Steve Savage File Photo
Steve Savage
File Photo

Idyllwild’s Stephen Savage, founder of the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, has been asked to work with Ramona Bowl in Hemet, including its historic pageant, “Ramona.”

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to fit in and to help,” Savage said last week.

After Idyllwild 2014, Savage announced that the Idyllwild event would expand to include three days of film in Hemet. This caught the attention of the Ramona Bowl officials, who approached Savage about a position.

“We’ve been impressed with what he did with the film fest in Idyllwild,” said Tami Wilhelm, one of the directors for the Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre. “Working with the Ramona Bowl we recognized a lot of potential, which hasn’t been tapped. With his innovative ideas, we decided to hitch our wagon to him.”

They invited Savage to watch the play and talked to him about their vision for the future.

Eventually, they agreed upon the position of executive creative director. Savage will review the play and the amphitheater’s summer season program, too.

One of the first ideas he offered was a suggestion to improve the sound system. David Swanson, a sound engineer from New York, will visit the amphitheater, review the existing system and propose a redesign that can be implemented this fall.

But other changes are likely in future seasons. For example, the possibility of shading the amphitheater using a parachute similar to the ones above the Holmes Amphitheatre on the Idyllwild Arts campus may be made to improve the venue for guests.

Another idea Savage will explore is the possibility of an opera production during the summer and more Native American events. Even the historic pageant may incorporate some changes, such as a musical score and the addition of a narrator to help the transition between scenes.

The connection with the Ramona Bowl may yield reciprocal benefits for the IIFC, too, Savage said. A film institute may be located there and a filmmaking course offered in the spring.

Savage has no intention of leaving Idyllwild. He is fully immersed in his film career — production, directing and writing. But the Ramona Bowl offered an opportunity to bring his film experience to live productions.

“I’m honored and proud they thought of me,” he said. “I’ll bring a cinematic prospective to the play level — a world famous play.”