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Life and Arts

On the Town: Film festival features a variety of movies

Rita Ohan, Spirit of American Youth Scholarship winner, is awarded a ribbon by Alea Chin, Americana
Rita Ohan, Spirit of American Youth Scholarship winner, is awarded a ribbon by Alea Chin, Americana administrative assistant.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

A record number of cinema fans are enjoying films now screening at the new Laemmle Glendale as part of the fifth annual Glendale International Film Festival, which will end with an awards show on Friday at Gauchos Village and Brazilian Steak House in Glendale.

I’m privileged to have a backstage view of the festival, since a film short I directed, co-wrote and produced was selected and recently screened at the fest.

“Rose & Katz” tells the story of a grandfather and his grandson who are planning to be bar mitzvahed together before an unexpected event changes the boy’s mind.

Coming up Wednesday will be the documentary “The Business of Autism” from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m., the thriller feature “In This Gray Place” from 8 to 10 p.m. and the drama feature “In Transit” from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.


The festival’s growing audience has been due to its founder and organizer Velvet Rhodes. Her tireless efforts make sure that no detail is overlooked from film selection, marketing, screenings to the many special events connected with the festival, such as a “Women in Film” panel discussion, which will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Capital One Café, 821 Americana Way, Glendale.

The cost is $15. Audience participation will be welcome. For more information, call (818) 247-4509. For a schedule of movies and panel discussions, visit

Two local scholars each received a $10,000 scholarship during a luncheon held late last month at Trattoria Amici in the Americana at Brand.


Glendale resident Rita Ohan, 17, and Natalie Hampton, 18, of Sherman Oaks were recognized with the 2018 Spirit of American Youth Scholarship, established in 2009 by Rick Caruso, founder and chief executive of Caruso, which includes several properties including the Americana at Brand and the Grove.

Ohan has just started classes at the University of Southern California as a human biology major and plans to become a doctor. Her parents, Ara and Aida Ohan, attended the brief scholarship ceremony.

Hampton is taking classes at Stanford University and was unable to attend the luncheon. Proud father, Scott, stood in for her.

Hundreds of applications were submitted by students from throughout the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys for the scholarships.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at