DOWNEY – Organizers of the Glennfest Film Festival, in association with the city of Downey, are presenting a 60th anniversary celebration at the Downey Civic Theatre on Oct. 2 that includes three free films and an outdoor art festival.
The Sunday extravaganza, called Stardust, will include food trucks and live music.
According to festival founder Glenn Stephens, “Last Man of the Moon,” showing at 4 p.m., is being featured to honor Downey’s contribution to the Apollo space program.
The documentary tells the personal story of Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan who made the final lunar journey for the United States in 1972. In addition to the human side of the story, the film sheds light on the training and protocols of the space program at that time.
A panel discussion that includes members of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation will precede the film.
A movie for the younger set, “Ice Age: Collision Course,” will screen earlier at 12:30 p.m.
In a nod to Downey’s own symphony orchestra, the evening program is dedicated to music, with a film of renowned Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi conducting an orchestra of 200 and a choir of 600 as they perform music from popular animé films.
Downey conductor Sharon Lavery will give a brief introduction to the film, and there will be a short performance by Hikaro Taiko, a Japanese drum group based in Norwalk.
Now in its fifth year, Glennfest follows the AFI festival model and does not charge for tickets. Movie fans can show up at the door, but guaranteed seating is possible only by reserving seats online at www.glennfest.com.
Glennfest, which begins on Friday, Sept. 24, and ends on Sunday, Oct. 9, is presenting a total of 12 “films of special interest.”
Highlights include the 1978 foreign comedy classic, “La Cage Aux Folles,” and an LA red carpet premiere of indie film “What Separates Us,” attended by the writer and director Bryan Ferriter.
Both films will screen at 7 p.m. at the local Krikorian Theater, Oct. 5 and 6 respectively, followed by after-parties at the Epic Lounge. Attendees at the screenings will receive bracelets that allow entry into the after-parties.
Referring to the French film, Stephens says, “This is a chance for people to see it on the big screen, as it was meant to be seen.” This heart-warming farce, set in St. Tropaz, garnered three academy award nominations and was made into a Tony-award winning play on Broadway.
It was ahead of its time with its positive depiction of a gay couple who run a nightclub with drag entertainment. Complications ensue when the couple’s son brings home his fiancé’s ultra-conservative parents to meet them.
For this after-party, Stephens says they are going to recreate a nightclub on the Riviera, with tablecloths, lamps, a stage, etc.
Bryan Ferriter’s film, “What Separates Us,” is a coming-of-age film about a young man in a small town who gives in to a life of drinking and brawling after a personal tragedy. A meeting with a talented young painter helps him come to terms with who he is.
The after-party for this film on Oct. 6 will have a DJ and an ‘80s music theme, says Stephens.
Glennfest officially opens this Saturday, Sept. 24, at the local Krikorian Theater with its signature showing of a current-release film for children and young adults with special needs.
“We arrange for modifications in the way a film is screened,” explains Stephens, “to allow family members affected by autism to experience an outing to the movies like everyone else.”
Modifications for this event include turning down the volume, and turning up the lights so the colors on screen are less vivid.
The terms of the film rental prohibit Stephens from publicizing the name of the movie, but he assures people that the film will be something families will like. The event, with gift bags for every child, is free to the public, but it is already sold out with a waiting list for reserve seats.
This yearly special showing is presented by the Americans with Disabilities Caucus of SEIU #721. Families who arrive at 8 a.m. will enjoy a special performance from Danza Folklorica Amor Eterno, a local dance group. Girl Scout Troop #3431 from Alhambra will be volunteering again to help with the morning crowd.
Most of the patrons who need special accommodations are referred by county organizations and facilities, but Stephens says that individual families can contact him for tickets through the website. The tickets specify “One Child or Young Adult + One Caregiver.”
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a yearly favorite, will be presented in a retro-showing this Sunday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Epic Lounge. Audience participation has become a key feature of this movie classic.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, audiences will have an opportunity to see a unique and touching film that was an official selection at both the Telluride and Sundance film festivals. “Viva” is the story of a young man in Cuba who finds his calling as a drag entertainer, and then reconnects with his macho father under unusual circumstances.
This Spanish language film with subtitles was shot in 22 days on a small budget by Irish-born director Paddy Breathnach. The Havana street scenes were often shot without using extras. The movie screens at the Krikorian at 7 p.m. Benicio del Toro is the executive producer.
The German comedy-horror film, “Therapy for a Vampire,” will show at the Krikorian on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. Set in Vienna in the 1930s, it tells the story of Count von Kozsnom who has lost his thirst for life and consults Sigmund Freud as a new patient.
“La Cage Aux Folles” and “What Separates Us” follow on Oct. 5 and 6.
The festival will close on Sunday, Oct. 9, with a day-long series of unique documentaries presented at the Downey Civic Theatre.
“My Love, Don’t Cross That River,” showing at 1 p.m., is a gentle and loving look at the life and final days of two 100-year-olds in Korea who have been married for 76 years. They live in a small home by a river, wear traditional Korean clothes, have fun at senior outings, and go to sleep holding hands.
The intimate look at their life is mesmerizing, even though the pace of the film matches the pace of this elderly couple. It is a wonder how the director received permission to film this beautiful relationship. The film’s popularity and audience ratings in Korea have grown by word of mouth.
The British film “56 UP” will show at 3 p.m. Its subjects are 14 boys from different socio-economic backgrounds who were interviewed in 1964 when they were seven years old.
Follow-up interviews were conducted every seven years to test the hypothesis that social class predetermines a person’s future. These interviews became a series of documentaries airing on British TV. The film takes its title from the interviews when the subjects were 56 years old.
Inspiration for the project came from a Jesuit motto, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."
The final film, scheduled to screen at 6 p.m., is “The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen.” Bowen was a classically trained ballet dancer and dance teacher from Boston who went on to become a wife and mother, a writer and feminist activist, and a professor of women’s studies and English at Cal State Long Beach.
According to Jennifer Abod, the film’s director, the story of Bowen’s life provides a window on aspects of 20th century African American history, women’s history, and LGBTQ history. Abod met Bowen at a Take Back the Night event where Bowen was a speaker.
“The film embodies events and history that are relevant today,” says Abod. “The issues of race, class, and gender are out there.”
The film was finished in December 2015 and Abod describes conversations with students on campuses as “thrilling.” Abod will speak briefly before the film.
GLENNFEST MOVIE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
9:00 a.m. “Family Friendly Movie”
(Children and young adults with special needs) Sold Out
7:00 p.m. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
(Retro-participation 18+) Sold Out
7:00 p.m. VIVA
(In Spanish with English subtitles)
Downey Civic Theatre
12:30 p.m. ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE
4:00 p.m. LAST MAN ON THE MOON
6:00 p.m. JOE HISAISHI AT BUDOKAN
7:00 p.m. THERAPY FOR A VAMPIRE
(In German with English subtitles)
7:00 p.m. LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
(In French with English subtitles)
9:30 p.m. After-party
7:00 p.m. WHAT SEPARATES US
9:30 p.m. After-party
Downey Civic Theatre
1:00 p.m. MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER
(In Korean with English Subtitles)
3:00 p.m 56 UP
6:00 p.m. THE PASSIONATE PURSUITS OF ANGELA BOWEN
Epic Lounge 8239 2nd Street, Downey
Kirkorian Theatre 8200 3rd street, Downey
Downey Civic Theatre 8435 Firestone Blvd