Thursday, August 12, 2010

Countdown to VFF10...T-Minus 100 Days (sort of)

Trying to find content that doesn't consist of Top 10 lists for our blog is hard. One approach we're taking is to revisit past participants and find out what filmmakers are up to now. Another idea we have is to document the countdown to our 10th showcase of independent cinema, hence the blog title, "Countdown to VFF10". And, if needed, we have some Top 10 lists we can fall back on.

We meant to publish this post on August 4th, when it really would've been T-Minus 100 Days, but we were caught in the midst of festival issues and, so, here we are one week later. Festival operations are exactly what we'll be blogging about here -- the ups and downs, the frustrations, the victories, the amazing short film from a country nobody knew existed, the film that would've been amazing if the sound wasn't effed up, our sponsors, our volunteer staff, and more. You get the point.

Jumping right into it, one thing we didn't anticipate this year was having to find a new venue. Or, in our case, a second venue. This was an issue we faced our first and second year, and since then, we've been extremely blessed to call the historic El Portal Theatre in the NoHo Arts District our permanent home. It still is. However, thanks to live entertainment thriving in NoHo, the El Portal didn't have five consecutive days to house us. In fact, four days wasn't even possible! We took what was available -- three days in the middle of the week -- and then realized that we would never be able to load in, set up, produce the event, break down, and load out in three days, and break even. 

So, in early June we started to look around for a second venue in the NoHo Arts District that we could easily transition in and out of alongside our dates at the El Portal. Sadly, for us, theater is alive & kicking in NoHo and space couldn't be found. A number of people suggested that we follow the lead of many festivals and head to Downtown L.A. We wouldn't think of it! We're not called The Valley Film Festival for nothing. Our roots are in the (818) and we're staying put. We also looked into making it a "traveling" festival this year, with stops in Canoga Park, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, etc. Logistically, it would've been a nightmare. But we like the idea and may turn our monthly Focus On: events into traveling showcases. After six weeks of contacting every live theater space, every movie theater, every film lab, our spirits were down and hope was almost lost.

Then, at the end of July, thanks to the power of Google, and one helpful mother, CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks was discovered. The festival producers went in first to check out the space. It's not a traditional screening room and has more of a cabaret or 1960's coffee house vibe to it. And, with only 150 seats, it accommodates a lot less people. But the bohemian feel, small bonus rooms, and an outdoor patio got the stamp of approval. Not to mention, the crew at CAP are awesome! Next, the tech staff came in to check out the screen, projection equipment (HD!), and sound. There were some minor issues that were worked out and tech gave its nod to move forward. This week, we've been going back and forth with the contract. But, we're happy to report, all is well on both the El Portal and CAP front, and we're looking forward to being in both spaces!

Anyway, we're counting down to our 10th year. It's a big deal! In a year where a number of film festivals have taken a hiatus, we're celebrating.We hope you'll join us November 11-14 in the (818)! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010
El Portal Theatre: 5269 Lankershim Blvd *NoHo Arts District

Friday, November 12-Sunday, November 14, 2010
CAP Theatre: 13752 Ventura Blvd.*Sherman Oaks

1 comment:

Sahag said...

Looks like it's shaping up to be a great year!