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Here Comes Hollywood, Lamorinda

Written by Jennifer Seelig. Posted in Art + Entertainment

Los Angeles may typically be considered the epicenter of the awards show excitement, but this year Lamorinda is stealing a slice of the limelight, thanks to the Oscar Buzz surrounding the 14th annual California Independent Film Festival, on the silver screens right here in town.

California Independent Film Festival

There’s something distinctly magical about the movies, isn’t there?  The glitz, the glamour, the fiction and the fantasy.  And of course, the awards.  Oh, the awards.  Critics’ Choice, Golden Globes, and the crème de la crème, The Academy Awards. 

Los Angeles may typically be considered the epicenter of the awards show excitement, but this year Lamorinda is stealing a slice of the limelight, thanks to the Oscar Buzz surrounding the 14th annual California Independent Film Festival, on the silver screens right here in town. 

It’s (Almost) Showtime 

For seven days, February 10-16, 2012, some of the most highly acclaimed international cinema works of art will be on our local silver screens.   

"The festival opens with 'Monsieur Lazhar,'” explained Derek Zemrak, president and founder of CAIFF, the California Independent Film Festival.

‘Monsieur Lazhar’ is a French Canadian film and Canada’s contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Oscars.

“We're very excited to have that type of high profile film open our festival," Zemrak enthused. 

Naturally, the party kicks off even before the film begins rolling - there will be a reception in the Rheem Theatre lobby beforehand, with beloved Lamorinda restaurants providing the food and drink. 

"And then," said Zemrak, "on to the movies." 

A second movie playing in Rheem on opening night will provide a bit of contrast.

"We're starting with a language film and moving into a more mainstream, edgier American film by a filmmaker out of Texas called 'Five Time Champion.'" 

"The caliber of films is incredible," summed up Zemrak. 

Other notable films:  “Tilt” from Bulgaria and “Hermano” from Venezuela.  

Zemrak is equally excited about the other elements of the festival, which include kid-friendly films, educational seminars and awards ceremonies.   

In all, there will be 11 feature films, 7 documentaries and 23 short films.  Including a great lineup for kids, complete with games and activities! The complete festival lineup is available online

The Stars Align for Lamorinda 

“We’re starting to earn a reputation with filmmakers, they want to screen with us,” said Zemrak. 

“Moraga is CAIFF’s home,” he continued, “and now that we have both the Rheem Theatre and the Orinda Theatre, we’re able to attract more of these types of films.  We’ll continue to improve the festival every year.” 

Zemrak tips his hat to the Lamorinda community, which has embraced the festival.  It's something that's not lost on filmmakers, he says. 

“We had an amazing turnout last year, and filmmakers talk.  They all realize how many people showed up.  They saw pictures of our crowds.  When you have hundreds of people, sold out screenings, they want their movies at our festival," explained Zemrak.   

And of course, a more high profile festival means more sales for Lamorinda businesses. 

"More and more people want to come to Lamorinda for our festival.  This year, we're opening with a film that's coming from Sundance.  We're a player in the festival circuit." 

Fostering a Love of the Independents 

“Independent films really tell stories,” Zemrak spoke passionately about the genre.  “They’re based on a quality story and screenplay.” 

“It’s nice to go to a big movie and see explosions,” he gave a nod to the blockbusters.  “There is something fun about a major Hollywood film.” 

But it’s the smaller films, he reasoned, that audiences tend to appreciate as more realistic. 

“Plus, with foreign films, your eyes are opened to what people in other countries are seeing and feeling.  The funny thing is you often realize that the same things you’re dealing with are going on all over the world.” 

LamorindaWeb is proud to partner with the nonprofit California Independent Film Festival Association (CIFFA) as a supporting media sponsor for the 14th annual Film Festival Feb. 10 – 16, 2012 at the Lamorinda Theatres, Orinda and Rheem: 4 Orinda Theatre Square, Orinda and 350 Park St., Moraga.  lamorindatheatres.com and caiff.org for tickets and showtimes. 


Photo credit:
caiff.org