This week, I will be covering the 17th annual Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival. Which begs two questions: Where the hell is Temecula Valley and why the hell should I care about such a tiny film festival? To answer the first question, Temecula is the city I live right next to. It’s located in California just north of San Diego and just east of Orange County. As for the second question, that’s a bit more complicated…
TVIFF is a smaller festival. This will be my third year attending and my second year covering the fest as media. It is a smaller fest but one that I really admire and want to see succeed for a variety of reasons. Each year the fest gets it’s fair share of celebrities both big and small. In the past, I have met the likes of Mary Steenburgen, Ted Dansen and a handful of other famous musicians and celebrities. This year Virginia Madsen, Oren Peli, Connie Stevens and Peter Bogdanovich (among others) are being honored. Attending the festival is not like attending one in Park City, Utah in January however it does offer something else.
Speaking of Sundance, the reason I love TVIFF is because, in many ways, it offers what Sundance used to offer before it became exploited by the studios and media. That is, mainly, an outlet for people who are trying to get their low-budget films seen a chance to do so. Now that could lead you to believe that the quality of the films could be much lower quality… not the case. In fact, the reason I LOVE this fest is because of the way they select films. I don’t think I have seen a bad film in the 30 or so viewings I have attended here.
The majority of films here you’ve probably never heard of and, for many, probably never will. It’s a shame but it’s true. The only two films (from my years in attendance) that may even sound familiar are Mary Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School and Nowhere Boy. However, the talent is here. I can honestly say (on our five heart scale) I have never seen anything below a three heart film and have seen several fours and even a few fives. The standout, for me, at the fest is the short film category which is always amazing. I have NEVER seen a bad short film at this fest and would highly recommend checking them out if you ever have the opportunity.
The docs are also strong. Last year, I met and befriended director Pablo Pappano who’s doc Clickin’ for Love is just as strong as most of the docs I’ve seen in theaters before… even better than most.
Lastly, I cover this festival because it is important to shine a light (no matter how big that light may be) on local cinema and outlets that shine their own light on artists looking for a voice. There is unbelievable talent walking around this festival looking to be heard and I feel a responsibility to help in that department however I can.
Ultimately, I may sound like a TVIFF apologist. That is not the case but I know what our stats and readership curve towards. Fest coverage is typically limited to reading about the bigger fest. Eventually, we will be bringing you coverage of the bigger festivals but I think I will always make time for TVIFF because of the staff involved and the unknown (for the most part) talent it is stacked with. So, I say, this Fall while other outlets are covering Telluride and Toronto, take a little time to check out what’s going on at TVIFF. That way, in the future, you might look at a film showing at Sundance or TIFF and say I knew them when.
- Festival coverage starts this week. You can see a list of all the films being screened at this year’s fest by CLICKING HERE!!!