Sunday, November 30, 2014

Countdown to VFF14...Shorts Film Selections From The EU

As much as we love films made locally, The Valley Film Festival has a serious soft spot for films from abroad.  Thanks to WAB alternatives - FilmFreeway, ClickForFestivals, and FestHome - our submissions from afar outnumbered domestic films this year. We encourage you to check out the VFF14 shortlist and browse through the films we're supporting in spirit, as well as click through the films that made the final cut.  You can see these and more December 10-14, 2014 at Laemmle NoHo7.  


BAGHDAD MESSI* (16 min/Drama) - Directed by Sahim Omar-Kalifa
Screens in the Dramatic Shorts Program - 12/13 at 12:00pm
Iraq 2009. Ten-year-old Hamoudi has only one leg, but is totally obsessed with football. He and his friends - like the rest of the world - are looking forward to the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester (Messi versus Ronaldo). But then Hamoudi’s television breaks down!
*Shortlisted for a Best Live Action Short Film Oscar. Final nominees announced in January 2015.

MALAKIM (12 min/Drama) - Directed by Frederike Migom
Screens in "Girls on Film Shorts Program - 12/11 at 8:00pm
Tom, a lonely 11 year old, bumps into a living statue on the street. Despite Tom’s multiple efforts to make the statue move, the angel remains still. Tom, angry and desperate for attention, challenges him.


Directed by Jonathan Hazan
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 5:00pm
On holiday on a campsite by the seaside, Remy, 10, is fascinated by Stephan, 35, the father of one of his playmates. This is a new, confusing feeling for him. Nobody knows what he is going through especially not handsome Stephan.

LIFEVER (14 min/Science Fiction) - Directed by Ted Hardy-Carnac
Screens in "Girls on Film" Shorts Program - 12/11 at 8:00pm
16 year-old Karine chats with her father, every night, via phone or web cam. After Karine's mother reveals their financial situation is dire, the future of the family is in question. Mixing social drama and science fiction, the movie dives into the day-to-day life of an almost normal family.

(12 min/Comedy) - Directed by Fabien Gorgeart
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 10:00pm
Anna and Marie turn up in the village where their friend Joannie lives alone an endless pregnancy. Their reunion is disrupted by Tony, the presumed father, who threatens to take Joannie by force to the hospital so that they can start the delivery.


Directed by Mario Garefo
Screens before SING YOUR OWN SONG: AN OPERA LOVE STORY - 12/12 at 7:00pm
A man intrudes into rich people’s dinners claiming that he can collect the food from their table and feed his shadow which, curiously enough, is a female figure.


HANG ME ON THE LINE (3 min/Music Video)
Produced by Lumaca Film
Screens before RIPPED - 12/12 at 9:30pm
Jon Kenzie is an independent song writer from Manchester, UK. HANG ME ON THE LINE is a music video produced by Lumaca Films. Barcelona-based puppet company Trukitrek co-produced.


CARGOLIS!/SNAILS! (17 min/Comedy) - Directed by Geoffrey Cowper
Screens before THE GREEN GIRL - 12/14 at 12:00pm
Joey sees his ex-girlfriend there at a music festival and decides to tell her he still loves her, but a giant snail interrupts them! Joey will have to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his life back.

DUMMIES (7 min/Animation) - Produced by Daniel P. Alava
Screens in "Reality Bites" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 5:00pm
A dummy watches the days go by from his little shop, bored. But with the opening of a new store next to his, his life will change forever.

KIKO'S PARADISE (9 min/Animation) - Produced by Lluna Films
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 10:00pm
Kiko is a "magician" who brings beautiful teddy bear dolls to life with a pencil. Kiko's plane crashes while touring the world with his bears and he remains trapped on an island for twenty years with only one surviving doll: Boro. If he could only find his magic pencil, he could end their loneliness.

Directed by Javier Marco
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 10:00pm
Jaime wants to move to Hollywood, but his parents want him to go a bit farther.


LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (14 min/Dramedy) - Directed by Mark Playne
Screens in "Reality Bites" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 5:00pm
A Shy Lonely Young Man (SLYM played by Shane Zaza) arrives in a new country, in a strange new town. His world is suddenly lit up when he spots his beautiful neighbor (Francesca Binefa) on the balcony opposite his new room. He tries desperately to be noticed yet she remains stubbornly oblivious to his infatuation. SLYM is not giving up though and he has one more idea to catch her attention and win her heart…

Directed by Andrew Brand
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 10:00pm
What happens when there's nothing to steal?

Countdown to VFF14..."Made in the (818)" Short Films

From A to Z, here are the short films in the 14th Annual Valley Film Festival that were either shot in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley or whose key crew (Director/Producer/Writer) calls the (818) home-sweet-home. 

17 min/Dark Comedy - Written & Produced by Michele Karpel
Screens in "Girls on Film" Shorts Program - 12/11 at 8:00pm

ABASHED is the story of David and Brenda. A married couple of 17 years who have the opportunity on this one night to do better for themselves. To reinvent themselves. Be the David and Brenda they thought they'd be before life got a hold of them. Will they make a fresh start?

34 min/Drama - Directed by Peter Paul Basler
Screens in Dramatic Shorts Program - 12/13 at 12:00pm

A coach, once on top of his game, finds everything he holds dear slipping away. Over the course of one single day, this man who has become an institution, finds a way to comes to grips with that fact that he must leave behind his football family to solve the problems within his real family that have long been ignored.

16 min/Comedy - Written and Produced by Jeanne Taylor
Screens before ODD BRODSKY - 12/14 at 5:00pm

A hilarious insight into the Hollywood "Master" Acting Class. Follow the adventures of Cloe Floutz, an aspiring actress in Hollywood. Is the class her last stop or her first step in making her acting dreams come true?

19 min/Dramedy - Directed by Chris Valenziano
Screens before LA VIE NOUS APPARTIENT - 12/14 at 2:30pm

When Noah, a small town ice cream man with dreams of moving to New York, meets Emma, a free-spirited girl visiting for the summer, she shows him another side to both his hometown and his life as she learns the tragic truth of what Noah’s really running away from.

18 min/Drama - Directed by Eric Casaccio
Screens in "Reality Bites" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 5:00pm

An honest genuine writer discovers the painful truth of a handsome and charming, yet manipulative and toxic love interest.

13 min/Dramedy - Directed by Jax Medel
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 10:00pm

When a young man finally admits to dropping out of law school, his parents' reaction is not what he expected.

16 min/Drama - Directed by Fred Olen Ray
Screens in "Flights of Fantasy" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 10:00pm

After weeks of receiving anonymous notes and Shakespearean love sonnets, Spidora, a Side Show performer in Dr. Graves’ Museum of the Weird, finally agrees to meet her secret admirer. Encouraged by the tiny Stella, the Museum’s resident escape artist, and equally disparaged by Roxanne the fire-eater, Spidora nervously waits backstage after the show.

15 min/Drama - Directed by Jody Jaress
Screens in "Girls on Film" Shorts Program - 12/11 at 8:00pm

TRACES OF MEMORY, a psychological drama about a woman's fractured mind and what happens when she can no longer differentiate between her reality... and the truth.

14 min/Drama - Directed by Ricardo Ultreras
Screens in "Reality Bites" Shorts Program - 12/13 at 5:00pm

When Nick and Angie reunite after 10 years, they discover how reminiscing about the past will ultimately define their future.

8 min/Comedy - Directed by Liz Rizzo
Screens in "Girls on Film" Shorts Program - 12/11 at 8:00pm

Gamer girl Veronica gets real power in her hands when she steals a mysterious woman's phone during a one-night stand gone south. Now a single anonymous text message can kill anyone she wants. And she'll have to use all her first-person shooter skills when one bad call has her scouting a real professional assassin across suburban rooftops.

9 min/Dramedy - Directed by Yolanda Centeno
Screens in "Girls on Film" Shorts Program - 12/11 at 8:00pm

ZUGZWANG in German means obligation to move. Life and chess are not so different. There is a moment in life where you know you have to make a decision, but the best thing to do would be not to make any move. But... you must. We simply call this being screwed. In chess, they call it Zugzwang.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Countdown To VFF14....Featuring Our Features

VFF sifted through hundreds of feature films this year, from near and far. While we loved many, screening time was limited and cuts were made. We encourage you to browse through our shortlist to see the features we continue to support in spirit. In the here and now, check out the features we'll be screening December 10-14, 2014 at Laemmle NoHo7.

100 min/Documentary/Canada
Directed by Leslie D. Bland

Don't let the running time scare you off. Trust us when we say you'll be laughing all the way through this comedic and campy look at Canada's pop culture contributions to "Hollywood." Like, did you know Mack Sennent, founding father of Studio City, was from Quebec? VFF loved it because we could totally relate to The Valley's own pop culture contributions being overlooked.  Celebrity interviews are aplenty too, including: Howie Mandel, David Foster, Alex Trebek, Alan Thicke, Shannon Tweed, Dave Thomas, Tommy Chong, Will Sasso, Neve Campbell, Harland Williams, Monty Hall, Arthur Hiller, David Shore, Ted Kotcheff, and Erin Karpluk.

Screens Saturday, December 13 at 12:00pm. Tickets and Info.

97 min/Documentary/Los Angeles, CA
Directed by George Pappy

VFF first screened George Pappy in 2011 with his gritty drama, Few Options (currently available on Netflix and Amazon) and The Green Girl is polar opposite. Other than an appearance on Star Trek, George knew nothing else about actress Susan Oliver. Out of curiosity, he looked her up on IMDB and was astonished at her lengthy resume spanning four decades. Not only that, he discovered that she was a rock star director of celebrated TV shows such as M*A*S*H and Trapper John, M.D. during the thick of male-dominated television AND one of the first women to ever pilot a Lear Jet. A crush was born. George's fervor to share what he uncovered shines through, leaving you wanting more.

Screens Sunday, December 14 at 12:00pm. Tickets and Info. 

89 min/Drama/Austria
Directed by Alex K. Lee

At its core, La Vie Nous Appartient is a buddy road trip...if the road were the mountains of Austria and the buddies were two misunderstood young adults meeting for the first time. With a pact to end their lives, Sarah and Philip trek through the forest and share their struggles with family, depression, and personal fulfillment...y'know... life! VFF loves it for its simplicity and unique look at growing up with modern demands.   Plus, it doesn't hurt that it was produced by Angelo D'Agostino, producer of one of our favorite fest flicks, Little World.

Screens Sunday, December 14 at 2:30pm. Tickets and Info

93 min/Comedy/Los Angeles, CA
Directed by Cindy Baer

Film festival circuit "It Girl," Cindy Baer first splashed on to the screen 10 years ago with cult favorite, Purgatory House, and has honed her directing skills over the years with a series of awesome shorts, including those screened at VFF: Morbid Curiosity (VFF08),  Stalked (VFF11) and Seymour Sally Rufus (VFF12).  Odd Brodsky is Cindy's leap back into features, with a lovable cast that you're cheering on from beginning to end. We can all relate to Audrey -- the lovable loser who decides to f-it and go all-in to following her dream. OK, so her dream is being an actress and she's not that good at it. Who cares? Audrey opens herself up to limitless possibilities and that message is what we connected with.

Closing Night Film
Sunday, December 14 at 5:00pm. Tickets and Info.

100 min/Sci-Fi Musical/State College, PA
Directed by Rod Bingaman

It's the 1960s and British heartthrobs, Norman's Normans, have accidentally rocketed to a planet inhabited by women - Hormone. Using their catchy tunes to temper Queen Fallopia, the band brings peace to a neighboring planet of men and finds their way home.  VFF loved it for its ambition, attention to period detail, and the music of course! We guarantee you'll be singing along with Norman and his Normans in no time.

Screens Friday, December 12 at 9:30pm. Tickets and Info. 

94min/Romantic Comedy/Los Angeles, CA
Directed by John Putch

Our opening night feature is a no-brainer. VFF has a long history of screening micro-budget films directed by John Putch, starting in 2003 with Bachelorman, and as long as he continues to make 'em, we'll continue to screen 'em.  Route 30 Three! is the final chapter of the Route 30 trilogy (don't worry, you don't need to have seen the previous two to appreciate #3) and follows the mysterious disappearance of Rotten Egg, a camera that reveals the truth in every photo, and a man's quest to become less boring. We love Putch for his no B.S. approach to filmmaking and for treating his cast, crew, and festivals with the utmost respect. 

Take a gander at this Moviola clip featuring John Putch on the "Making of the Anti-Hollywood Movie."

Opening Night Film
Wednesday, December 10 at 8:00pm.  Tickets and Info. 

61 min/Documentary/Los Angeles, CA
Directed by Anne Davis O'Neal

Music is the tie that binds and this documentary proves you don't need a fancy opera house to sing your libretto off. While many of the subjects have been performing together for over 50 years, others are new to the art, and yet they all share the same level of loss when their venue unexpectedly closes. As the saying goes, "it's not over until the fat lady sings." (P.S., This film has serious "faccia tosta" AKA chutzpa. Bravo!)

Screens Friday, December 12 at 7:00pm. Tickets and Info. 

86 min/Drama/Los Angeles, CA
Directed by Matt Mercer

Reclusive illustrator, Parker, navigates withdrawal effects from a pharmaceutical drug trial and, after a chance meeting with Teresa, is thrust back into daily life, and love, sooner than he wished.  Using Los Angeles as a backdrop, we love this film for its authentic performances and sobering situations.

Centerpiece Screening
Saturday, December 13 at 7:30pm. Tickets and Info. 

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