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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Valley Festival Takes Viewers to the Drive-In

The Valley Film Festival wants to take you for a drive.A drive-in, that is.The 20th annual festival of work that includes projects made in the San Fernando Valley will screen its 51 features and shorts in the parking area of the Regency 16 Theatres at The Plant in Van Nuys. The cost is $20 per car.

Festival founder Tracey Adlai said going with the drive-in format was the only route the event could take to have physical screenings on a big screen. She did not want to do a virtual festival where the films were shown online, Adlai said in a phone interview with the Business Journal.However, many of the films will be available for online viewing in a showcase later in the month, she added.

The festival had hoped to return to the Laemmle NoHo 7 theaters where it has been the past few years. It takes place this year on three consecutive weekends – Nov. 7 and 8; Nov. 14 and 15; and Nov. 21; with an online awards ceremony taking place on Nov. 22.“We would like to support the Laemmle family, but city and state guidelines are not allowing us to do that,” Adlai said.

While the Valley Film Festival was started as a way to showcase the work of San Fernando Valley area filmmakers, the films shown now come from all over the world.This year, foreign entries will be limited to short films only. The foreign features were pulled because the filmmakers would like to be here when they are screened and travel restrictions prevented them from traveling to the U.S., Adlai said.

Foreign shorts include films shot in the United Kingdom, Israel, the Netherlands, Italy and France, she said.Valley entries in the festival include comedy “Take Me to Tarzana,” which has its Los Angeles premiere on the opening night, and a number of short films, including “The Man Who Loved Flowers,” an adaptation of a Stephen King short story; and “The Suicide of Lillian Sellers,” a drama about a man who investigates the death of his cousin. Both are screening the final night as part of the “Made in the (818)” shorts program.All together, 22 films to be shown were shot in the Valley. Another 35 films have a cast and crew that is 50 percent or more female, including seven shorts that make up the “Girls on Film” program on Nov. 14.

All the films will be shown in digital projection, which Adlai said she is “super excited about.” The Regency 16 theater turned its parking area into a drive-in toward the end of September; Adlai recalled she found out about it in early October. That same month, the theater hosted the Screamfest horror film festival from Oct. 7 to Oct. 15.

“They could not have been more accommodating or nicer,” Adlai said of the theater management.The drive-in can accommodate up to 65 cars, and social distancing and masks are required when people get out of their cars.

“Because it is at the theater, the concessions will be open and the restrooms will be open which is very important,” Adlai said.

The coronavirus outbreak has been hard for the film business in Los Angeles, but especially on the independent filmmakers, which lack the deep pockets of those projects and filmmakers connected with Hollywood studios.

Not many other festivals have been able to put on live events in Los Angeles, Adlai said, and filmmakers have worked hard on their projects to get them shown on a big screen.In addition to Screamfest, the only other in-person festival in the Valley was the Method Fest film festival, which took place in a drive-in format in August on the rooftop outdoor deck at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks.   During this year, it is important to support movie theaters, which have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, Adlai said.“If people have cabin fever like I do, it is a great way to get out and be amongst people in a very safe environment,” she added.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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