By, Community Arts Support Desk


Mammoth Lakes, CA – May 1, 2017: The 3rd Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, taking place in the magnificent mountain setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings, which will include premieres, festival favorites and classic films. The five-day festival will take place May 24-28, 2017, beginning on Wednesday with the Opening Night Screening of Cheech and Chong’s much-loved first feature UP IN SMOKETommy Chong, one of its stars as well as its uncredited co-director, will be present for a Q&A after the screening, which is followed by the Gala Opening Night Party at the Sierra Events Center.

Saturday evening will feature the SIERRA SPIRIT AWARD CENTERPIECE GALA & SCREENING: A Night with John SaylesThe evening will begin with a screening of his 1983 film BABY IT’S YOU starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, followed by a conversation with Sayles and a presentation of the Sierra Spirit Award. Sayles’s credits include THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, MATEWAN, EIGHT MEN OUTLONE STAR, and THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH, amongst others.
In addition to the two classic films representing the work of Chong and Sayles, an additional 18 features will be screened over the five days of the festival. Feature documentary films in competition will include EIGHT (US Premiere), FOREVER B, (World Premiere), THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES, OLANCHO, RAT FILM, STRAD STYLE and WHAT LIES UPSTREAM. Spotlight Screening Documentaries not in competition will include THE CHALLENGE, DINA, and MACHINES.
Feature narrative films in competition will include NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DRIVE, SPACE DETECTIVE and WITHDRAWN. Foreign films in competition will include COLD BREATH, THE ERLPRINCE, THE FIXER and THE GREAT UNWASHED (U.S. Premiere). The final Narrative Feature, not in competition, will be the rave-reviewed Sundance hit MENASHE, which has been picked up by A24 for distribution.
In addition to the Opening Night Gala and the Sierra Spirit Award Event, there is a Filmmakers Bash on Saturday evening at Rafters featuring the band Jelly Bread and the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, May 27 at the Sierra Events Center.
VIP passes are available now, and they’re the only way to guarantee admission to the Wednesday evening Opening Night Screening of UP IN SMOKE. Individual ticket sales as well as individual party/event tickets go on sale May 10.
Taking place high in the Eastern Sierra, five hours north of Los Angeles by car and 30 minutes south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival delivers a unique, intimate experience for festivalgoers, filmmakers, and industry guests-an opportunity to experience stimulating, cutting-edge films and fun events in a beautiful mountain setting.
In addition to the diverse selection of features, from world premieres to film festival favorites, MLFF will present short film screenings and a Saturday morning indie cartoon program for children. Attending filmmakers from across the country and around the world will be on hand for Q&As after their respective films.
Discounted lodging is available from the festival’s lodging partner Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa (get a 20% discount on any room by calling in or booking online at CODE – Theater).
All screenings and special events will take place in Mammoth Lakes, at venues including the Edison Theatre, the Forest Service Visitor’s Center Theater, the Minaret Cinemas and the Sierra Events Center.
“In a short time, we have established a destination film festival. Positive word of mouth from past participants and audiences from around the world, and the excellent roster of films put together by our team-it’s all helping us to make the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival a world class place to indulge and celebrate the best of independent cinema,” said Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Founder Shira Dubrovner.
“We strive to bring our audiences a broad and colorful spectrum of films, showcasing work that’s more imaginative and more human-that’s unafraid to probe at social taboos, to be angry and bold or hopeful or overly truthful or dazzlingly dishonest. We make it a priority to present our films in a fun, friendly and nurturing environment for filmmakers and audiences,” added Paul Sbrizzi, Director of Programming.
Narrative and Documentary feature films will be eligible for Jury awards in separate categories. Prizes include $1,000 in cash and the coveted “Orson” statuette for each winning film. The winning Narrative Feature will receive a $10,000 USD camera rental grant from Panavision for their next project, a $10,000 Post-production package from Light Iron and a $2,500 credit for DCP transfer from Adrian Geyer. The winning Documentary Feature will receive a REDucation Voucher and a 60-day Epic-X Dragon Rental package from RED valued at approximately $22,000. The Audience Award winner for best Narrative Feature will receive a $5,000 camera rental grant from Panavision.
Jury Awards and cash prizes of $500 each will also be presented to short films in four categories. The winning North American short narrative also wins a $5,000 camera package from VER. The jury will be comprised of film industry professionals including Producer Allison Amon (Queen of Versailles); Judy Coppage of The Coppage Company, a literary management company; Devin Digonno, Director of Acquisitions at Lakeshore Entertainment; Zackary Gilyani (Talent Works L.A.); filmmaker Jacques Thelemaque (Filmmakers Alliance); Kelly Leow, Deputy Editor of MovieMaker Magazine; Sandra Seeling Lipski (Mallorca Film Festival); and Bobby Putka (Filmmaker).
On Saturday evening we present the Sierra Spirit Award to legendary Independent filmmaker John Sayles. The Sierra Spirit Award is a tribute to an iconic and visionary filmmaker who has crossed the divide from cult to mainstream success, broken boundaries, and created visionary work that has touched generations of film lovers. John Sayles exemplifies a passion for cinematic storytelling at its finest, with a deep sense of humanism and compassion for his characters. We are proud to present a screening of Mr. Sayles’s classic 1983 film BABY, IT’S YOU, followed by a conversation with Mr. Sayles and the Sierra Spirit Award presentation.
COLD BREATH – West Coast Premiere
DIRECTOR: Abbas Raziji (Iran)
A gritty, sensitive, beautifully-observed drama about a transsexual single parent who guards her secret as she grinds out a living and fights to keep good boundaries with the man who loves her, but gradually opens up to her employers when her daughter’s illness forces her into asking for help.
DIRECTOR: Kuba Czekaj (Poland)
Kuba Czekaj’s visually stunning and thought-provoking second film spatiates across science, psychology, wild emotion and fantasy: an extraordinarily gifted teenager is hounded by his ambitious mother to pursue a lucrative science prize, but their relationship is fraught with issues of control and overtones of emotional incest.
THE FIXER – West Coast Premiere
DIRECTOR: Adrian Sitaru (Romania)
Issues around the dubious ethics of a supposedly caring media come to the surface in this powerful new offering from Romanian New Wave director Adrian Sitaru: a local “fixer” in Transylvania negotiates rough human terrain to get a French TV crew an interview with a young Romanian woman who’s been repatriated after being forced into prostitution in France.
DIRECTOR: Louis Fonseca (United Kingdom)
An exciting new crop of up-and-comers from the British comedy and sketch circuit show off their chops in this charming, madcap comedy about a handsome but hapless 20-something forced to flee the city and hide out with a tribe of hippies after witnessing a brutal murder by a gang of criminal hairdressers.
DIRECTOR: Jerzy Rose (USA)
A group of awful idiots fail at throwing a party over and over.
DIRECTOR: Antonio Llapur (USA)
With a unique esthetic that puts raw, processed, punk-rock-esque live-action imagery into a richly detailed futuristic fantasy environment, this film noir parody follows an exiled space detective who returns to help an old flame but finds himself tangled in a web of interstellar intrigue, galactic gangsters, and a sinister scheme that threatens the very fate of the entire galaxy!
DIRECTOR: Adrian Murray (Canada)
An overconfident, confirmed slacker with a gift for dubious monologizing spends his time and energy in a series of hilariously small-scale and unlikely grifts as he strives to unlock the secret of his Rubik’s cube.
FOREVER B – World Premiere
DIRECTOR: Skye Borgman (USA)
The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naïve, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter.
EIGHT – U.S. Premiere
DIRECTOR: Marko Vuorinen (Finland)
Framed by stunning, high-contrast black and white cinematography, eight candid, articulate, thoughtful young Russian women share their most intimate feelings and insights about romantic relationships. A film about the unbearable lightness of being in love in contemporary St. Petersburg.
DIRECTOR: Chris Valdes & Ted Griswold (USA)
Manuel, a Honduran musician, writes and records a song for a local drug cartel, but when it becomes a hit a rival cartel puts a price on his head; he faces a harrowing escape from death and the prospect of trying to survive in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant.
DIRECTOR: Theo Anthony (USA)
A wise and charming exterminator guides us through a stylishly post-modern and painstakingly researched story about how rats-and the humans that love them, live with them, and kill them-mirror contemporary and historical class divisions in Baltimore.
DIRECTOR: Stefan Avalos (USA)
A backwoods dreamer from rural Ohio with a passion for Stradivarius violins challenges himself to create an exact copy of the most famous violin in the world, and has to race against time when he happens to meet an up-and-coming star violinist who wants to play the violin at a high-profile concert in Amsterdam.
DIRECTOR: Mike Day (United Kingdom)
Contemporary realities collide with deeply ingrained tradition in the spectacularly beautiful Faroe Islands, as the annual whale hunt is dramatically challenged by animal-rights activists (including Pamela Anderson) and the whale meat, a traditional local food, is found to be contaminated with mercury.
DIRECTOR: Cullen Hoback (USA)
Investigative filmmaker Cullen Hoback travels to West Virginia to uncover the truth behind a massive chemical spill that left 300,000 people without drinking water for months, and traces cover-ups and conspiracies all the way up to the highest levels of government.
DIRECTOR: Joshua Z Weinstein (USA)
Director Joshua Z Weinstein captures the rich textures of Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community in this tender drama, performed entirely in Yiddish, about a childlike, zaftig widower who struggles against his own depression and apathy to fight for the only thing he actually cares about: custody of his son.
DIRECTOR: Yuri Ancarani (Italy)
in this breathtakingly-shot, dreamlike film shot in Qatar, the world’s wealthiest country, the mega-rich are seen keeping a wild animal as a house-pet, driving a brand-new Lamborghini across the desert, riding in a biker gang with a solid-gold motorcycle, and flying in private jets to falconry competitions with their birds on luxurious perches.
DIRECTORS: Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles (USA)
An inspiring, resilient middle-aged woman with deep emotional scars and mild autism navigates the difficult path to intimacy with a kind Walmart door greeter who may or may not be able to fulfill her needs. Grand Jury Winner for best Documentary at Sundance 2017.
DIRECTOR: Rahul Jain (India)
A stunningly-shot, intimate, observant portrait of the rich textures and rhythms of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India reveals the punishing realities of making a living from manual labor in an environment where unions are systematically destroyed. Special Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography, Sundance 2017.
About Mammoth Lakes Film Festival
The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, held in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra of California, brings together world-class cinema, new filmmaking talent, industry veterans, and audiences from around the world to celebrate films amidst the inspiring natural beauty of Mammoth Lakes. Our intent is to unlock the imagination of the public by providing unique movie-going experiences while also supporting emerging filmmakers and giving them the opportunity to be inspired by our natural environment.
Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is proud to partner with sponsors who support the arts and emerging artists.
2017 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Sponsors include Honda, Panavision, RED Digital Cinema, Light Iron, Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mono County, Paul and Kathleen Rudder, Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa (preferred lodging partner), Alicia Vennos, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Blue Moon, and many others.
The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a DBA under Mammoth Lakes Foundation-the nonprofit Dave McCoy founded in 1989 (who also founded Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in 1953). Dave McCoy turns 102 years old this August and is excited to be a part of the third annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.
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