Film festival screenings, events to light up Malibu

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Above: A still from director Darian Lane’s film “The Collector.” The movie, which is based on a Malibu resident, tells the story of a woman who collects men and is set to be shown next weekend at the Malibu International Film Festival.

The 12th annual Malibu International Film Festival is taking place Oct. 6 and 8 at Malibu Cinemas and the Malibu Lumber Yard.

The opening night event features films “Miss South Pacific,” at 7 p.m. and “Kissing Strangers,” at 8 p.m., both screened at Malibu Cinemas. Additionally, an opening night reception will take place at the Malibu Lumber Yard immediately following the screenings.

Opening film “Miss South Pacific: Beauty and the Sea,” directed by Mary Lambert, is a short documentary about the 2009-2010 Miss South Pacific Pageant. The documentary not only chronicles the pageant, but carries with it a message about climate change and its impact on Pacific Island countries.

The second opening night film, Malibu Film Festival founder and director David Katz’s “Kissing Strangers,” tells the story of a group of male friends who make a bet to find out who can kiss the best looking girl on a Saturday night.

This year’s local opening night sponsors include Malibu residents actor Pierce Brosnan and his wife Keely Shaye Brosnan.

Special jury awards will be given to Risteard O’ Domhnaill’s “The Pipe,” about an Irish community divided over the possible building of an oil pipeline through their town, and “As If I Am Not There,” a film by Juanita Wilson about life during the Bosnian War of the 1990s.

About 20 films have been named official selections of this year’s event. The festival’s short film selections will be shown in blocks.

The closing night film is “Day at the Pool,” a documentary-style film by Ian Douglass and Eric Fulford about the origins of modern skateboarding. The film will be shown Oct. 8 at the Malibu Lumber Yard at 7 p.m.

The festival concludes with an awards party and presentation. The party begins at 9 p.m. and awards will be given out at 11 p.m., at the Malibu Lumber Yard.

The Malibu International Film Festival began in 1999, and has faced its fair share of struggles since. The first year, tents rented to show the films in failed to withstand the elements, allowing rain and sun to trickle in and nearly destroy the screens. In 2000, the festival was cancelled due to a lack of funding, and by 2001 it was shortened from a week to three days. The event made a comeback in 2002, returning to its original week-long format, with screenings at the Malibu movie theater and a drive-in venue. By 2004, the festival was in full swing, showing films at the Malibu Pier and Bluffs Park, with a closing gala at Malibu Vineyard.

However, in 2005, the festival left Malibu, though retained the name, and screened films in Santa Monica, with a closing reception at now closed Granita restaurant in Malibu. The following two years the festival also took place in Santa Monica with closing events at Malibu restaurants. Again the festival was shortened to three days in 2007.

In 2008, the film festival returned to Malibu for its 9th year. Last year, the event split its screenings between Malibu and Santa Monica.

The festival features movies created by directors from around the world in addition to Malibu filmmakers.

“It’s the luck of the draw,” Malibu International Film Festival founder and director David Katz told The Malibu Times in 2009. “If Malibu filmmakers happen to make quality projects and they submit it to the film festival, then they get in. We want to service not only the community of Malibu but the film industry and the city of Los Angeles.”

The 12th annual Malibu International Film Festival takes place Oct. 6 and 8 at Malibu Cinemas, 3822 Cross Creek Rd., and the Malibu Lumber Yard, 3939 Cross Creek Rd. Films will not be screened Oct. 7 in observance of Yom Kippur.

Tickets cost $20 for access to all films, and parties can be purchased by calling 866.468.3399.

More information about the festival can be obtained by visiting www.malibufilmfestival.com/home.html