Thank you Catalina Film Festival for inviting us to cover the event. All opinions are my own.
For decades, artists, filmmakers and celebrities have been making their way out to Catalina island for inspiration. Just far enough from Hollywood to clear the mind and refresh the spirit. Clear blue waters, idyllic southern Cali weather, and historic ties with the film industry have made this tiny island off the coast of Southern California, a film buff’s haven.
I took the Catalina Express ferry out of Long Beach, California to make my way out to the 2014 Catalina Film Festival. We sipped Bloody Mary’s and snacked in the Commodore lounge during our short “crossing”. A stunning view made the short trip memorable. It’s not uncommon to see whales and dolphins as you sail over to the island. We got to see both.
Avalon, the larger of two ports on the island, is a somewhat rustic port with colorful vessels and art deco buildings including the world famous round “Casino”. Pastel bungalows stand scattered on the hillside and the town square lets out along the ocean front, welcoming visitors. The charming beach town resembles a painted scene on an idyllic canvas.
The Catalina Film Festival is an annual celebration on the island that is very much looked forward to each year. Nightly entertainment and over 75 movies are showcased at this event. Live music and entertainment fill the streets.
The Catalina Film Festival is a competitive festival with awards in up to 10 categories, including the prestigious Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation “Great Communicator” Award, Charlie Chaplin ICON Award, Stanley Kramer “Social Artist” Award, and the ISLA Earth Award; an honor presented by the Festival’s beneficiary, the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Andy Garcia was honored with the Ronal Reagan Great Communicator award. I was enamored with his charm and love for his culture.
The fabulous wife and daughter to the late Stanley Kramer presented the Social Artist Award to William H Macy.
Actor/Director William H Macy spoke about his movie “Rudderless.” In this film, after Sam tragically loses his son in an all-too-familiar school shooting, he discovers a box of demo tapes and a notebook full of lyrics. The revelation of his son’s unknown talent leads the way for other discoveries as Sam explores the past, and contemplates the future.
Ryan Huang was honored with the Best Student Film Award for “The Root of Evil.”
This black-and-white silent film was set in the turbulent 1930’s and produced by a cast and crew of over 60 high school students grades 9 through 12. The movie was filmed on location in numerous historical buildings and sites all across Minnesota, from St. Paul’s Union Depot to Waseca’s Masonic Lodge.
Director Carlos Polo talked about his short film” Trato Preferente.” Paquita, an innocent and friendly old woman, is at risk to lose everything she has. and takes matters into her own hands in an encounter with her trusted banker.
Sara Seligman talked about her short film “Diego.” In a small town in Mexico, where violence is equivalent to manhood, Diego and his family live day-by-day. He struggles to fit in and prove his worth to his father because he is, by nature, a quiet and sensitive child.
Emmy Rossum was honored with the Avalon Award. She looked gorgeous on the red carpet in her beautiful blue gown. Roman Coppola was awarded the Vanguard Award.
It takes some advance planning to attend the Catalina Film festival. Now would be a perfect time to start planning for next year! For more information about the Catalina Film Festival click here.