The 11th annual Malibu International Film Festival begins next week, April 29, and all events will take place in Malibu.
This year, the event will take place during three days, and, except for the opening night screenings, harkening back to its founding days when its films were screened at unusual venues such as in tents or at the Malibu Pier, screenings will take place at a local art gallery and in a local dance studio.
The festival has had its ups and downs over the years, having trouble with financing and in obtaining local screening venues, but founder David Katz and his ever-revolving festival staff have managed keep it alive.
This year, the festival has garnered the support of several local sponsors, such as Johannessen – Golba Builders & Architects as the presenting sponsor, and Lilly Lawrence as a founding sponsor.
One local who is having her film screened this year is veterinarian Gretchen Becker. Her short film “Finding Grandma,” which is a tribute to her late mother, and to mothers and grandmothers everywhere holding the family unit together, was first nominated for an award in Milan, Italy, at the 2009 Milan International Film Festival. Becker chose to screen her film in Milan to honor her mother Vera and grandmother’s Italian roots. Reporter Lucia Galli, in an article for L’Interivista, said Becker’s film had “the atmosphere of Fellini.”
Local actor Martin Landau, with whom Becker has worked with as an actress in the past, stars in “Finding Grandma,” playing the part of godfather to his real life godson, Dylan Becker, Gretchen Becker’s son.
The opening night screenings of the festival will take place Thursday, April 29, at the Malibu Cinemas, Hollywood Theaters, with a kick-off party at Duke’s Malibu restaurant afterward. The next day, a fashion show and VIP party will be part of the mix, along with more screenings at the Malibu Lumber Yard. Saturday, the closing day films will be screened at the Tracy Park Gallery at the Malibu Country Mart, and the closing night party will take place at the Old Malibu Courthouse.
More information about screenings and venues can be obtained online at www.malibufilmfestival.org