Cinephiles Celebrate San Diego Film Festival’s 10th Birthday

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There is an episode of Saturday Night Live that features singer Michael Bolton as the musical guest. During the show, comedic musical group Lonely Island releases their new Digital Short – a song with Bolton singing the hook. As we later find out, Bolton is a major cinephile and can’t stop singing about movies, particularly Pirates of the Caribbean.

While cinephile might sound like a dirty word, it simply describes a person who is fond of motion pictures. For the local SoCal cinephile, the San Diego Film Festival (SDFF) returns to celebrate its 10th birthday in a competitive five-day fest where urban edge meets perfect-weather escapism.

The Festival began Wednesday and runs through Sunday, October 2. All films are hosted at the Reading Gaslamp 15 Theater on 5th and G in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.Gaslamp 15 Reading Cinema

In the past, the SDFF has premiered popular films such as Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite, SuperSize Me and Hustle & Flow. On Wednesday, the festival kicked-off with a premiere of Jonathan Levine’s critically-acclaimed new film 50/50 starring Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

For all those aforementioned cinephiles, this year’s Festival is divided into six subsections, Fresh Features, Reel Life Docs, Short? Perfect?, Local Love – San Diego Showcase, and Green Screen – Environmental Series, and CineCause.

Friday’s schedule, which can be found here features three short-film programs, Spite, Twist and Torn at 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Also Friday, at 5:30 p.m., is the showing of Like Crazy, a romantic drama starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones.

The film has been garnering praise since it’s festival debut early in the year and was recently chosen as the Official Selection at Sundance Film Festival in addition to being awarded Best Picture and Best Actress.

Also Friday is the documentary One in Seven, The New Face of Hunger. Obviously not all cinephiles are documentary fans, but this documentary focuses on the 441,000 hungry people in San Diego and was produced and filmed by Carlsbad High Students. It is definitely something worth checking out, specifically because it focuses on San Diego County’s hunger problem.

Other documentaries of note are Marathon Boy, which tells the story of a four-year-old boy, taken from the slums of India to become the country’s greatest runner, and The Bully Project, from Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, which examines the dire consequences of bullying through the testimony of strong and courageous youth.

In total, the Festival is screening 75 films this year that showcase a wide range of talent – from new comers to film veterans. This year, the SDFF added two more Short Film sections and one more Local Love section to promote San Diego filmmakers.

“We could not ask for a better line-up on the celebration of our 10th anniversary,” said Festival Director Robin Laatz. “We are extremely excited about the caliber of films that were presented to us and can’t wait for our attendees to see them!”

Coriolanus, featuring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler.Saturday’s line-up features the comedy “The Pill” about a man with some unfortunate luck following a one-night stand. The title speaks for itself to describe the source of this man’s bad luck. On Sunday, cinephiles can catch the soon-to-be blockbuster “Coriolanus,” which stars Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes. “Coriolanus” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy and features Butler as a banished hero of Rome who allies with a sworn enemy to take revenge on the city.

Historically, the SDFF has earned more than 12 awards, including Best Beach Fest, Best Regional Film Fest, Best Festival, Top 25 Fests Worth Your Entry Fee by MovieMaker Magazine and a coveted spot as one of the country’s Top 10 Film Festival Vacations.

Following Saturday’s films, which begin at 11 a.m. and run until 8 p.m., is the Festivals 10th anniversary birthday party and the awards celebration.

Festivalgoers can create their own experience with everything from industry access through intimate filmmaker and celebrity gatherings to nightly parties that earned SDFF Best Party Fest in The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide. Individual tickets can be purchased through the Festival’s website.

Images courtesy San Diego Film Festival at and video courtesy thelonelyisland via YouTube.

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