The Temecula Valley International Film Festival is still a few months out from its return after a brief hiatus, but event organizers are already opening up competitions and working on details of the event to make sure they make it enjoyable for the thousands of people who will come and watch various film exhibitions and musical pieces.
Temecula’s film festival, like many things across the Valley, has seen rapid growth and development. What was once a small town event of a couple hundred people has since evolved into a full-blown cinematic experience with independent productions, student films, youth-planned films and musical pieces from all over the country.
Tens of thousands of people have poured through the Temecula Tower Plaza Cinemas’ doors to see the various films and film projects, and often times it’s not unusual to see a famous actor or two among the crowd. But in spite of the festival’s successes, it was temporarily shuttered for a few reasons, according to its President Jo Moulton.
“I was tired,” Moulton said. “I’ve done it for 17 years and it was a combination of personal reasons.”
Moulton said that her work as a film festival organizer extended past Temecula. She could remember a time when she was working to organize three film festivals.
She worked on the Temecula and Anaheim festivals back to back in 2010 and had to be ready to start working on the Palm Springs festival at the start of 2011.
But then the amount of work associated with planning and executing the festivals wasn’t the only consideration when Moulton decided it was time for a break. The economic outlook for the region wasn’t great and a number of people that Moulton had typically depended on had moved out of the area and so the entire process of facilitating a festival would have been too difficult, she said.
But, she said, she decided to start preparing for the festival again last year and now it will be back in full force with some new components.
One of those components will be the marketplace, which will be located alongside the film festival. Moulton said the marketplace will provide visitors to the festival the opportunity to purchase items associated with the films they viewed as well as TVIFF souvenirs.
But that’s just one component the event organizer said she’s excited about. In addition to the new things the festival has to offer, old favorites will return.
Since the festival’s earliest days in the late ’90s, there’s been a student film competition where high school-aged students can submit a two to four minute short film that they’ve created.
This year’s theme for the student competition will be “The Future,” according to Jeff Waddleton.
Waddleton, who heads this year’s rendition of the competition, has a long history with the film festival. He got involved with it as a volunteer in 1997 through the radio station he worked at. Back then he shared an office with Jo, who also worked there, and the radio station was sponsoring the
He was recently asked to return to head the competition by Jo and was glad to be able to get involved in a leadership capacity, he said.
“I haven’t been a part of this in a long time,” Waddleton said. “But just coincidentally Jo and I made our way to each other and she asked me if I would like to be a part of this and I was pretty excited to get back into it.”
The competition picks 20 films from all submissions and the students get to attend a red carpet event and get to see their work exhibited during the course of the festival.
A panel of judges than picks the top films and the winner of first place earns a $500 award, according to Waddleton.
The competition coordinator said he’s most excited to see student submissions because he remembers when he was a student in the late ’70s and early ’80s when he enjoyed making short films with his older brother.
Since then the technology has changed; cameras have gotten better, special effects technology has gotten more accessible and adolescents are capable of accomplishing more with filming technology than they ever could a decade ago.
Waddleton said he’s excited by that.
“It’s a lot of fun now knowing that technology has advanced to the point where it’s easier for kids to make film,” he said. “And they get to express their creativity in a way that they don’t necessarily get to as part of a school curriculum.”
This year’s festival will take place on September 18-21 and will feature four days of screening contemporary feature length films, short films, student films, and documentaries.
For more information on this year’s upcoming Temecula Valley International Film Festival, visit www.tviff.com.