The Valley Film Festival is adding some star power to its ninth annual celebration of filmmaking in the San Fernando Valley. Scheduled to appear at the festival taking place at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood are actress Shelley Long and members of the family of late comedian Dom DeLuise. Long appears in the comedy short “A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser,” also starring actor and voice performer Harry Shearer and James Kyson Lee, of the television series “Heroes.” DeLuise is the subject of the documentary “According to Dom” on which he had been working when he died in May. Documentaries were a popular submission for the festival, said organizer Tracey Adlai. “According to Dom” will have its Los Angeles premiere, while “Toy Tiger,” a film about Canadian boxer Art Hafey has its world premiere. Hafey and two boxers from Mexico will attend the screening. The Valley Film Festival was started as a way to give exposure to filmmakers working in the Valley area. In recent years, Adlai has added non-screening events such as panel discussions and other events that bring the film community together. Jeff Orgill hopes to gain new fans by screening his feature “Junkie Nurse” on the festival’s opening night. The story was inspired by a friend of Orgill’s who struggled with a narcotics addiction. “Since the film deals with addiction and old age, both sad, dark subjects, I wanted a comic tone to help the audience enter the world and want to stay a while,” Orgill said. “This strategy worked well.” The festival is funded through Community Partners, a not-for-profit organization, donations and out of pocket money While the recession has caused difficulties for a few other festivals to attract corporate donations, Adlai said she has not had that problem although some outside support is coming in slower than hoped. A few businesses that in the past had provided financial support are instead giving in-kind donations this year, Adlai said. “That is much appreciated and much needed,” Adlai said. The Valley Film Festival takes place Sept. 30 through Oct. 4. San Fernando Valley Van Nuys Online: Zobrist Consulting updated the website for denim clothing retailer Wrangler.com with a new look and feel, an interactive home page and e-commerce store. Visitors to the page first view a home page featuring rotating images and controllable e-spots that allow the Wrangler marketing team to create and refresh creative quickly and easily. The Zobrist team took advantage of the flexible Websphere product catalog, allowing the Wrangler team to group products in different ways to better serve, educate and entice their consumers. “Together with Wrangler and their design team, we’ve created a site that will enable Wrangler consumers to easily and enjoyably find the products they want,” explains Teresa Zobrist, president of Zobrist Consulting. “The new site helps Wrangler reach new consumers with improved search engine optimization and provide a smooth online experience with the improved shopping flow and single-page checkout.” Burbank Memorabilia: Modern interpretations of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” were offered through an online auction by Warner Bros. Consumer Products to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Also offered through the auction were interpretations of Dorothy’s iconic Ruby Slippers for modern times. In addition, seven original pieces of art from The Inspirations of Oz Fine Art Collection, comprised of one-of-a-kind interpretive works of art by esteemed artisans. The auction capped a year-long celebration of the 70th anniversary of “Oz.” Jimmy Choo, Moschino, Oscar de la Renta and Gwen Stefani were among the designers of the slippers that each had a fair market value of $10,000. Green: Elementary school students will have the opportunity to come up with solutions to local environmental problems in the Disney’s Planet Challenge. Classrooms will develop a portfolio that will be evaluated on environmental-relevance, student learning, changes in practices and attitudes, community involvement, lasting benefits to students, school and/or community and originality. National, regional and state winners will receive an array of Disney prizes including a class celebration at Disneyland for the national grand prize champion. The winning class will also have a chance to meet a Disney Channel star and the class and its winning project may be featured on the Disney Channel. “Disney’s environmental legacy is carried forward today in our ambitious environmental goals that not only focus on how we operate our businesses, but on how we inspire others to learn about the planet and take action as well,” said Tom Staggs, senior executive vice president and CFO for The Walt Disney Company. Food: The City of Burbank hosts the 6th annual Taste of Downtown Burbank on Oct. 1. It’s a not-to-be-missed around-the-world gastronomic delight, and it all happens in the beautiful outdoors setting of San Fernando Boulevard between Magnolia and Orange Grove. Proceeds from the event benefit the Burbank Community YMCA’s scholarship fund. Some of the restaurants taking part in the event include Chadaka Thai, Gourmet 88, Granville Cafe, Market City Cafe, and PF Chang’s. Track: Youbet.com has made available the beta version of a new social networking website for horse racing fans. WhoDoYouLike.com aggregates and organizes by topic thousands of horse racing conversations and Twitter each day into a single easy-to-navigate location. This real-time and user-friendly experience is designed to attract new and younger fans to horse racing, while keeping fans of all ages and experience levels worldwide connected to racing around the clock, seven days a week. Customers will shape the direction, functions and new applications on the site, said Youbet.com marketing officer Jeff Grosman. “Youbet has been a leader in online horse racing for over a decade and we are very excited about being first to market with a live community concept in the horse racing space,” Grosman said. “We believe Whodoyoulike.com will strengthen the core base of horse racing enthusiasts and potentially bring in new fans to the industry.” Groceries: Henry’s Farmers Market will offer a free bag of groceries to the first 200 people attending the grand opening of its new Burbank store on Sept. 30. Customers with identification that their first name is Henry will receive a free deli sandwich from the store at 1011 N. San Fernando Blvd. The shopping experience at Henry’s harkens back to the days of produce stands and corner butcher shops. “We’re proud to support local California area farmers, fishermen and suppliers whenever possible,” said Janet Little, the chain’s nutritionist and spokesperson. “It promotes sustainability and enables us to offer our customers the freshest and most practically-priced products available.” Henry’s also has a location in Woodland Hills. Sylmar Medical: Batteries for surgical implants earned Quallion LLC the Best of Sylmar Award from the U.S. Commerce Association. The company was honored for its exceptional work in developing the batteries known for their safety, reliability and long useable life. “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the USCA for our hard work, and this award provides encouragement as Quallion continues to improve upon its services and expertise as America’s leader in cutting edge battery manufacturing,” said company CEO Hisashi Tsukamoto. The USCA is a Washington, D.C.-based organization funded by small and medium size businesses across the United States with the goal of recognizing and promoting the best local businesses in the nation. Canoga Park Freedom: Larry Flynt, Ron Jeremy and John Stagliano will be among the recipients of the 2009 Free Speech Coalition Awards presented in November at the Skirball Cultural Center. The awards are given by the coalition to adult industry businesses and professionals for outstanding achievements and contributions to the adult entertainment industry. Flynt, founder of Hustler, receives the Legacy Award; director Stagliano receives the FSC Man of the Year Award; and Jeremy receives the Positive Image Award for a male performer. Video Secrets in Calabasas, Screaming O, and Titan Media are the businesses receiving awards from the coalition. The adult industry has a special kind of strength and resilience that carries it through a tough year, said FSC Executive Director Diane Duke. “That strength and resilience is aptly demonstrated by each and every one of this year’s award recipients,” Duke said. Antelope Valley Palmdale Flying: The City of Palmdale joined in recognizing Sept. 16 as National Aerospace Day. Palmdale is home to many aerospace manufacturers and test centers, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, NASA, and Boeing. Those companies and others are the backbone of the economic health, security and freedoms of Americans and others across the globe, said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. More than 844,000 workers are directly employed in the aerospace and defense industry, according to the Aerospace Industries Association. “By observing National Aerospace Day, we not only can say ‘great job’ to all of the hundreds of thousands of dedicated workers who comprise the aerospace and military workforce, but we can also bring attention to our elected officials the vital importance and contributions these industries have made and continue to make to our nation,” Ledford said. Conejo Valley Westlake Village Bottle: Vapur Inc. brought out its first product, a foldable, reusable water bottle for easy and convenient on-the-go use anywhere. Vapur is a flexible bottle and can be rolled, folded or flattened when empty, easily fitting into pockets, purses, packs or briefcases. Each bottle can hold up to 16 ounces of liquid and is currently available in blue, pink and green. “By making small, incremental changes in our lifestyle habits, we hope to affect big changes in the environment, one drop at a time,” said Vapur co-founder Jason Carignan.
AROUND THE VALLEYS