Filmmakers from across the pond to just down the street participated in the 2018 Glendale International Film Festival that wrapped last week.
More than 100 films, ranging from narrative and documentary shorts and features to public service announcements, screened at Laemmle’s Glendale Theatre from Oct. 5 to 13 as part of the festival’s fifth installment.
“We’re very down to earth,” said Velvet Rhodes, festival founder and executive director. “We emphasize the positive side of everything and the success of everyone.”
“That sets us apart from many of the film festivals that I’ve attended,” Rhodes added.
An Amsterdam-made film all about communication and language, aptly titled “Speech,” took home top honors at the Oct. 12 awards show held at Gauchos Village Brazilian steakhouse, snagging Best in Fest.
“Speech” filmmaker Barbara Bredero traveled from Amsterdam with her daughter for the screening and ended up leaving with the Best Female Director award.
Best Feature winner “The Passing Parade,” about interpersonal entanglements, was filmed in Glendale with a majority-local cast. Tessa Ferrer took home Best Feature Film Actress for her role in the film.
The goal of the festival is to combine a global perspective with community engagement, Rhodes said.
As part of that effort, the event included a panel discussion on Armenian filmmakers. There are also award categories carved out for filmmakers from Glendale and Burbank.
The festival emphasizes supporting female filmmakers and screenwriters, with a panel dedicated to women discussing their respective journeys in the industry as well as special awards categories.
Beginning last year, the film festival also began inviting local service groups, including Ascencia, Autism Learning Partners and Wellness Works, to screen informational films and announcements.
“It was an opportunity to let people know what’s going on in the world,” said Rhodes, who is also a filmmaker and actress. “And people responded positively because they want to know what’s going on.”
According to Rhodes, who moved to Glendale from London in 1988, she was partially inspired to launch a festival in Glendale after realizing the city didn’t have its own film festival.
Her commitment sharpened after attending the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema several years ago, which she described as “really well organized, with really nice films and really nice people.”
An organizer behind Idyllwild’s event helped her launch the inaugural Glendale festival that spanned three days over a single weekend. The entire program sold out.
Now, at nine days, Rhodes suspects the reason it’s grown is simple: “people really enjoy the films we show.”
Rhodes is currently working on turning her documentary, “Vintage Glorious Glendale” into a television series that would showcase the nostalgia and charm of other Los Angeles communities.
The 2015 film that looks at the city’s vintage buildings, homes and businesses premiered at the festival several years ago, and a re-edited version screened this year.