The 5th Annual Catalina Film Festival, September 24-27, brought some of the glitter and excitement of Hollywood to Avalon, with all the glamor at the evenings’ black-tie events, and the stars and filmmakers on the red carpet. Locals enjoyed the fun at the movie screenings, the festival features 90 plus films, and the thrill of spotting a film stars around town. Hollywood stars and filmmakers enjoyed the relaxed island atmosphere without the mainland traffic and parking problems.
The festival kicked off on Thursday, with the opportunity to begin seeing films screened at various venues around Avalon, a Film and New Media Summit, an Opening Night Party at the Beach House, and a mid-night showing of Wes Craven Horror film at the Casino theatre. Lots of films, from animations to conservation, from short to feature length, and everything else in between were shown throughout the weekend. The Catalina Film Festival is a completive festival with awards in up to 10 categories, including the prestigious Ronald Regan Presidential Foundation “Great Communicator” Award, the Charlie Chaplin ICON Award, Stanley Kramer “Social Artist” Award, and the ISLA Earth Award, and honor presented by the Festival’s beneficiary, the Catalina Island Conservancy.
On Saturday, there was even a treasure hunt, for a prize package worth approximately $5,000 in prizes, that included jewelry and an Hawaiian vacation.
On Friday night the red carpet was rolled out at the Casino Theatre and the Catalina Film Festival honored and paid tribute to many of Hollywood’s actors, directors and writers. The Catalina Film Festival (CFF) honored director F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton,” “The Italian Job,” and “Friday”) with the Stanley Kramer Social Artist Award and actor Billy Zane (“Titanic,” “The Phantom,” and “Twin Peaks”) with the Maverick Award. Additional actors to walk the red carpet during Friday night’s festivities included: Bailey Noble (“True Blood,” “The Haircut,” and “Summer of 8”) Chris Mulkey (“Whiplash,” “Car Dogs,” and “Twin Peaks”).
On Saturday night, the Catalina Film Festival (CFF) honored Mena Suvari (“American Beauty,” “American Pie”) with the Avalon Award. Lucas Till (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Bravetown”) with the Crest Award. Legendary songwriter Diane Warren, who has more than 100 songs featured in motion pictures, and has worked with music superstars including Lady Gaga, Adele, Elton John, and Kelly Clarkson (to name a few) with the Inaugural Soundtrack of Our Lives Award, that honors singers, songwriters, and musicians.
“Diane Warren was the perfect choice for our inaugural Soundtrack of Our Lives award,” said Festival founder and director, Ron Truppa. “She’s one of the most prolific songwriters whose music has not only earned seven Oscar nods, it’s shaped how we experience film.”
Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) presented the 2015 Craven Award, personally selected by Wes Craven only days before his passing, to the “The Bridge Partner,” before joining the Craven family for a special tribute to the acclaimed director.
Additional filmmakers on the red carpet Saturday night included: Director Andrew Renzi (Director, “The Benefactor”) and Bailey Noble (“True Blood,” “The Haircut,” and “Summer of 8”).
On Sunday, Kristin Davis (“Sex & the City,” “Gardeners of Eden,” and “Couples Retreat”) received the Conservation Activist Award.)
On thier web page, The Catalina Film Festival states it mission: ”The Catalina film Festival is a non-profit Public Benefit Corporation comprised of industry professionals that love film and the creative process (and people) involved with making it happen. Our platform is based on education, art and entertainment, and supporting the local charities and economic stimulus of Catalina during the off-season months, Through amazing independent film screening and inspiring events, the festival presents a wide spectrum of film making; feature film, documentaries, screenplays, animation short films, horror, student work, and also focuses on a separate series of films within the festival that are dedicated to conservation (which is a category awarded along with our beneficiary, the Catalina Island Conservancy), honoring those filmmakers dedicated to nurturing their goal of protecting, restoring, and experience the power of nature all over the planet.”
CATALINA ISLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Mena Suvari, Lucas Till and Diane Warren atten the Catalina Film Festival on September 26, 2015 in Avalon, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mena Suvari; Lucas Till; Diane Warren