The Santa Clarita International Film Festival hosted its annual Black Tie Gala fundraiser on Sunday at the Hart & Main wedding and event venue in Old Town Newhall.
The event aimed to support the arts and raise funds for the festival and its programs, including its partnerships with Yes I Can Through Music and Education — which provides opportunities in the industry for young adults with disabilities — and Zonta International.
“I love it because we’re heading toward the third annual Santa Clarita International Film Festival. Every year it gets bigger and better and so I can’t wait to see what we do in December and then I can’t wait what we do four or five years from now,” said Santa Clarita Councilman Bill Miranda, who was also among the night’s speakers.
Miranda noted that SCIFF’s growth is largely thanks to the work of Lisa DeSouza, the founder and director of SCIFF. DeSouza said she wanted to bridge the ever-narrowing gap between Santa Clarita and Hollywood.
“It was important for us to do this for the community to show that we’re here, to show that we’re growing, that SCIFF is a big part of this community and that we’re only going to be expanding,” said DeSouza. “We wanted to get key players as well here: politicians, we’ve got a lot of industry folks up here … because ultimately it needs to be a marriage between Santa Clarita and the industry from (Los Angeles).”
The gala comes amid an interesting time in the film industry — as SAG-AFTRA members have joined the Writer’s Guild’s strike for the first time since 1960. It’s hard to say if the strikes will continue into the SCIFF in December, but Miranda hoped things will be settled by then.
“We’re always hoping a strike like that will end quickly and fairly for everybody,” said Miranda. “I know negotiations are on the way. But my only request and suggestion is that it’s better to compromise early and enjoy the fruits of that compromise than to tend to struggle and compromise late and nobody be happy with what’s compromised.”
Comedian Don McMillian and jazz artist John Pramik were among the performers on Sunday.
SCIFF is scheduled to launch with its opening night on Dec. 7 at the Laemmle in Newhall, with the main program running Dec. 8-10.