Last October, amid much glitz, glamour but light attendance, the first ever Anaheim International Film Festival premiered, and while it's not quite one-and-done, organizers plan this year to sprinkle festival screenings in with regular UltraLuxe of GardeWalk programming throughout the fall. Meanwhile, plugging along in Huntington Beach as it has the previous six years, the SoCal Film Festival is about to celebrate its seventh run.
One hundred six films from the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Turkey, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Australia, Serbia, Iceland and Germany will be screened Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, at the Huntington Beach Central Library Theatre, 7111 Talbert Ave. The festival opens with a 7 p.m. Wednesday reception at Marriott Courtyard/Residence Inn, 9950 Slater Ave., Fountain Valley.
Among the shorts, documentaries and feature films screening Thursday are: Hollywood to Dollywood, the story of two brothers journeying to meet Dolly Parton; A Lonely Place for Dying, Justin Evans' widely downloaded thriller featuring James Cromwell; and the short film License to Reproduce with Edward Furlong.
Friday's collection includes The Table, a documentary about a group of tenacious individuals who have been meeting every Thursday in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years to kvetch about the film industry; Hollywood filmmaker Marcus Mizelle's short The Reliever, which is about the person you call when you have a stage five clinger; and Newport Beach-born Chapman film school grad Lucian Knotter's short Abduct Me, which is about a guy getting whisked away by aliens who include a beautiful but naive abductor-in-training. (Watch the clip here.)
Saturday brings the world premiere of True Bromance, an absurd comedy starring Adrian Grenier (Entourage) and Devin Ratray (Home Alone); Frontman, the story of the childhood band Stanley and the Knives reuniting after one of their members dies; Anti-Hero, a comedy about an apathetic busboy who discovers he has superhero-like powers; and the horror film The Hike, which has a group of hikers terrorized in Eastern Europe.
Throughout the festival the shorts will be broken up by programs with such titles as Animated Shorts, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Comedy Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Dramatic Shorts and the ever-popular Off-the-Beaten-Path program.
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Huntington Beach filmmakers are represented through films like Tainted Mattress (David Beatty), Factory in a Box (Cameron Lew) and The School Day (Alec Hiber), while other Orange County directors beside Knotter who get in on the act are Joel Robinson (Mountain Man), Eric Hill (Love at First), Maurianna Zingarelli (Breaking Through), Sally Rubin (She's My Superman) and Traci Hays (Between Bars). For the complete schedule and showtimes, visit www.socalfilmfest.com.
Judging the films, which receive awards on Saturday night, are representatives of AFI, USC, NYU, UCLA and many other universities and filmmaking programs across the country. The 3-Square Players, who appear in Tainted Mattress, give a live performance, and red carpet photo-ops will be on tap throughout the event. The festival ends Sunday with free round-table discussions in Room E at the library. The 1 p.m. topic is "From Script to Screen," while "Budgets and Funding" is taken up at 2 p.m.
General admission for short film collections is $5, while it is $7 to attend a feature film. A pass for all festival screenings is a reasonable $40. For more information, visit the website or call 800.714.5976.