Los Angeles Film Festival's Opening Night Party

For me, seeing a good film is an enjoyable evening. So imagine how thrilled I was to see the opening night of a film along with filmmakers and other movies enthusiasts' and then party with them in Hollywood style. I was nearly in cinematic nirvana! Last Thursday June 16th, I attended the Los Angeles Film Festival's* opening night movie, "Down In The Valley," starring Edward Norton, and then went to the party at the Palladium after.

When I arrived at Hollywood's landmark domed ArcLight Theater the air felt frenetic with activity: photographers snapping photos of filmmakers and actors as they walked the red carpet, while moviegoers chatted noisily in line.

After an enjoyable 125 minutes in the darkened theater, people poured out of the ArcLight and headed - many on foot - toward the film festival's opening night party at the Palladium.

Once past the crowded red velvet roped entrance and down the Palladium's wide hallway, my eyes scanned the expanse of the historic theater. All about were circular tables surrounded with chatting people, under chandeliers dangling from the massive ceiling. Sleek women in kohl-lined eyes posed atop cubes as they modeled Bebe Boutique's fashions. At each end of the theater were tables covered with trays of food and bars with people milling about shoulder to shoulder. On the stage, where big bands played back in the 1940s, a D.J. and his turntable set a musical score for the eclectic mix of filmmakers, celebrities and people, like me, who simply love movies.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash. A photographer had spotted Rory Culkin: a teen star in the film "Down In The Valley." He seemed almost as sullen as he appeared in the film, standing beside a woman, I believe, is his mother. The photographer led Rory over to a table and placed him beside the white-haired Bruce Dern, who also appeared in the film. The two began chatting as though they always hang out together at parties.

After getting a drink, I sat down. Just then, Rick Fox - the Los Angeles Laker basketball star - arrived dressed in a coal-gray suit. Wow! He looks good, I was thinking as Pee Wee Herman walked by. He, also, wore a suit. Somehow, the effect wasn't the same. Pee Wee looked just as he did in the early '90s: close-cropped hair, twinkling, squinty eyes and a thin-lipped impish grin on his smooth face.

Just as I was digesting my Pee Wee siting, I looked up to see a man - who had to be about seven feet tall, not counting his foot-high afro - entering a doorway by ducking head first. I quickly glanced at a guy sitting near me. I gave him a "Did you just see that?" look. He nodded.

"Did you see the hunchback earlier?" he asked.

"Yeah. But I tried not to stare," I said.

We then figured they might be in one of the films showing during the festival.

The twenty-something guy I'd been discussing the giant and the hunchback with turned out to be a producer named Andrew Van Baal. He and his friend, writer and director Canaan Brumley, made their first documentary, "Ears, Open, Eyeballs, Click," which will be showing for the first time at this week's film festival. They spent six months on a base in San Diego - where Brumley still works as a barber - filming the lives of Marines and their experiences in bootcamp. Their film premiered Friday, June 17th, and will show again Tuesday June 21st at Laemmle Sunset 5. The Friday show, he told me, would be his first time ever seeing the film on a big screen. That's got to be an incredible experience, I thought. His story seemed to sum up a huge reason for the Los Angeles Film Festival: exposure, as well as appreciation, for the Independent filmmaker.

I wished Andrew luck with his film, and then weaved through the crowd toward the dance floor. At one end, a lithe, blonde actress spun and whipped around her silky knee-length dress - often revealing an interesting rear-view for many of her male admirers. And on the other end of the floor, Mario Van Peebles (Does that man ever age?) wore a huge smile on his face as he grooved with four beautiful women - each with a different shade of hair color, size two jeans, and stiletto heels so pointy they could kill if used improperly.

Soon after, I realized it was time for me to leave.

With a Target gift bag in one hand and the image of Mario Van Peebles still dancing in my head, I walked down Sunset Boulevard with a smile on my face.

*The Festival, produced by Film Independent (FIND) and sponsored by In Style, Target and Pop Secret, is a 10 day event. 70 Independent features and 50 short film screenings will be shown at various venues in Hollywood, ending June 26th. The events and parties aren't exclusive to the film industry; the public can buy tickets. Go to www.lafilmfest.com for ticket and schedule information.

Top of Page

Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->