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Method Fest plans to return

Ben Godar

Organizers of the Method Fest Film Festival, which drew 12,000 people

to Burbank in April, are planning to ask the City Council for a grant

to help bring the event back next year.

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The council approved a $25,000 grant to help promote this year’s

festival, the first in Burbank after four years in Pasadena, and

Downtown Manager Gail Stewart said organizers plan to ask for a grant

in the same amount for the 2004 version.

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Named for Constantine Stanislavski’s “method” acting -- a style

that aims to bring realism to the craft -- the festival is unique in

its focus on the contributions of actors to films. Film screenings,

acting and filmmaking panels, parties and special events are part of

the weeklong event.

More than 6,000 tickets were sold to screenings at the AMC 6 in

the Media City Center April 11-18. Other events connected to the

festival were held at various locations, including Gordon Biersch and

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the Colony Theater.

While Stewart said she has no figures to demonstrate the effect

of the festival on local retailers and restaurants, she said the

attendance numbers give reason to believe the effect was significant.

“Over 12,000 people came to Burbank, and we feel the majority of

those people were newcomers,” she said. “We had a lot of independent

film folks from the other side of the hill.”

In addition to the $25,000 the city donated to the festival, local

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businesses contributed a total of $16,500, including $10,000 from the

Media City Center. Local restaurants, several of which hosted or

catered receptions, contributed $20,000, city officials said.

Following the festival, some restaurant owners reported an

increase in sales. Gordon Biersch officials, who donated $2,000 to

the event, reported about a 5% increase in late-night sales. Mi

Piace, which donated $2,500, reported no noticeable change in sales.

SkyBluPink, a San Fernando Boulevard boutique which sells clothing

and home decoration items, saw a small increase in sales during the

festival, but owner Paul Ehre said many people came into the store

for the first time and returned later to make a purchase.

Ehre, who provided some gift baskets for the event, said the

bigger benefits to local businesses would be in subsequent years of

Method Fest.

“Even if the results weren’t that great, in the long run it will

be very important to the business community that this thing

succeeds,” he said.

While Stewart was expected to present the City Council with a

report on the results of the 2003 festival at Tuesday’s council

meeting, she said organizers likely wouldn’t ask for a grant for the

2004 event until September.


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