

Fataneh Lafleur is the festival manager, Robyn Carmona is the festival coordinator, and Nicole Alexis is a board member. Honorees this year are actors Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side), Emmy winner Patrika Darbo (Days of Our Lives) , Iyad Hajjaj (Madam Secretary), Walter E. Jones,  Grammy nominated artist Stephanie Spruil and Emmy nominated artist Shane Sparks.

More info at https://www.luckystrikefilmsfestival.com/ and tickets can be purchased at this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lucky-strike-film-festival-tickets-36135409984

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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MODA 360: LA 2017 Takes a Walk on the Wild Side!

MODA 360, an innovative exhibit of international art, fashion and film, presents a special event benefitting the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ conservation program and celebrating the Zoo’s 50th anniversary August 1, 2017, 3 to 9 pm, at The New Mart in Downtown L.A.

Debora Pokallus, founder of MODA360

Incorporating exhibits and live presentations by international fashion designers, artists and filmmakers, Moda 360 encourages collaborations between the three creative industries. The 2017 edition of Moda 360 shines the spotlight on sustainability and the importance of preserving the habitats and inhabitants of our planet. A unique feature is “A Walk on the Wild Side,” a sustainable runway fashion show with creations by artists and designers reflecting the species, habitats and conservation projects championed by the L.A. Zoo.

fashion designer Deborah Lindquist

“Moda 360 will be a more intimate event this year to focus on the important issue of environmental stewardship and support the Zoo’s international programs,” says Debora Pokallus, producer of Moda 360. “Preserving our environment has become even more critical today and it’s important to raise awareness and support organizations that do this important work.”

Actress, event media partner and presenter Vida Ghaffari

Proceeds from this event support the L.A. Zoo’s new Species Conservation Action Network (SCAN), including a dedicated Curator of Conservation whose sole focus will be to identify and respond to urgent animal conservation issues around the world. The L.A. Zoo dedicates funds, expertise, and staff to a wide variety of conservation projects all over the globe, with a special focus on those that target wild counterparts of animals in their collection. While the reach is global, two of its greatest conservation successes have been local in nature: the California Condor Recovery Plan and the Peninsular Pronghorn Recovery Plan, both restoring populations of critically endangered animals to their native habitats. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments,

According to GLAZA President Connie Morgan, “As the Zoo celebrates 50 years of leadership in exceptional animal welfare and its role as a key player in major conservation projects that protect animal species from extinction, GLAZA’s Board of Trustees builds upon five decades of major support for the Zoo and looks ahead to the next 50 by funding SCAN’s Curator of Conservation position into the future.”

L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis says, “The Zoo, with its decades of institutional knowledge and scientific expertise, will utilize SCAN to build solutions and connect the best people and programs, inside and outside the zoo profession, to act in a coordinated effort to address pressing and critical species survival issues. The Zoo may not be the Ark but we are shipbuilders!”

Moda 360 promises an eclectic and entertaining program representing three creative industries and presenting the ideas, inspiration, and ethics that drive the independent artist, designer and filmmaker forward in their work. Showing the best of contemporary creation, Moda 360 gives a look behind the art to show the contribution these talented exhibitors offer the commercial and cultural market.

Moda 360 will also screen fashion videos from international filmmakers, and premiere a video homage of LA fashion by Lucinda Luuvas.

CE Jordan will perform her all-too-true tales of modeling in LA and NY in “A Model Life,” a journey down the runway of life. Jordan is a former model and professional storyteller who will share reflections from her modeling career in the 1970s, weaving anecdotes about the many personalities she encountered in her work: Karl Lagerfeld, Gianni Versace, Andy Warhol, Michaele Vollbracht, Bill Blass, Givenchy. She has entertained audiences throughout Los Angeles with her warmth and wit, offering a fascinating look at life during fashion’s heyday. Wielding her signature combination of storytelling, music, dance, and an imaginative use of props, this versatile writer/performer will kick up her high heels in this model bash for the ageless. “A Model Life” performance is at 3 pm (seating begins at 2:45).

A screening of “Strangers in a Book,” written by Pedram Navab and directed by Marc Rezvani, takes place at 4 pm (seating begins at 3:45). The film follows Sara in actress (and HPC’s own) Vida G’s (The Mindy Project, Mind of Mencia) dramatic debut, a hip and melancholic Iranian-American, who finds a misplaced book in a café. Intrigued by its contents, but unable to find the owner, she decides to interview the people in the notebook to decipher the identity of the mysterious man. The strangers whom she meets, considered the dregs of society, tell Sara stories about the enigmatic owner of the book, who is considered both diabolical and kind. In her relentless pursuit of the ultimate stranger, Sara is thus plunged into the horror of the unknown, where reality merges with art, and where existence itself is questioned. The film has also received 7 nominations at the prestigious Film Festival in San Diego and won Best Guerrilla Film at the popular Action on Film (AOF) Festival in Monrovia, California and the noted Finow Film and Script Festival in Eberswalde, Germany.Vida Ghaffari will introduce the film.

“A Walk on the Wild Side,” which takes place at 5:30 pm (seating begins at 5:15 pm, is a sustainable runway show of fashions by ethical designers from three continents to show that sustainability is vibrant and creative. It features the work of Atelier Tammam, a London couture house of 100% vegan and ethical fashion whose designs have graced the red carpet at the BAFTA awards; Juan Pablo Martinez, a collection fusing sustainability, fine tailoring and rock and roll from Bogata Colombia who began his career in the atelier of Christian LaCroix; designer Lucy Tammam, a fierce advocate of sustainable fashion who has been a force in the ethical fashion movement for over a decade; and LA’s own Deborah Lindquist who has spent 30 years designing eclectic, and striking fashion from reclaimed, recycled and sustainable materials. A special feature of the runway will be unique creations by artists and designers reflecting the species, habitats and conservation projects championed by the L.A. Zoo. These exceptional designers will hit the runway to support the L.A. Zoo and will be joined by other talented artists and designers creating one of a kind surprises that reflect the animals, habitats and conservation programs the L.A. Zoo champions. A team of hair and makeup artists from TNT Agency will create looks with a touch of the jungle.

Moda 360 celebrates the innovation and creativity of designers and artists and welcomes exciting new innovations and ideas. Returning to Moda 360, Philadelphia designer Machele Nettles will show her latest Idol-Light collection of prism jewelry made from reclaimed optical glass. These sleek and modern designs refract light, making not just a fashion statement, but demonstrating the wonders of science. Machele is creating a special piece for the Zoo runway design challenge. Vanessa Wishart from Toronto, Ontario, is a fashion artist, designer and costumer for theater, films and music tours. Internationally known for her ability to take the most banal items and transform it into wearable art, she creates fashion items from currency and is showing her latest Luut collection at Moda 360. Kor?áta from Guatemala, are high-quality ethical fashion products handwoven by Guatemalan artisans. The bright, colorful ties and wallets reflect the culture and spirit of the native artisans. Moda 360 welcomes returning artist Andrea Bogdan who will again live paint during the event. Andrea will debut an art and fashion collaboration on the runway to support the Zoo. The U.K. feminist art organization FiLiArt is organizing a special exhibition to make the statement that preserving our world is a feminist issue. Photographer Jenna Amaya also returns to Moda to show her expressive studies of exploration of human form and body art. Mark Campana joins fellow Philadelphian Machele Nettles showing his beautiful paintings of the historical architecture in his hometown. These creators will be joined by a growing roster of designers and artists.

Bel Essence the natural skincare and certified cruelty-free company, returns as sponsor of Moda 360 for this special event.

The New Mart is located at 127 E. 9th Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

Tickets for MODA 360’s August 1 event range from $35 to $500 and are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/moda-360-fashion-art-and-film-experience-benefiting-la-zoo-conservation-tickets-35128296681.

ABOUT BEL ESPRIT – The Bel Esprit Showroom showcases international designers of ethical fashion, and the sister showroom, Showroom International, presents the collections of international independent designers. The showrooms offer 30 years of industry experience identifying and assisting the needs of both designers and retailers to facilitate a strong business relationship, and partner with international fashion industry organizations and events to give independent designers maximum exposure. Bel Esprit promotes ethical principles through education to designers, retailers and consumers, and through a number of global initiatives works to create and develop more ethical resources for the fashion industry. Learn more at www.BelEsprit.net.

ABOUT THE NEW MART – The New Mart Building, a registered Los Angeles historical landmark located in the center of Downtown LA’s fashion district, is home to 100+ showrooms representing hundreds of top lines. With both high profile and cutting edge showrooms, The New Mart is the most sought-after venue for wholesale fashion buyers from around the world. Learn more at www.newmart.net.

ABOUT BEL ESSENCE – Bel Essence is a natural skincare collection based on a simple idea: give skin the nutrition it needs to heal, regenerate and rejuvenate itself. Bel Essence combines natural and organic oils that are the richest sources of vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3’s and fatty acids, the essential components for healthy, youthful skin. Bel Essence gives skin what nature intended and selects and combines oils with beneficial properties to maximize results without harmful chemicals and colorings. Natural oils, known for their skin health benefits, are combined to treat and nourish skin giving both instant improvement and long-term transformation. Learn more at www.belessence.com.

ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES ZOO – The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens marks its 50th anniversary with a yearlong “ZooLAbration” that began on November 28, 2016, which is the 50th anniversary of the opening at its current location. Throughout the 50th anniversary year, the Zoo spotlights not only its key role as a world-class destination and an important community asset but also its critical successes in conservation, quality of life and premier care for animals. Having recently completed a $172 million master plan which significantly improved the Zoo facility, the Zoo now embarks upon developing a new Master Plan, which will serve as a road map for the future. The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats. The Zoo’s many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Unity at The Universe Multicultural Film Festival

It truly was a small world after all this past weekend, as the Universe Multicultural Film Festival united the diverse worlds of film, fashion and finance. The festival held their lavish red Carpet Awards Ceremony at the RHCC Community Center in Rolling Hills Estates.

Awardee Laurene Landon dazzles in a beautiful green gown

Celebrities in attendance from the event were Lynn Tang, Festival Founder and President, Awardees Aki Aleong (Babylon 5, Walker, Texas Ranger), Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, Chuck Norris’ An Eye For An Eye), Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop, Sky, the #1 trending movie on Netflix opposite Norman Reedus) and presenter actor/filmmaker Thomas J. Churchill (Check Point, Lazarus: Day of the Dead). Aleong received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Landon received the Trailblazer Award, and Novak received the Living Legend Award.

Awardees Aki Aleong and Mel Novak

The Universe Multicultural Film Festival seeks to bring to the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from the world and is committed to enlightening the public with a unique international film program, a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities. The Festival focuses on showcasing diverse cultural and heritages films, supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works of both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, independent spirit and vision of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions into all aspects of the Festival, this Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and background to participate and share the harmony of the universe. In addition to the awards ceremony, this three day festival will have screenings, panels and a fashion show.

Presenter Thomas J. Churchill with awardees Laurene Landon and Mel Novak on the red carpet

This prominent festival was founded by Lynn Tang. Ms. Tang is a film and Broadway musical producer. She is the executive director of Universe Multicultural Film Festival; director of San Diego International Kids’ Film Festival; Founder of Epic ACG Fest; Chairwoman of Maeya Art Festival.

Laurene gives a wonderful and witty acceptance speech with fabulous presenter Thomas J. Churchill

As a film producer, her feature movie “Hiding Sword ” (in China and Hollywood) won the best actor & actress awards at the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Festival. Recently, she served as the executive producer of the Hollywood film “Senior Entourage” starring Hollywood Icons Ed Asner, Mark Rydell, Dick Van Dyke, Helen Reddy; Marion Ross and Charlie Robinson.

Awardees Aki Aleong and Mel Novak

As a Broadway musical producer, her production “Chen Ying Rescuers the Orphan “made to Dolby Theater (Oscar award Home theater) in October 2016. It become the first Broadway Musical to debut at in Dolby theater in history.

Mel’s motivational acceptance speech with Thomas J. Churchill and festival official

For the past 5 years in a row, she has been appointed as the film jury and international commissioner of Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival ( Korea) and for two years in a row as the Asian Film Block director of the Broadway International Film Festival -Ensenada ( Mexico).

Awardees Mel Novak and Laurene Landon
Awardee Mel Novak and festival founder Lynn Tang
Awardee Laurene Landon and presenter Thomas J. Churchill

Before the entertainment industry, she was a Project Manager specializing in international business exchanges and has served as a management specialist for Fortune 500 companies. She is the Shanghai (China) Zhabei District Investment Advisor and currently serves as the vice chairwoman of the Maeya Culture Exchange Group. Given Ms. Tang’s background, This international festival will unite the worlds of film, fashion and finance. Bravo to Lynn and her team for putting this incredible festival together.

For more info, please go to http://umfilms.org/

All photos are courtesy of Sheri Determan/PR Photos

Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

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The Fourth Annual Nollywood Awards is a Great Success

The fourth annual Los Angeles Nollywood Film Association (LANFA)’s Nollywood Awards took place on Saturday August 6th at the James Bridges Theater at UCLA. This event recognized renowned international talents in the film, music and media industries within the African communities globally. LANFA has experienced tremendous growth since it’s inception and wanted to appreciate all those who have stayed the cause and also given back to their communities. King Bassey is the founder of the Nollywood awards and LANFA. Mark Sevier was the LA Coordinator of LANFA and Amelia Johnson was the head of marketing. Additionally Mark won a best actor award for the film “The Chosen One.”

Mistress of Ceremonies Denise O'Brien, Founder of the Nollywood awards King Bassey, awardee Vida Ghaffari and presenter Ford Austin
Mistress of Ceremonies Denise O’Brien, Founder of the Nollywood awards King Bassey, awardee Vida Ghaffari and presenter Ford Austin
Awardee Mark Sevier
Awardee and LA coordinator for the Nollywood Awards Mark Sevier
Beauty queen and model Amelia Johnson and Mark Sevier
Beauty queen and model Amelia Johnson and Mark Sevier

HPC’s own Vida G. , who is also an award-winning actress and fashion and beauty blogger, was presented with a prestigious Excellence in Media Award at this prestigious event. Celebrated actor Ford Austin presented Vida’s award to her.  Ford is Vida’s co-host on their popular Facebook live show, “Live with Ford and Vida.”  “Live with Ford and Vida” was also an official sponsor of this auspicious event. Entrepreneur Laverne Tillis also presented this award to Vida.

Awardee Vida with her award and presenters Ford Austin and Laverne Tillis
Awardee Vida with her award and presenters Ford Austin and Laverne Tillis. Ford and Vida are dressed in Sai Suman Couture
Romane 4th from left with actor Said Faraj (second from left) and all the other awardees.

Also in attendance was filmmaker and awardee Romane Simon, who is also a prolific author. Simon has an interesting background. Originating from Haiti, his grandfather was Antoine Simon, the president of Haiti.

Presenter and founder of the World Networks Lousine Karibian with awardees Said Faraj and Vida Ghaffari

More info at http://www.Lanfaa.com

Photos courtesy of Mark Sevier and Bob Delgadillo

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Israel Film Festival of Los Angeles’ Opening Night Gala

The 29th Israel Film Festival Opening Night Gala is on October 28th at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Legendary actress Helen Mirren will be honored with the  2015 Israel Film Festival Career Achievement Award.  Mirren, internationally recognized for her work on stage, screen and television, recently starred in WOMAN IN GOLD.  She received an Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG Award and BAFTA Award for portraying Queen Elizabeth II in THE QUEEN and a Tony Award for THE AUDIENCE.  Upcoming films include TRUMBO and EYE IN THE SKY.

Israel Film Festival poster
Israel Film Festival poster

Academy Award nominated actress Diane Lane will present Helen Mirren with the IFF Career Achievement Award. Lane co-stars with Mirren in the upcoming film TRUMBO. Her other credits include: MAN OF STEEL, SECRETARIAT, UNFAITHFUL and THE PERFECT STORM.

Aaron Sorkin will be bestowed the 2015 Israel Film Festival Achievement in Film & Television Award. Sorkin is one of Hollywood’s most successful film and television screenwriters. An Academy Award, Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy Award and BAFTA winner, his film credits include A FEW GOOD MEN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, MONEYBALL and recently STEVE JOBS, and for television SPORTS NIGHT, THE WEST WING and THE NEWSROOM.

Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian will receive the 2015 Israel Film Festival Humanitarian Award. She is president of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation and founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA and Chair of its Advisory Board.

David Fariborz Diaan will be the Master of Ceremonies. Diaan’s many acting credits include:  BABA JOON, THE BRINK, HOMELAND, THE STONING OF SORAYA M.

The Opening Night Film is BABA JOON with Filmmakers – Yuval Delshad– Writer/Director; David Silber – Producer;  Navid Negahban –  Actor/Producer; David Diaan – Actor; David Siegel – Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles and Meir Fenigstein – Director/Founder of ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL

Still of Baba Joon with actors Navid Negahban and Asher Avrahami
Still of Baba Joon with actors Navid Negahban and Asher Avrahami

Baba Joon is a very touching story and it’s a very multi-cultural story about an Iranian immigrant family in Israel.  Yitzhak (Navid Negahban) runs the turkey farm his father built with his own two hands after they emigrated from Iran to Israel. When his son Moti (Asher Avrahami) turns thirteen, Yitzhak teaches him the trade, hoping that he will continue the proud family tradition. But Moti doesn’t like working in the turkey barn; his passion is fixing up junkyard cars and bringing them back to life.

Moti’s mother Sarah  (Viss Elliot Safavi) tries to reconcile between the two, while his grandfather pushes Yitzhak to take a firm hand with his son.

Yitzhak takes Moti’s refusal to work in the turkey barn as a personal rejection. Though he loves his son dearly, he makes it his mission to impose the family farm on Moti.  

The arrival of Darius (Fariborz David Diaan) , the uncle from America, sets off a chain of events that will undermine the familial harmony. Soon enough Yitzhak will learn that his son is just as stubborn as he is. The conflict is inevitable. Baba means father in Farsi and is a term of endearment and respect in Persian culture. So indeed it’s an appropriate title. 
About the ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL:

For nearly three decades, the Festival has presented over 900 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to 950,000 filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art.  The ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982.  Among the Sponsors of the 29th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL are long-time partners Israel Film Fund, The Hollywood Reporter, Rabinovitch Film Fund, Variety, The Jerusalem Film and TV Fund, Eclipse, Millennium Films, The IAC (Israeli American Council), The ATLS World Wide, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation, Bank Leumi USA, Four Seasons Hotel, The Orlando, Clear Channel, New Regency Productions, Yvel, Menchie’s and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, to name a few.

For more info, please go to www.IsraelFilmFestival.com

 

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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The International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts is in the Heart of Beverly Hills

The fourth annual International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts (IFFCA) was held at the Laemmle Music Hall Three in super swanky Beverly Hills right on Wilshire Boulevard from October 10th to the 12th.

The IFFCA was started by passionate cinema enthusiasts who liked to contribute to the film community and recognized the excellence and hard work which goes in the making of a film. The festival’s goal is to foster a meaningful global conversation between cultures and countries through Cinema.

Festival Co-founder Amir Masud with actor and filmmaker
Festival Co-founder Amir Masud with actor and filmmaker Akash Chopra of The Interrogation of Guru Kartaar Singh

“This year our festival is three full days and we screened over a 100 films, many of which were from all over the world like England, Australia, and India,” said Masud.

“I’m so excited that we are screening the films at a Laemmle Theatre, which is a family owned business and it’s a good match for us as all our hearts are passionate about the art and craft of cinema,” he added.

Host Violet Kanian, entertainment attorney Nadia Davari and host Mia Eden
Host Violet Kanian, entertainment attorney Nadia Davari and host Mia Eden

The festival is a joyous celebration of the art and craft of cinematic storytelling. They celebrate and recognize not only the directors, actors, but also present jury awards to screenwriters, editors, and composers. At this festival, they celebrate all artists responsible for creating cinema.

The cast of "Breathe" under the festival's marquee at the Lammle Theatre
The cast of “Breathe” under the festival’s marquee at the Lammle Theatre

Finally, it is indeed possible to tell evocative, visceral, meaningful, and moving films without spending millions of dollars. The Cinematic Arts Film Festival will inspire filmmakers around the world by premiering examples of films made on micro-budgets. They have also included a new category just for music videos to appreciate the creativity and talent it takes to make these short forms of filmmaking.

Q and A after a screening
Q and A after a screening

I got a chance to watch The Interrogation of Guru Kartaar Singh by Akash Chopra, who wrote, directed and starred in this film and did a truly outstanding job even though he wore many hats. This film is based on a play of the same name and is a fictitious Indian short film that revolves around an interrogation of a young Sikh who attempts to assassinate a political figure in the name of religious vengeance and propaganda. Based on true facts surrounding the Sikh secessionist demand for a new state also known as the ‘Khalistan’ Movement, the infamous genocidal Operation Blue Star in year 1984, Chopra gives a stellar performance and is the only character on-camera.

“Sikhs have the most peaceful religion, so it’s really tragic what they’ve had to go through. Certain episodes in the 80’s really left a mark,” said Chopra, who is not a Sikh himself.

The trailer of this film is at http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2353050393 and more info about the festival at http://iffca.org/

 

 

 

Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

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Seventh Annual Lady Filmmakers Festival

The Lady Filmmakers Brings Much Needed Attention to Female Filmmakers

The 7th annual Lady Filmmakers Festival is under the umbrella of the newly formed Lady Filmmakers Foundation, a 501c3 tax exempt charity. This wonderful festival celebrates women in leadership roles in the entertainment industry. Their film festival celebrates women filmmakers, artists, and musicians and the men who collaborate with them.
Lady Filmmakers was founded by Patricia DiSalvo Viayra and her husband, Mike Viayra, who is also the festival programmer. I met Patricia and Mike years ago at their festival and they were so kind, friendly and encouraging of all the filmmakers and artists in attendance and I don’t usually see that in the wild and wooly festival circuit. I have a film screening at this festival, so I’m really excited and honored for it to be screened here. 
Lady Filmmakers event poster
Lady Filmmakers event poster
This festival is an entire weekend of films, music, art, mentoring workshops/panels and of course parties! They promote and support opportunities for artistic and career growth through their many different workshops, panels and networking events.
Festival Executive Director and Co-Founder Patricia DiSalvo Viayra
Festival Executive Director and Co-Founder Patricia DiSalvo Viayra
They look for extraordinary visual storytellers for our programming. The festival encourages collaboration between men and women currently in the industry and to instill this idea within future filmmakers. Their speaker series and events are designed to help our filmmakers expand their network and further career goals. Lady Filmmakers is a safe environment to exhibit works and to find future collaborators and mentors. The festival promotes diversity and strong female lead driven content and they wish to INSPIRE & ENTERTAIN!

One Woman has to fill the role of Writer, Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Production Designer or Editor to qualify to screen at the festival!

They also have Music and Art Programs this year too featuring men and women artists and musicians!

Long after the festival is complete they actively continue to promote their “Alumni” filmmakers, cast, and crew throughout the year!

Our main programming themes are:

  • Ladies Illuminate – films that bring social awareness
  • Ladies Kick Butt – films that appeal to a broad audience
  • Ladies First – films that are World, US, West Coast, or Los Angeles Premieres
  • Young Ladies and Gentlemen – films made by students/youth
  • Family Friendly- films appropriate for families with children
  • Halloween Teasers- films that are horror, psychological thrillers, scary, creepy, and freaky! More info at http://www.ladyfilmmakers.com/
Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

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Shriekfest has a Ghoulish Opening Night Party

I went to an event I look forward to every year last night, the Shriekfest Film Festival Opening Night Party. My friend, the lovely and oh so talented actress Denise Gossett created the festival.

She started the festival in early 2001 when starred in the horror film “Chain Of Souls” and was searching for ways to get the word out. She soon discovered there really weren’t any film festivals focusing on horror and wisely came up with the idea to start a horror film festival.

With Denise on the red carpet of Shriekfest
With Denise on the red carpet of Shriekfest

“I told my sister-in-law Kimberlee my “silly” idea. She loved it! And even though we had no idea what we were doing, we immediately got to work, said Denise.

With my horror posse of wonderful fellow actors, Kristin West, Devanny Pinn, Bill Oberst Jr., myself, Mo Kelly, Scott Engrotti and Marv Blauvelt
With my horror posse of wonderful fellow actors, Kristin West, Devanny Pinn, Bill Oberst Jr., myself, Mo Kelly, Scott Engrotti and Marv Blauvelt

“I always say naivete will take you far and we are proof. We thought doing this festival would be fun and perhaps we’d be able to make some money to put towards making our own films. Little did we know how popular this “little” festival would become! After a few years Kimberlee ended up moving back to her home town in Michigan to raise her son. Her brother, my husband, Todd Beeson stepped in and 3 years ago I finally “let” him retire,” she added.

Denise with festival judge Karina Wilson
Denise with festival judge Karina Wilson

They are currently in their 15th year and submissions have gone through the roof and entries now come from every country!

Actresses Suze Lanier-Bramlett and Reatha Grey
Actresses Suze Lanier-Bramlett and Reatha Grey
Corpsi does a crazy choke pose with Denise and a colleague
Corpsi of Girls and Corpses Magazine does a crazy choke pose with Denise and a colleague

“I just want to say how truly grateful I am for all of the supportive filmmakers, screenwriters, and fans. Thank you for keeping us around,” she said.

TV host JosiKat strikes a pose on the red carpet
TV host JosiKat strikes a pose on the red carpet
Denise and Joann Thomas, co-founder of the FANtastic Film Festival
Denise and Joann Thomas, co-founder of the FANtastic Film Festival

Denise moved to Los Angeles from Orlando, FL. Denise has been in the entertainment business for more than 20 years primarily as an actress. She can be seen in the latest Tom Hiddleston movie “I Saw the Light”, with Morris Chestnut in “When the Bough Breaks” in the Mel Gibson movie “Get the Gringo”, “The Last Ride” with Dennis Hopper and on such tv shows as “The Office”, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”, “Samantha Who?”, “Veronica Mars”, “Fashion House”, “Believers Among Us”, “Superboy”, “Guilty Or Innocent”, “The Life of Tonya Harding”, “What Should You Do?”, a recurring role on “Zoey 101”, “Drake & Josh”, “Born on a Bad Day”, and many more! Denise has also had lead roles in many feature films. She can also be seen in the SciFi film “Decaying Orbit” and the horror films “La Llorona”, “Carnies”, “The Mutilation Man”, “Fright Club”, and in the upcoming “The Cellar Door 2: Preymate.”

Sharing a laugh with actor Ford Austin
Sharing a laugh with actor Ford Austin

More info about the festival at https://www.shriekfest.com

 

Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

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Action on Film Festival World Premieres

Several of my films are making their world premiere at the prestigious Action on Film (AOF) Festival, which is going on until Sunday, September 27th in scenic Monrovia at the Krikorian Theatres. These films are Strangers In A Book, Seeking Valentina, and Natural Born Filmmakers.

This festival was created by Del Weston, who is also a filmmaker, so he really supports indie filmmakers in our community. And I really feel the sense of community at this festival. I ran into supportive friends from the film festival world and the media like King Bassey, Founder of the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Awards, LA Talk Radio Host Cameron Datzker and journalist and actor Harrison Held.

With my castmates and writer and executive producer of Strangers In A Book. From left to right: Pooneh and Pedram Navab, myself and Kristin West
With my castmates and writer and executive producer of Strangers In A Book. From left to right: Pooneh and Pedram Navab, myself and Kristin West

Working on Strangers In a Book was an interesting experience and I learned so much as I also wore a producer hat on this one in addition to playing the lead role. This film is nominated for Best Guerilla short film at AOF. It was shot entirely in black and white. And has a great soundtrack which enlisted bands from the hip and progressive Italians Do it Better label, such as Chromatics, Desire, and Johnny Jewel which really add to the style of this bold, psychological thriller. Keeping fingers and toes crossed!

Seeking Valentina cast and crew with some industry luminaries like King Bassey, Founder of the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Awards, writer-director Armin Nasseri, Del Weston, Founder of the Action on Film Festival with myself and actress-producer Kristin West
Seeking Valentina cast and crew with some industry luminaries like King Bassey, Founder of the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Awards, writer-director Armin Nasseri, Del Weston, Founder of the Action on Film Festival with myself and actress-producer Kristin West

I had a great time working on Seeking Valentina. Kristin and Armin had a crazy shooting schedule, but thankfully for me, my scene was shot in North Hollywood. This film is about an Iranian-American writer (Ali Bavarian), in the pangs of grief, who takes in a mysterious tenant (Kristin West). When she mysteriously disappears, is she a ghost, a hallucination, a dream or a runaway? The subject matter and open-ended ending left a lot of audience members in suspense about who Valentina really was and that was what Nasseri was trying to convey with the film. The film also stars Srinivasa Kapavarapu of Outsourced, Mehlad Gibson, and yours truly of course.

The cast and crew of Natural Born Filmmakers. From with writer and producer Melanie Grunder, actor Gregory Blair, myself, writer-director Steve Oakley, actress Dawna Lee Heising, and Joycelyne Lew in the center. Photo courtesy of John Cox/Polymedia Photography
The cast and crew of Natural Born Filmmakers. From with writer and producer Melanie Grunder, actor Gregory Blair, myself, writer-director Steve Oakley, actress Dawna Lee Heising, and Joycelyne Lew in the center. Photo courtesy of John Cox/Polymedia Photography

I’m really excited that Natural Born Filmmakers is nominated for a Best Comedy Feature award at AOF. I had a blast working on Natural Born Filmmakers with an ensemble cast of fine folks like my dear friends Gregory Blair and Dawna Lee Heising, which are very talented. I can’t wait to work with them on Garden Party Massacre!

Q and A for Seeking Valentina along with the Strangers in a Book gang. Photo courtesy of King Bassey
Q and A for Seeking Valentina along with the Strangers in a Book gang. Photo courtesy of King Bassey

More info about this wonderful festival at http://www.aoffest.com/ and more info about the films at https://www.facebook.com/StrangersInABookhttp://www.seekingvalentina.com/, and https://www.facebook.com/naturalbornfilmmakers

Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

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LANFA Award-Winning Filmmaker to Screen His Films

On Saturday, September 12th at 1pm, Kelechi Eke, who was bestowed the Movie Achievement Award fron LANFA (Los Angeles Nollywood Film Awards), will be premiering his award-winning films, “The Other Tribes” and “Weeping Ashes,” as the ACME Studios in North Hollywood.

Award-winning filmmaker Kelechi Eke
Award-winning filmmaker Kelechi Eke with his award

“The Other Tribes” explores the biases tribes have towards each other and “Weeping Ashes is based on true events that primarily took place in Uganda.

Posters for Eke's "The Other Tribes" and "Weeping Ashes"
Posters for Eke’s “The Other Tribes” and “Weeping Ashes”

LANFA’s goal is to promote actors, actresses, directors and producers in Nollywood to Hollywood, and to develop a technique that will enable them to work together in producing quality films. This goal gives greater media exposure, increases awareness, visibility, and opportunities to those who need to promote their projects. This esteemed organization also wants to eventually build a healthcare center in Africa to give the best medical help for those in the film industries and others who can’t afford to do so. Another goal of LANFA is to construct a state-of-the-art studio in Los Angeles for the production of technologically advanced film, TV, and theatre projects. King Bassey is the founder and CEO of LANFA. 

I had the honor of being a presenter to my good friend, noted fashion designer Eugene Sidney, who received an award from this wonderful organization.  I also really enjoyed learning more about Nigerian films and that creative community. More info at http://www.lanfaa.com/

The trailers for “The Other Tribes” and “Weeping Ashes” are at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXluIl14BYk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCGucwjX5VQ&feature=youtu.be

More info about these films at http://www.bigobi.com/ and for tickets to the screening, please go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-other-tribes-weeping-ashes-movies-premiere-in-hollywood-september-12th-2015-tickets-18198961584

 

 

Vida G.

Vida G.

Vida is an actress and journalist who lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the co-founder of the Hollywood Press Corps.

More Posts - Website