Film fest boosts its La Jolla screenings with move to ArcLight
If you go
■ What: San Diego Film Festival
■ When: Wednesday, Oct. 2 to Sunday, Oct. 6
• ArcLight Cinemas, Westfield UTC Mall
• Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla
• Reading Theater,downtown San Diego
■ Tickets: $14 pre-sale; $16 door
■ Passes: $60-$350
■ Contact: (619) 818-2221
■ Website: sdfilmfest.com
By Pat Sherman
Following last year’s successful run at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (MCASD) on Prospect Street, the San Diego Film Festival (SDFF) is increasing its La Jolla film screenings fourfold at ArcLight Cinemas in the UTC Westfield Mall.
Meanwhile, SDFF will return to MCASD for its toast to director-producer Judd Apatow (“Bridesmaids,” “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin,” “Pineapple Express”), during which Apatow will receive the SDFF’s 2013 Visionary Filmmaker Award (last year’s nod, also presented at MCASD, went to filmmaker Gus Van Sant).
SDFF Chair Dale Strack said festival organizers are working in concert with local business owners and restaurateurs to make the event economically beneficial for all, via a “pass-holder perks program,” where La Jolla businesses with a sign in their window will offer free menu items and other discounts to festival attendees who show their passes. (See a list of participating businesses at sdfilmfest.com)
“This is the first step to a bigger footprint in La Jolla,” Strack said. “We know that ultimately we’re going to be able to generate 10 times what we spend here (for) the community in the form of restaurants, hotels and a variety of other entertainment, as well as shopping experiences.”
Strack said several hundred filmmakers will arrive from across the country for the screenings.
“There will be plenty of Q&As that go with the films over at ArcLight,” he assured.
One of the festival’s most talked about screenings, the deliciously funny and dark drama, “August: Osage County” (starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor) screens at ArcLight, 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.
“A lot of people think that Meryl Streep will be nominated for best actress for her role,” SDFF Vice President Tonya Mantooth said.
Strack added, “It just hit Toronto (International Film Festival) and now we’re pulling it out here — that’s big for La Jolla and for San Diego in general.”
Also screening at ArcLight is “Ride with Larry,” a documentary that follows a retired police captain with Parkinson’s disease as he travels 300 miles across South Dakota to demonstrate the power of maintaining an active body and positive outlook. It screens at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5.
Attendees with a VIP pass can access a VIP Lounge, Oct. 4-6 at Seasons 52 restaurant, 4505 La Jolla Village Drive.
Elsewhere in San Diego, a weekend of screenings at Reading Theatre in the Gaslamp kicks off with the West Coast premiere of “12 Years a Slave,” 7 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 2. Produced by Brad Pitt, the 2013 historical drama is based on the autobiography of a free black man in the mid-1800s who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
“It’s getting a tremendous amount of Oscar buzz for best picture,” Mantooth said. “We will have the two producers and the screenwriter there for the Q&A.”
SDFF also will honor actress Mariel Hemingway with a humanitarian award for her role in the documentary, “Running From Crazy,” which explores her quest for a greater understanding of her family’s history of substance abuse, suicide and mental illness. Executive Produced by Oprah Winfrey, it screens 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego.
Strack said one of the larger missions of SDFF and the San Diego Film Foundation is to re-establish the San Diego Film Commission, which was formed in 1976 by former Mayor Pete Wilson and disbanded two months ago when the city’s Tourism Authority laid off its last remaining members.
“This is a very unfriendly town right now for anybody who’s producing a film in this area,” Strack said. “We are working at rebuilding some type of a film office function as soon as possible, but to do that in a smart way.
“When you think about ‘Rocky,’ I’m sure you think about Philadelphia. When you think about ‘Good Will Hunting,’ you think Boston. We’re trying to bring that back (to San Diego). Everybody who participates in this festival is really helping San Diego to draw attention to itself and build the economy.”
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