Santa Clarita International Film Festival launches Thursday

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The Santa Clarita International Film Festival is set to celebrate cinema during its annual event, scheduled Thursday through Sunday at the Laemmle Theater on Lyons Avenue. The festival offers a film lineup, special guests and immersive experiences. 

The festivities kick off with an homage to Latin American culture on opening night. The featured film is “Heroes,” a Mexican production. Comedian Joey Medina of the original Latin Kings of Comedy will serve as the master of ceremonies. Following the screenings, attendees can enjoy the rhythmic beats of Latin music featuring Tejano bands from San Antonio and local talent from Santa Clarita. 

This year’s festival includes the SCIFF Headbangers Award presented by the Metal Hall of Fame. The lineup also consists of the documentary “Louder Than Rock,” featuring Elton John and Hall & Oates lead guitarist Caleb Quaye, who will perform with his band, The Faculty. 

The festival goes beyond screenings, offering panels with industry figures such as Hollywood publicist Michael Levine and agent Harry Abrams. “Shot in the Arm,” a public health panel, is set for Saturday at 6 p.m. Neil deGrasse Tyson served as the executive producer for this project, with moderation provided by former CNN anchor Bella Shaw. 

Closing Night will be hosted by ex-CBS anchor Rick Garcia. The main feature, “The Nana Project,” with a cast including Mercedes Rehul and Morgan Fairchild, will take center stage. The event will culminate in the awards ceremony, featuring the presentation of the Activism Award. The award was bestowed upon Ed Begley Jr. in the previous year, and this year, it will be presented to Erin Grey. 

Last year, The Santa Clarita International Film Festival hosted 1,300 individuals over four days. Anticipating a larger turnout this year, the program has been expanded to include film, music, comedy, panels and table reads. 

Known as “Hollywood North,” Santa Clarita boasts the most film permits issued in all of Los Angeles County, with 100 existing sound stages and plans for 100 more.  

The Santa Clarita International Film Festival, founded by independent filmmakers for independent filmmakers, is committed to being “all indie all the time.”  

For more information about the Santa Clarita International Film Festival, visit sciff.org. 

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