Steven Savage, founder of the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. Photo by J.P. Crumrine
Steven Savage, founder of the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. Photo by J.P. Crumrine

Reinforcing his promise to grow the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, founder and director Stephen Savage has signed a deal to bring Idyllwild 2015 to Hemet next January.

During the first, week-long festival, from Monday, Jan. 5, through Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, Savage plans to show films at the Hemet Theatre three nights, Thursday through Saturday.

But he stressed that it is still the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. “The Rustic Theatre is still the main venue. That’s our home.” Savage emphasized.

The Hemet venue will be the festival’s sixth venue next year. Idyllwild Pines Camp will be the newest local venue, joining the four previous film sites —the Rustic, Astrocamp, Silver Pines and the Caine Learning Center in the evenings.

“It’s really beautiful and holds 400-seat capacity,” Savage said, describing the Hemet Theater. “They have a red-velvet carpet, a revamped sound system and restored screen.”

Casey Abrams suggested Hemet, Savage said. The three days will be a full schedule of films available in Idyllwild. While concerned about the separate venue, Savage realized that the Palm Springs Film Festival is spread out among various desert communities.

The Hemet film people recognized the effort required to create and build a film festival and in order to save time, they asked Savage if they could join the Idyllwild event rather than trying to start a new one.

Martina Webster, who will be the Hemet-San Jacinto venue and events director for the IIFC, served as the intermediary arranging the meetings between Savage and the Hemet Theater owners.

Savage is confident the festival can essentially double its size over the next 10 months. “I am already receiving dozens of emails about when and how to submit film entries for early admission,” he said. “It’s so much fun. And we have so many competent people involved. I just turn most of it over to them.”

The festival team (see accompanying table) will become more embroiled in its planning as Savage’s own filmmaking responsibilities consume more of his time beginning next month. He’ll begin preparation for directing a full, big-budget film, “Wind of Heaven,” this summer in Montana. Next November, he will be filming the Alaskan natives’ annual whale hunt.

The awards ceremony will be held in Idyllwild Saturday night, but the specific location is still being reviewed. A special Board and Voting Committee will be established to recognize the festival’s best films, according to Savage.

Idyllwild 2015’s first night, Jan. 5, will be dedicated to appreciation of local involvement and businesses. The festival’s official opening night will remain Tuesday.

Idyllwild 2015 officers

Executive Producer
Trinity Houston, owns English language TV station in Cancun and with IIFC since 2011

Festival co-chairs
Neill Bell and Elizabeth Miller

Executive Artist Liaison
Andrea Charles

Hemet-San Jacinto Venue and Events Director
Martina Webster

Hemet San Jacinto Venue Artist Liaison
Venissa Timbreza

Executive PR Managers and Music Video Artist Liaison
Jennifer Thorington
Samual Markus

Managing Program Editor and VIP Reporter
Marshall Smith

Chief Festival Host and Film Presenter Liaison
Kriss Armstrong

Advertising Director
Grace Reed

Faulkner Award and Mary Austin Trophy Selections Chief
Doug Austin