Still growing, Savage says

The ninth Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema will be March 6 to 11. The IIFC has moved from its original timing in early January to March. This will be a permanent switch, according to festival founder Stephen Savage.

Several reasons contributed to the change in timing, according to Savage. Weather was a primary concern. Although snowstorms can occur in March, their likelihood is less and the temperatures are typically warmer than the January period.

The 2018 IIFC will showcase between 115 and 125 films, Savage affirmed. The official announcement of selections will be next week.

“This will be the best year ever,” Savage said with assurance. “The number of submissions was the most ever.” A featured guest this year is Gabriel Byrne.

The venues will continue to be the Rustic Theatre and Silver Pines Lodge, and Town Hall will be available for two days of the event.

One other change is that the cost of local passes has been lowered to $25 for the whole festival if the pass is purchased by Jan. 15. This was the price of the pass in 2007, Savage said. Starting Jan. 16, the local pass will cost $35 for the week-long festival.

“We want to make it special to the locals because it’s a special place to have a festival,” Savage said proudly.

“Several local merchants and stores should have passes for sale,” said Kim Negrete, an Idyllwild native now working with the film festival after a career in theater production.

Other reasons for the timing change include Savage’s work directing films and commercials. Also, he said, several local innkeepers approached him and asked about shifting the festival because it was just too close to their Christmas and New Year holiday season.

“They deserve a rest,” he added.