LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! The Curtain is Set for the 5th Annual Imperial Valley Film Festival and Artist Showcase


Imperial County Film CommissionThe Imperial County Film Commission is proud to announce its 5th Annual Film Festival and Artist  Showcase on October 23rd & 24th 2015 at The Imperial Palms Resort at the Barbara Worth Country Club in Holtville.

Once again, valley artists have submitted their films and artwork to show the amazing creativity that  arises here in the valley from locals to seasoned filmmakers. The festival will feature many great surprises this year including meet and greets with top producers and our featured filmmakers. The festival will open with a Q&A discussion with famed comedy producer and Hollywood editor, Mr. George Folsey, Jr. Mr. Folsey, Jr. is considered one of the most successful comedy producers and editors in Hollywood history with famous credits such as Coming to America, Blues Brothers and the infamous Animal House. Mr. Folsey also produced and edited Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video.

This year’s opening film, is the Feature Documentary, This Is Not A Club. The film, narrated by Star Trek actor Chris Pine, follows a group of high school students from all over the country as they vie for glory in the little-known world of competitive acting, otherwise known as “Speech” or “Forensics.” Over one million students have participated in the activity, which has been around for 90 years, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Josh Gad, and Zac Efron. At times brutally honest and wickedly funny, the movie brings to life the rush of live Speech competition following the National Championship, and incorporates the drama of a coming-of-age story. The film was produced and conceived by Sami Kriegstein and Erica Dasher. Ms. Dasher is scheduled to attend a Q&A after the screening.

Festival activities begin at 5pm Friday evening with the Art Gallery opening and cocktail hour in the main ballroom. You will not want to miss this first class display of local artists’ work. Q&A session with George Folsey Jr. will begin at 6:30pm followed immediately by the screening of This Is Not A Club in the main ballroom.

Don’t forget the education workshops! They will be hosted throughout Friday & Saturday, October 23 & 24. Offerings include Movie Makeup (details pending); Color Correction for Video, taught by Jason Durdon of Continuum Motion Pictures; A Virtual Reality Introduction by Festival co-founder and valley native Raul Celaya; Two special Acting workshops, the first by Breaking Bad co-star Max Arciniega, the second by Steven Nelson, co-star of We Were Soldiers. Spaces are limited and you must be registered in order to attend. For additional details and registration information, please visit the festival’s website. You do not want to miss these!

Film Competition screenings begin at 10:30am Saturday, October 24, in the main ballroom. There are 20 films screening in competition, so come and show your support! Please keep in mind that not all films are appropriate for all audiences. Entries range from short films and music videos, to documentaries and a feature length film. The Art Galley is open all through the festival dates.

There will also be special screenings throughout the day and discussions with industry professionals. Mr. Michael Lannan, creator and Executive Producer of the HBO series Looking, will be screening an episode of this program. Over the last 15 years he’s worked in both indie film and studio production, including series television and film. He began his entertainment career in the mailroom at a talent agency and later  worked with director Allen Coulter (Sopranos, Sex & the City) on such projects as Sons of Anarchy, Damages, and Rubicon. He’s currently producing and co-writing the Looking finale special for HBO and developing other series and feature film projects that include Latino and LGBT themes.

Mr. Jorge Diaz will be screening the trailer for his upcoming feature The 33 in which he has a supporting role in. Born and raised in Los Angeles, while still in high school, Jorge began making small appearances in Spanish Soap Operas. He then began making appearances on several television series, including Boston Public, The Brothers Garcia, True Blood, and The Secret Life of an American Teenager. The 33, is scheduled for a wide-theatrical release by Warner Bros, on November 13th .

Imperial Valley resident, Mr.Bret Kofford will be screening a short film, Margaret. Margaret was written by Kofford and directed and produced by Manan Singh Katohara. Margaret, which was shot in Maryland earlier this year, was an official selection of both the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Norcross, Ga., and the Atlanta Underground Film Festival, both of which took place earlier this month.

Saturday evening, and to close the festivities there will be a very special screening of two award winning short films from Wama Films, The Walk and Crescendo. The Walk, stars and is produced by Max Arciniega and Directed by Alonso Alvarez. The film is set in the harshness of the Arizona desert, where a Mexican father and his son are faced with a major crisis of conscience as they try to cross the border illegally. This film was selected as the finalist of HBO shorts program and competition, and aired on HBO. The Walk has premiered in Festivals all over the world and continues to accrue awards and praises. Alonso Alvarez also won the 2014 NBC Universal Best Director Competition. These two films embody the beauty, impact and value that short film represents. A Q&A session with the filmmakers will immediately follow. The Festival will conclude with an Awards Ceremony at 9pm, immediately followed by an after party for filmmakers  and festival attendees.

Passes for the Festival are now on sale and may be purchased at the Calexico, El Centro, Imperial and Brawley Chambers of Commerce or at the door on the day of the festival. Festival passes are $30 for an  All Access Pass. Student passes, with valid student ID, are $15.

For up-to-date information regarding all screening and event activities, please see the festival website at