The fourth Idyllwild CinemaFest opened Wednesday morning, Jan. 9, with 100 films to be screened over the festival’s five-day run. The 50 percent increase in number of films scheduled (67 last year) is a huge leap forward for the festival, as is the addition of a large new venue, the Astrocamp Galaxy Theatre.
This year the festival is truly international with quality films from Russia, Iran, Egypt, Guyana, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia and the United Kingdom.
And Idyllwild, being a town with a disproportionate number of creative types, is unsurprisingly well-represented with projects in ICF 2013.
Local talent can be seen in this year’s festival as directors, writers, composers and stars of a number of featured festival films.
One, Piper Dellums, directs “Red Road,” a film about Mestizo musician and Renaissance man Carlos Reynosa, also an Idyllwild local. Reynosa is co-director for “Red Road.” Reynosa’s flute albums have topped New Age Billboard charts. Dellums also directs “The Rent Party: Paying it Forward in Rhythm and Hues,” the chronicle of her Idyllwild event to raise money for Idyllwild’s needy through music and performance.
Familiar Idyllwild actor Chris Pennock appears in Billy DaMota’s featurette “Posey,” starring Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland, a story of a grandmother facing the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, her coping struggle, and the bond that builds between her and her granddaughter. This will be the world premiere for “Posey,” a film that has already received good press because of its subject matter.
Recently arrived local Scott Foster has a project for which he both produced the film and co-wrote the screenplay. The short, “Success Driven,” is the story of an Iranian musician and singer who becomes a successful Hollywood mutli-platinum recording artist. Foster also penned lyrics for the title song.
His introduction to the project was itself a story of serendipitous Hollywood good fortune — a chance meeting at a Beverly Hills bar produced an invitation to an Oscar party at which another chance meeting linked Foster to a record producer handling an Iranian artist. The rest is in the story. Yancey Arias directs “Success Driven.”
Idyllwild local Derek Ellingson returns with the short “Nothing Ventured.” Ellingson also had a short in IFC 2012, “In Sickness and in Health.”
“The Visit,” director Fara Pasarell’s featurette family saga of mother-daughter estrangement and possible reconciliation, costars Idyllwild local Sharon Lawrence.
Idyllwild Arts will showcase five student projects from its Moving Pictures Department:
“The Wingman,” a short (15 minutes) directed by Gabrielle and Angelo DiMarco; “Perfect,” a short (2 minutes) directed by Anna Q. Mayer; “A Family Like Mine,” a short (22 minutes) directed by Katherine “Tia” Dearns; “Life After Death,” a short (12 minutes) directed by Armani Rodriguez; and “Love Without End,” a short (17 minutes) directed by Ziqing “Rosey” Xu.
Idyllwild Arts Moving Pictures Department has built a national reputation with the quality of the films its high school students produce. The department competes with university film department heavyweights such as the University of Southern California, CalArts, UCLA, American Film Institute and Chapman College. Idyllwild Arts films will also screen in a KCET Festival of Student Films in North Hollywood on Jan. 15.