By Dave Schwab
Thanks to the joint efforts of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association and the San Diego Film Festival, La Jolla will share in hosting the September 26-30 event, which will be headlined by Hollywood director Gus Van Sant.
Festival representatives Kevin Leap and Dale Strack told the merchant’s group at its April 11 meeting that Van Sant, twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director (“Good Will Hunting” and “Milk,”) will be coming to San Diego and La Jolla for the 11th annual film festival.
“Van Sant has never done a film festival anywhere else in the nation; this will be the first time,” Leap said, after the meeting. “One thing that was really appealing to him was the La Jolla facet. It’s one of the reasons he’s coming.”
The film fest will be held partly downtown in San Diego’s Gaslamp District and partly in La Jolla at the Sherwood Auditorium in the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Leap said they’ve been in discussions to bring Van Sant here since January. and the LJVMA “has been really helpful and excited about doing everything it can to help us make it happen.”
Leap said Van Sant’s appearance will be a big step forward in promoting San Diego to the film industry. “San Diego’s always been known as Hollywood South,” he said. “It’s something for us to build an international presence with. Gus makes that statement. We want San Diego to become a primary presence in filmmaking in the area.”
In other action:
• Haute La Jolla Nights: The LJVMA board approved spending $9,600 to host a series of four Saturday night promotional events to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. June 9, July 28, Sept. 15 and Nov. 3.
“Each will be a fun, festive evening of arts, shopping and music,” said event spokesman Julie Matibag, noting Village merchants will be recruited on all four dates “to do something special out in front or inside their stores.” Matibag said the objective is to drive foot traffic into the Village and create a “buzz” about what can be found here.
• Associate Memberships: The board voted to form a committee to explore creating associate memberships that would allow businesses outside the boundaries of the LJVMA Business Improvement District (BID) to apply for membership and join the group on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s not a drive for getting money, it’s a drive to get the right sort of businesses included in our organization that benefits the Village of La Jolla,” said president Phil Coller. “That’s what we’re about.”