Saturday, November 22, 2014

Remembering a Valley Icon...Michael Hutchence

On this day in 1997, the world lost a magnetic entertainer. Before the Farriss brother, the string of hits (Never Tear Us Apart, I Need You Tonight, Devil Inside) and long before life got complicated, Michael Hutchence, lead singer of iconic 80s Australian band, INXS, called Studio City home and found his voice while attending North Hollywood High School. 

A portion of Michael's cremains are buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, across from the Warner Bros. Studio lot. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

8 Locations - 1 Glamorous Valley - 8 Totally Awesome Films! Movie Trivia From The (818)

As we all know, today's Valley Film Festival competitors are tomorrow's top Hollywood talent. In that spirit, here are a few not so well known facts about some top Hollywood films that were shot in (you guessed it), the 818.

1. 40 Year Old Virgin
The home of Andy Stitzer is located at 12012 Moorpark, just east of Laurel Canyon, in Studio City. (Andy no longer lives there, so please do not disturb the current occupants.)

2. Magnolia 
Named for the iconic boulevard that now defines North Hollywood, William H Macy declares his love for Brad the Barman at The Foxfire Room in Valley Village. 

3. Back to the Future  
Did you know that in the battle of the bands scene was filmed in the Burbank Community Center? In this Universal Studios classic (the whole trilogy was shot in the Valley), when Marty introduces The Pinheads, Huey Lewis actually plays the second judge from the left, and is the one who eventually says, "You're just too darn loud."

4. American Beauty
The Canoga Park branch of Carl’s Jr, 20105 Saticoy Street, at Winnetka Avenue, was transformed into ‘Mr Smiley’, where Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) gets a job serving up burgers – “I think you’ll remember me this time!” Fun Fact: Kevin Spacey graduated from Chatsworth High School, just a few miles north of Canoga Park. 

5. Superbad
Young genius? Depending on your opinion of the movie, but either way, Seth Rogen wrote the initial draft of the script when he was just 13, along with co-writer Evan Goldberg. Neither attend CSUN, in Northridge, where most of the film was shot. 

6. Boogie Nights
The Valley itself is the star of the film. Shot from Encino to Reseda to Van Nuys, and all points in between, this film is Paul Thomas Anderson’s homage to the porn industry. Yes, it's true, The Valley was the pioneering region for adult film production in the 1970s and grew to become home to a multi-billion dollar industry. According to the HBO series Pornucopia, at one time, nearly 90% of all legally distributed pornographic films made in the United States were filmed in or produced by studios based in the San Fernando Valley. You can find Vivid Entertainment, in the Cahuenga Pass, in Universal City. 

7. The Karate Kid
Produced by Columbia Pictures and Jerry Weintraub, this film was shot almost entirely on location in the San Fernando Valley. The film is set in a time when Asian immigration was dramatically changing the neighborhoods of LA (the Asian-American population in the US grew 70 percent in the 1980's). By making the hero of the Mr. Miyagi, a World War II veteran of Japanese descent who'd fought for the United States in the most decorated unit in the Army,  it suggests this influx could be a good thing for Los Angeles, that these newer Americans were every bit as patriotic as those who'd been here for generations.

8. It's a Wonderful Life
The town of Bedford Falls is actually Encino! When RKO sold their ranch in the 1950s, what was left of the Bailey's was subdivided into suburban homes. On the bright side, Balboa Park came out of the bulldozing. So, pack yourself a picnic and search for Zuzu's petals.

Contributed by Georgia Menides

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Schedule Announcement for the 14th Annual Valley Film Festival


North Hollywood, CA - The Valley Film Festival (VFF) announces another thought provoking and entertaining lineup of cinema so independent it has to be in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, from December 10-14, at Laemmle's NoHo 7.

Providing quality independent domestic and international cinema, VFF also is the premiere showcase for Valley-based filmmakers. Altogether, the fourteenth annual Valley Film Festival provides audiences with the opportunity to discover 45 of today's most compelling films, such as FLYBOY, the newest short film produced by Academy Award Nominee Drew Bailey (MIRACLE FISH, 2009). The complete list of films with ticketing info is available at

The Opening Night program brings director John Putch back to VFF, with the only Los Angeles festival screening of ROUTE 30 THREE!  This final chapter of the comedic trilogy set in rural South Central Pennsylvania features David CowgillNathalie Boltt, and Dan Poole. Known for his work on "Cougar Town," "Scrubs" and "Ugly Betty," John Putch previously screened BACHELORMAN (2003), MOJAVE PHONE BOOTH (2006), ROUTE 30 (2008) and ROUTE 30, TOO (2012) at The Valley Film Festival. 


VFF continues to program diverse films from around the country and the world.  This year's features include films from Canada and Austria, and our shorts are in languages including Arabic, Catalan, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Tamil.

We also continue to proudly support local independent production, with over fifteen films made by Angelenos, Vals, and shot in or about the glamorous San Fernando Valley.  Our Centerpiece Screening, YOU OR A LOVED ONE, is a dramedy directed by Matt Mercer that follows a reclusive illustrator as he navigates withdrawal effects from a pharmaceutical drug trial and is thrust back into daily life, and love, in Los Angeles.

Another local production is our Closing Night film, ODD BRODSKY, a quirky comedy about following your dreams, directed by Cindy Baer.  It tells the story of Audrey Brodsky, who quits her office job of eleven years to pursue her dream of acting. There's just one problem: she's not very good at it.  When Audrey meets an aspiring cameraman online, the adventure of her life finally begins.  Cindy Baer previously screened MORBID CURIOSITY (2006), STALKED (2011), and SEYMOUR SALLY RUFUS (2012) at VFF.

Our documentary features this year include some more films made in or about Los Angeles:  GONE SOUTH: HOW CANADA INVENTED HOLLYWOOD (LA premiere) and SING YOUR OWN SONG: AN OPERA LOVE STORY (NoHo premiere).  THE GREEN GIRL, made by VFF alum George Pappy, is an in-depth look at Star Trek icon and prolific actress Susan Oliver.

Our feature films this year also include two West Coast premieres:  the sci-fi musical comedy RIPPED and the drama LA VIE NOUS APPARTIENT (MAYBE TOMORROW).

About three dozen short films round out our 2014 program, including dramas, comedies, documentaries, animated works, and music videos.  Two are world premieres:  INSIDE THE WHALE and ANY OTHER FRIDAY, both playing on our dramatic shorts program.  Our U.S. premieres are the thriller COLLECT and the dramas SOMETHING FOR NOTHING and UN CHIEN DE MA CHIENNE (PAYBACK IS A BITCH).


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, the 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 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, opportunities for young filmmakers, audience awards, and the juried "Ten Degrees Hotter" award for one feature and one short chosen from the competitive section.

THE VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 2014 will open on Wednesday, December 10 and continue through Sunday, December 14 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



8:00 pm - Opening Night Feature: Route 30 Three!

THURSDAY - 12/11
8:00 pm - Girls on Film Shorts Program (Abashed, Lifever, Malakim, Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution, Peluqueria/The Hair Salon, Traces of Memory, Zero Sight: Bad Call, and Zugzwang)

FRIDAY - 12/12
7:00 pm - Documentary Program: Sing Your Own Song: An Opera Love Story with The Man Who Fed His Shadow
9:30 pm - Feature Program: Ripped with Hang Me On The Line and Now You Know

SATURDAY - 12/13
12:00 pm/noon - Dramatic Shorts Program (Any Other Friday, Baghdad Messi, Butterfly Dreams, Collect, and Inside the Whale)
2:30 pm - Documentary Program: Gone South: How Canada Invented Hollywood with The Gunfighter
5:00 pm - Reality Bites Shorts Program (Dummies, En Mi Recuerdo Siempre Estaras/You'll Always Be on My Mind, Le Maillot De Bain/The Swimming Trunks, Love at First Sight, Narcissist, Self Offense, and Winds & Strings)
7:30 pm - Centerpiece Screening: You or a Loved One with Untitled
10:00 pm - Flights of Fantasy Shorts Program (Flyboy, Kiko's Paradise, Look Up in the Sky: Cetus Dawn, The Pradys, Something for Nothing, Spidora, Toca Pra Diabo/A Hell of a Player, Un Chien de Ma Chienne/Payback is a Bitch, and Voluntario/Volunteer)

SUNDAY - 12/14
12:00 pm/noon - Documentary Program: The Green Girl with Cargols!/Snails!
2:30 pm - Feature Program: La Vie Nous Appartient/Maybe Tomorrow with Life is Sweet
5:00 pm - Closing Night Feature: Odd Brodsky with The Co-Star: Master Acting Class

Monday, October 27, 2014

Announcing Our Program for 2014

We’re proud to announce our program for the fourteenth annual Valley Film Festival, which will take place December 10-14.   

The opening night feature will be the West Coast premiere of Route 30 Three!, a romantic comedy written, directed, and produced by John Putch.  Our closing night feature will be Odd Brodsky, a comedy directed and co-written by Cindy Baer.  In between, we’ll have over forty independent shorts and features, in diverse genres, produced locally and internationally.  See our Program page for the full schedule and advance tickets.

Screenings will be at the Laemmle NoHo 7, an all digital, state of the art facility in North Hollywood (5240 Lankershim Blvd.).  Stay tuned for more info.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Valley Film Festival Announces 2014 Shortlist

We want to thank all the filmmakers who submitted their work to VFF14. Over the last several months, our screeners - located all over the world (er, maybe just all over the US and UK) - watched films from all over the world. There was not a bad film in the entire bunch! We're especially excited to release our shortlist, something we've never done, because the following group of films made the screening groups react. We laughed, we cried, we cheered on, and more.

While we further narrow the films down to the final selections (approx 10 features & 50 shorts) we encourage everyone to explore the titles below. (We'll continue to update film links as they come in, so check back.)



*Updated on 10/1 to correct typos to titles & add those erroneously left out*