The Santa Clarita International Film Festival opens Thursday night and goes through Sunday at the Laemmle Theater and nearby locations in Old Town Newhall, offering independent films, musical performances, comedic performances and a gallery and visual arts show.
According to Sean McBride, the music and comedy director of the festival, SCIFF was founded last year as more of a virtual experience, with many films presented online, though they did offer outdoor comedy and music. This year is all in-person, and McBride expects it to be a nonstop party from start to finish.
“The goal is to turn this thing into a South by Southwest (Film Festival)-, Sundance (Film Festival)-level event right here in Santa Clarita,” he told The Signal in a phone interview on Wednesday. “My hope is that people come in and they just want to stay and they don’t want to leave.”
McBride added that the festival is set to screen 175 films, with 30 comedians and 10 bands scheduled to perform music in the former CrossFit Building Block building on Lyons Avenue near the Laemmle Theater.
A red-carpet event is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Laemmle Theater, hosted by Kermet Apio from NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” featuring music from DJ Switch, and an appearance by Kelly Packard Privett from the TV shows “Baywatch” and “California Dreams.”
The festival will host a kick-off event at 7 p.m. on Friday at the American Legion Post 507 building on Spruce Street in Newhall, which will include performances from comics, musicians and dancers.
Closing ceremonies on Sunday will include the presentation of the first annual SCIFF Activism Award to actor Ed Begley Jr. and actress, creator and producer Rachelle Carson-Begley.
According to its website, SCIFF is a nonprofit organization committed to empowering the Santa Clarita Valley using film as the primary medium to showcase the entire artistic community.
For more information, a schedule of events or to buy tickets, go to SCIFF.org.