In the heart of Hollywood, at the Raleigh studios, the 17th annual International Family Film Festival has begun. For five fun filled days, filmmakers, writers and actors will converge from 38 states and several European countries, including a large contingent from China and selections from the Middle East, to enjoy family oriented films and scripts. Chris Shoemaker, executive director of IFFF, and Patte Dee McKee, Program Director welcomed the opening group on Wednesday afternoon to be followed by the opening film from China, The Star and The Sea.
“Our mission is to breed a global family of quality stories, films and screenplays. Family stories are more powerful, insightful and entertaining than ever. “ The 2012 theme is “IFFF brings the family into focus” and acknowledge the increasing number of 3D feature films. In fact, Friday night, the 3D version of Kung Fu Panda will be shown. This will be followed by a Q and A to the film’s Oscar nominated director and this year’s Friz Award, Jennifer Yuh Nelson. Margaret Loesch, CEO of The Hub, another family trailblazer, will receive the IFFF Film Excellence Award for her lifelong devotion to quality entertainment.
The programs award excellence not only for adult and professional film makers and writers but also to the youth. “It’s the 8-18 group that is our future.” 17 year old Kaleigh Ann Kailani is a prime example. With two films “Ashes to Ashes” and “The Hollow Chronicles,” as well as a script “Jade,” she is one of the stars of the youth fest. Kaleigh, having also just finished her first novel “The Broken Trinity,” which will soon be available on Amazon.com, hopes to not only write the screenplay version, but perhaps star in the movie one day. Bitten by the writing bug at the age of seven, has also begun directing her films, as well. Separate awards will be giving to the youthful writers –filmmakers on Saturday.
Not only family films are shown here. Socially responsible documentaries as Stepheon Litwinczuk’s Falling Up about the homeless who have to fight to regain their former lives are shown on Thursday at 1 pm.
Also showing on Saturday at 10 am is the short film Charismata, by Anita Cordell and staring young Leanne Duffy as well as the Australian movie “The Boodie War” represented by Tash Philips and directed by Claire Marshall.
On Sunday, the scriptwriters like Lynne Moses, author of Run Away Home, a fantasy; Rachel Callaray author of My WoodenWings, Mary Krell- Oishi of My College Essay, and Abraham Frank, author of The Fifth Beetle, an animation feature about a young beetle trying to find the sky, will be honored.
Starting Friday, a myriad of panels are also being presented as International Co-Production, Indie Film Financing, Closing the Gender Gap, Digital Tools and Trends, and Indie Film Distribution.
Sponsors for the festival include Epson, SalesForce, Target, Pom Drink, Media Services and Showbiz Software, PearlParadise.com, Haziza and Raleigh Studios. Official IFFF providers are LA Wine Fest, Hilton Garden Inn, Ventura Limoncello Company, Halper Fine Art, Saint Tone, Final Draft and Midas Mount. Industry-Distributor Members include Fresh I Media, New York Life, Pure Flix Entertainment, Baker Entertainment, Virtual Pitchfest, Maeya Cultural Exchange Group, TCF (Tax Credit Funding), M. M. Gertz Entertainment and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
This year, IFFF works year round in its far reaching educational endeavors as Movies On the Move, taking the best of family films to schools , libraries and other community organizations; week long intergenerational seminars for grandparents and grandkids, and film making camps for kids both here in the States and in overseas communities as China. (Fresh Films Young Filmmaker’s Starter Kits that gives youth easy-to-learn “best practices” instruction on how to make short digital films, animations, and video games.
For more information about the festival or any of its year round programs, go to www.internationalfamilyfilmfestival.org.