Tuesday, October 27, 2015

...And That's a Wrap on VFF15!

North Hollywood, CA - The Valley Film Festival (VFF) lowered the curtain on another showcase of thought provoking cinema so independent it could only be found in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley.

DIRTY BEAUTIFUL and SLINGSHOT took home the top Narrative and Documentary Jury Awards, respectively, while FRUITCAKE and NUMBER 2: I AM MARILYN tied for the juried short film.  Additional short film Audience Award winners included: DOG BOWL, PRETTY GOOD DAY, and TOM IN AMERICA.

Feature – DIRTY BEAUTIFUL (Tim Bartell)
Documentary  - SLINGSHOT (Paul Lazarus)
Short – FRUITCAKE (Sarah Baker and Seth Sherwood)
Tied with – NUMBER 2: I AM MARILYN (JC Falcon)

DOG BOWL (Gordy Hoffman)
PRETTY GOOD DAY (Beth Einhorn)
TOM IN AMERICA (Flavio Alves)

The 5-day festival, which ran October 21-25 at Laemmle NoHo7, opened with a special screening of FORBIDDEN ZONE (Richard Elfman), complete with pre-show, and screened 40 of today’s most provocative films from 9 countries, including Afghanistan, Italy, and Serbia to name a few.

With a mission further the education, production, and distribution of filmmaking in The Valley, VFF continues to promote local independent production with over eighteen films made by Angelenos, Vals, and shot in or about the glamorous San Fernando Valley this year. Local films with LA premieres included BONED, THE WRISTWATCH, FRUITCAKE, MARILYN & I, and PRETTY GOOD DAY.

Founded in 2000, The Valley Film Festival, a non-profit project of Community Partners ®, is the first and longest continually running film festival in the San Fernando Valley. VFF has screened over 500 shorts, features, documentaries, animated films, experimental works, and music videos from around the world. While emphasizing independent film, the festival also screens studio productions, including BOOGIE NIGHTS, CHINATOWN, ENCINO MAN, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, MAGNOLIA, TERMINATOR 2, VALLEY GIRL, and WORLD TRADE CENTER.  In addition to screenings, the Festival provides educational panels and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Looking ahead, The Valley Film Festival will begin accepting submissions for VFF16 in January. More information available at ValleyFilmFest.com

Thursday, October 8, 2015

VFF15 - Meet our Female Filmmakers

Other than VFF's "Girls on Film" shorts program, The Valley Film Festival does not seek out, or exclude, films made by one gender over another. While we'd love nothing more than to say that 50%* of our programming is from women, it is not. That being said, we are extremely proud of the women** behind some of the VFF15 films and want to take this opportunity to recognize their diverse voices:

7 DAYS IN SYRIA (Documentary/75mins/2015/USA & Syria)
Janine di Giovanni (Producer)

In the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, Newsweek Middle East editor, Janine di Giovanni, risks it all to bear witness, ensuring that the world knows about the suffering of the Syrian people.

THE AFTER PARTY (Dramatic Comedy/8mins/2014/USA)
Sue Gillan (Director)

A solid, long-term marriage takes a turn for the tense when a wife finds her husband suddenly hiding his online activities. Navigating these uncharted waters, this couple employs the tools that have always served them best - straight talk and a sense of humor. At once deeply relatable and completely surprising, The After Party gives a whole new meaning to the words 'what would I ever do without you?'

ALL IN TIME (Drama/98mins/2014/USA)
Marina Donahue (Co-Director)

Charlie quits his job In New York to follow his dream of managing his favorite rock and roll band.

BONED (Comedy/85mins/2015/USA)
Laura Lee Bahr (Director)

A struggling actress must play the role of a detective in order to save an adorable Maltese puppy from a murderous group of Goth thugs, a Devilish Dominatrix, and a handsome, lying doctor.

THE CO-STAR (Comedy/14mins/2013/USA)
Jeanne Taylor (Producer)

A hilarious insight about auditioning for one-line parts in Hollywood.

A CRAIGSLIST EXORCISM (Comedy/14mins/2014/USA)
Sarah Taylor (Producer)

A short film about what happens when you hire an exorcist off Craigslist.

HANKY PANKY (Comedy/8mins/2014/USA)
Lindsey Haun (Director)

A blind date between an autistic napkin expert and a free-spirited Bohemian goes surprisingly well thanks to the efforts of two eccentric napkins.

THE FALLEN PHOENIX (Animation/6mins/2015/USA)
Gwen Barriac and Heather Larkin (Directors/Animators)

An established composer struggles to write a masterpiece that pleases both himself and his sponsor. Ultimately, he realizes he must choose between staying true to his art or pleasing those around him.

FRUITCAKE (Drama/13mins/2015/USA)
Sarah Baker Grillo (Co-Director)

Set in peaceful suburbia during the early 1950′s, Fruitcake tells the story of Rosemary and Sallie. Battling inner urges and mysterious longings, and pressured from every angle to live up to an imaginary ideal of perfection, these women might be swayed to take any course of action

IT'S A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION (Documentary/11mins/2013/Serbia)
Jelena Zlatkovic Velickovic (Director)

Costume Designer, Jelena Zlatkovic Velickovic, provides an inside look celebrating her designs, from conception to the runway.

NUMBER 2: IF I WERE MARILYN (Comedy/15mins/2015/Spain)
SofĂ­a Pedroche (Producer)

Clari is going out tonight and she's on a mission: Her girlfriend is about to stand up a guy she met on the internet and Clari has every intention of hooking up with him. They'll spend the night together and he'll want to see her again, he could very well be the man of her dreams and the envy of her friends. Too good to be true and for Clari not to spoil it.

MY SARDASHT (Documentary/3mins/2014/Iran)
Ziba Arzhang (Director/Animator)

Through carpet weaving, Kajal shares the story of losing her family during the chemical bombings on Iran.

OUR FATHER (Drama/22mins/2014/USA)
Linda Palmer (Director)

An estranged father suffering from late stage dementia, in a fleeting moment, reveals to his son secrets that begin to heal a broken family. Featuring Michael Gross (Family Ties) and Michael Worth (God's Ears).

PIG (Animation/2mins/2014/USA)
Amelia Giller (Director/Animator)

A naked pig-woman goes on an outing in order to feel better about herself.

PRETTY GOOD DAY (TV Pilot/Comedy/13mins/2015/USA)
Beth Einhorn (Director)

Classically trained violinist Chris Woods moves to Hollywood to pursue his true passion - Stand Up Comedy. Along the way, Chris struggles with the question of fame and what you have to give up to make it in Hollywood.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM (Drama/11mins/2014/USA)
Pamela St. Jean (Producer)

In the early 90's--when music was shared hand-to-hand--Jerry shows up at Liz's doorstep after disappearing with her prized collection of Bob Dylan bootlegs.

TEXTING: A LOVE STORY (Comedy/8mins/2014/USA)
Jeannette L. Buck (Director)

A short, awkward romantic comedy about love, intimacy, and connection in the digital age.

WINGS (Animation/5mins/2014/Israel)
Keren Rijensky (Director/Animator)

A young girl is sexual assaulted in her room. The attacker is represented as typography, while the girl tries to escape using her imagination.

*40% isn't something to brag about, but we're still proud!  
**If we missed a key player, please let us know. We'll happily add her name to the list. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The 15th Annual Valley Film Festival Announces Film Line-Up


North Hollywood, California – The fifteenth annual Valley Film Festival (VFF) announces its complete line-up and Opening Night screening.  VFF returns in full force with a five-day festival showcasing 40 of the best independent films, from the (818) and from around the world, October 21-25 at Laemmle NoHo7 in the NoHo Arts District. Tickets are $12 and available at ValleyFilmFest.com.

The Festival kicks off Opening Night, Wednesday, October 21, with a special screening of  FORBIDDEN ZONE – in color! Referred to as the Citizen Kane of underground movies, a French girl falls into an insane underworld ruled by a horny little king and his jealous queen. This cult classic stars Susan Tyrrell, Herve Villechaise, Danny Elfman, Matthew Bright, and Marie-Pascale Elfman. The soundtrack features music by Danny Elfman, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker and others.  Preceded by a fun, live pre-show with Richard Elfman, this screening is a tribute to Producer, Jack F. Murphy, who served on VFF’s Advisory Board from 2008 until his passing in 2014.

Other celebrity-driven films include TOM IN AMERICA, with Academy Award® nominees Sally Kirkland (JFK) and Burt Young (Rocky), OUR FATHER (Michael Gross, Family Ties), MARIYLN AND I (Ray Anthony, legendary trumpeter) ALL INTIME (Lynn Cohen, Sex and the City) PRETTY GOOD DAY (Chris Woods, comedian/violinist, Abby Elliott, Saturday Night Live and Marion Ross, Happy Days), I’LL TEXT YOU (Victor Williams, The King of Queens), BONED (Bai Ling, The Crow) and FRENCH KISS (Tyler Ritter, The McCarthy’s).

The Festival continues to proudly support local independent production, with twenty films made by Angelenos, Vals, and shot in or about the glamorous San Fernando Valley. THEWRISTWATCH, a drama directed by Gino Gaetano, uses Woodland Hills as the backdrop to transform the lives of four people who come in contact with a supernatural wristwatch.  Other local features include DIRTY BEAUTIFUL, a dysfunctional love story, and our closing night feature, ACTOR FOR HIRE, a comedy about a bald actor in Hollywood who discovers the power of persona in the form of a cheap wig. 

VFF continues to program diverse films from around the country and the world. This year’s programs include films from New Jersey to Ohio and Spain to Serbia.

7 DAYS IN SYRIA kicks off our documentary programming and follows Newsweek Middle East Editor, Janine di Giovanni, who risks it all to ensure the world knows about the suffering of the Syrian people. While CONGOBEAT THE DRUM takes us on an adventure, to catch-up with forgotten Reggae artists of the 70s & 80s, SLINGSHOT takes us into the world of Segway inventor, Dean Kamen, and his work to solve the world’s water crisis.

LA Premieres include the feature films: Boned, Congo Beat the Drum, It Plays Like Love, and The Wristwatch. Short films making their LA debut are: As it is in Heaven; A Divinely Twisted Comedy, Blue-Eyed Me, Californication, Fruitcake, It’s a Journey, Not a Destination, Number 2: If I Were Marilyn, Omid, Marilyn and I, My Sardasht, Pretty Good Day, and Wings


Founded in 2000, The Valley Film Festival, a project of Community Partners®, is the first and longest continually running film festival in the San Fernando Valley.  With a mission to join established and emerging talent with adventurous audiences in Los Angeles, VFF screens shorts, features, documentaries, animated films, experimental works, and music videos from around the world.  While emphasizing independent film, the festival also has screened studio productions including BOOGIE NIGHTS, CHINATOWN, ENCINO MAN, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, MAGNOLIA, TERMINATOR 2, VALLEY GIRL, and WORLD TRADE CENTER.

In addition to screenings, the festival provides educational panels, social mixers, audience awards, and the juried "Ten Degrees Hotter" award.

THE VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 2015 will open on Wednesday, October 21 and continue through Sunday, October 25 with daily screenings at the LAEMMLE NOHO 7, located at 5240 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets are $12. For more information and tickets, visit ValleyFilmFest.com.



8:00 pm - Opening Night Feature: Forbidden Zone – in Color! Includes Fun, Live Pre-Show with Richard Elfman

THURSDAY – 10/22
8:00 pm - Girls on Film Shorts Program: It’s a Journey, Not a Destination, Our Father, Pig, Pretty Good Day, Texting: A Love Story, and Wings

FRIDAY – 10/23
7:30pm – “Made in the (818)” and Alumni Shorts Program: Attraction, The Co-Star, Cocaine vs. Corn 4 Gold Malt Liquor, A Craigslist Exorcism, Did You Hear the One About…, Dog Bowl, and The One and Only Eddie Duke
9:00 pm - Feature Program: Boned with Number 2: If I Were Marilyn
SATURDAY – 10/24
12:00 pm/noon – Documentary Program: 7 Days in Syria with My Sardasht and Omid.
2:00 pm – Feature Program: The Wristwatch with As it is in Heaven: A Divinely Twisted Comedy
4:00 pm – Feature Program: It Plays Like Love with Dreamcatchers
6:30 pm – Feature Program: Dirty Beautiful with Mulligan’s Island
9:00 pm – Feature Program: All in Time with Shelter from the Storm

SUNDAY – 10/25
12:00 pm/noon - Documentary Program: Congo Beat the Drum with The Fallen Phoenix
2:30 pm – Documentary Program: SlingShot with Blue-Eyed Me
4:00 pm – “Love My Way” Shorts Program: The After Party, Californication, French Kiss, Hanky Panky, I’ll Text You, Marilyn and I, and Tom in America
6:00pm – Closing Night Program: Actor for Hire with Fruitcake

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

VFF15 - Announcing Our Feature Film Selections

For more than six months, 30 volunteers watched and reviewed over 1000 submissions, in addition to our 2014 shortlist, to dig out the cinema treasures that best represent the spirit and mission of The Valley Film Festival. It's been a long road and a journey we're very happy to finally share with you:

(Listed in Alphabetical Order)

7 DAYS IN SYRIA (Documentary/75 mins/2015/USA & Syria) 
Directed by Robert Rippberger
A documentary feature unlike any other as Newsweek Middle East editor, Janine di Giovanni, risks it all to show us the human side of war.

ACTOR FOR HIRE (Comedy/90 mins/2015/USA)
Directed by Marcus Mizelle
Being a bald, out of work actor and desperate to be seen, Jesse discovers the power of persona in the form of a cheap wig. Wearing a part to play the part can be hairy business in this industry satire where status, celebrity, and friendship are all on the line. 

ALL IN TIME (Dramatic Comedy/97 mins/2014/USA)
Directed by Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue
Charlie quits his job in New York to move home to Pennsylvania to manage his favorite hometown rock band, firmly believing the band’s glory days are ahead of them. His supportive girlfriend shares his love for the band, but the band’s guitarist, who has experienced the harsh reality of the music business, doesn’t share Charlie’s wide-eyed optimism. His attitude derails Charlie’s best efforts to bring the band success and sends Charlie spiraling into an emotional, financial, and romantic tailspin. Charlie hits rock bottom when he loses both the band and his girlfriend, but gets some unexpected help from his elderly neighbor who sets him back on his path.

BONED (Comedy/84 mins/2015/USA)
Directed by Laura Lee Bahr
A struggling actress must play the role of a detective in order to save an adorable Maltese puppy from a murderous group of Goth thugs, a Devilish Dominatrix, and a handsome, lying doctor.

CONGO BEAT THE DRUM (Documentary/57 mins/2014/Israel)
Directed by Ariel Tagar
Two musicians from Tel Aviv travel to Jamaica to record an album with forgotten reggae artists from the past. The film follows Ariel Tagar (Kalbata) and Uri Wertheim (Mixmonster), from their basement studio in Tel Aviv, all the way to the Kingston ghettos, looking for their favourite singers of days gone by. In Jamaica, they encounter a strange, often challenging culture while trying to achieve their goal. A unique musical journey into the forgotten corners of reggae of the seventies and eighties, and a rare glimpse into the smoky, dusty world of Rub-a-Dub and its past champions.

DIRTY BEAUTIFUL (Dramatic Comedy/95 mins/2015/USA)
Directed by Tim Bartell
A lonely artist brings a young, drifter woman back to his tiny apartment to live with him. Between his obsessive tendencies and her non-stop drinking, something strange happens…they start to care for each other.

IT PLAYS LIKE LOVE (Dramatic Comedy/70 mins/2015/USA)
Directed by Jeremy Waltman and Adam Lucas
A theatre company unravels when its director casts his two lead actors, both working to save their broken marriage, in a self-indulgent play that makes them recreate the director's recently-failed relationship.

SLINGSHOT (Documentary/90 mins/2015/USA)

Directed by Paul Lazarus
A quirky genius with a sharp wit and a provocative worldview, Dean Kamen is our era’s Thomas Edison. He takes on the world’s grand challenges one invention at a time. Best known for his Segway Human Transporter, Kamen has reconceived kidney dialysis, engineered an electric wheelchair that can travel up stairs (the iBot), reworked the heart stent, built portable insulin pumps, founded FIRST robotics to inspire young students, and on and on. Holder of over 440 U.S. and foreign patents, Kamen devotes himself to dreaming up products that improve people’s lives. For the last 15 years, he has relentlessly pursued an effective way to clean up the world’s water supply. SlingShot focuses on Segway inventor Dean Kamen, his fascinating life, and his work to solve the world’s water crisis.

Facebook || Twitter || Trailer

THE WRISTWATCH (Drama/88mins/2015/USA)
Directed by Gino Gaetano and Devin Dilmore
Four characters lives are transformed when they come into contact with a supernatural wristwatch that reveals the light and darkness within and brings forth a higher level of consciousness.

The 2015 Valley Film Festival runs October 21-25 at Laemmle NoHo7. Full schedule and tickets available shortly.