December is here and the Santa Clarita International Film Festival is prepping for its opening night.
The Santa Clarita International Film Festival is scheduled to begin on Thursday at 5 p.m., and will continue its four-day run with the awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 11, and the festival concluding on the night of Sunday, Dec. 12.
SCIFF has obtained more than 100 short and feature films that will be screened daily starting at 10 a.m., and 30 films slated to screen virtually for those out of the state or country, as SCIFF is a hybrid film festival. The virtual program will include online screenings and in-studio interviews with filmmakers, musicians, local politicians and celebrities. The concept of a hybrid-style event is for this gathering to serve as a springboard into a new way of showing short and feature-length independent films to the world, and to work as a way to present festivals in the future, post COVID-19 times.
The festival’s submissions run the gamut, from drama to theological, with the theological program wrapping up SCIFF on Dec. 12.
Opening night of the festival will be held at the Laemmle theater’s recently added Newhall location (www.laemmle.com), and hosted by Southern California broadcasting icon and weathercaster Fritz Coleman. Coleman spent his 40-year career at NBC but is also a well-known comic.
The remainder of the festival will be hosted by the multi-screened Regal Edwards Theater in Valencia (www.regmovies.com).
SCIFF is a festival of the arts using film as its centralized showcased medium. The goal is to empower the community of Santa Clarita Valley, the artists and those in the industry who live there.
Extensive music and comedy programs have been added to the event. Twenty-seven musical acts, bands, and individual performers of all genres have committed, and will entertain the SCIFF crowds on the Entertainment Plaza of the Valencia Town Center on all days from the 10th to the 12th. The comedy portion of the program will feature 22 comedians performing nightly, at intermittent times on the Entertainment Plaza.
Other noted celebrity talent scheduled to be in attendance include L.A. radio and comedy legend Frazer Smith, Johnny Whitaker, who played brother Jody to Buffy in the popular television show “Family Affair” that ran from 1966 to 1971 on CBS, and Rodney Allen Rippy, the adorable former child actor who proclaimed that the Jumbo Jack hamburger was too big to eat in Jack in the Box commercials that he starred in during the 1970s. Frazer and Whitaker will serve as screening hosts, while Rippy will make attendees laugh as live comedy guest.
While Coleman will be hosting the opening night, he will also be conducting interviews with several of the celebrity talents in attendance under the guise of his themed, “From Past to Present. Words of Wisdom for a Changing Landscape.”
“SCIFF would like its seasoned guests to share their infinite knowledge and years of entertainment wisdom with our talented creators and festival guests,” said festival founder Lisa De Souza. “We think that there is a need for reconnection at this moment in time, and these guests bring not only talent, but a familiarity and sense of comfort to this type of space. Many people grew up with or had parents who grew up with these people in their creative spaces, either on film or on television.”
Opening night of the festival will kick off with the feature film viewing of “Fireboys.” The film focuses on the incarcerated youth at Pine Grove Conservation Camp in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Drew Dickler and Jake Hochendoner co-wrote and co-directed the film. “Fireboys” is the untold story of young men incarcerated in California who are offered a way out: by fighting wildfires.
Also listed to screen the same night is the 28-minute short film “Two Heads are Better Than One.” This film follows the life of Benjamin Ferencz, the last living prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials. The Nuremberg trials were a series of 13 trials that were carried out in Nuremberg, Germany, between 1945 and 1949. The defendants included members of the Nazi Party, high-ranking military officials, and various high-profile professionals who were indicted on charges of crimes against humanity.
The Santa Clarita International Film Festival is also participating in a revenue share with the filmmakers who were accepted into the program, and who will have their films shown. SCIFF will be sharing 20% of all box office ticket sales with those festival participants.
For full event info and bios on talent, visit www.SCIFF.org.