IDYLLWILD – The Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, which runs March 9-15, will open its 2020 schedule with feature drama “Song of Love” from Beijing filmmaker Peng Jun. The movie, based on real events, takes place during the great famine which devastated China in 1959.
Also, on the opening day agenda is a stylish and beautiful retelling of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights,” a joint U.K. and U.S. production filmed in the British landscapes of Bronte’s classic novel.
Both films, along with a full schedule of features, short films and documentaries from six continents, will screen during the festival’s official opening day, Tuesday, March 10, with Monday, March 9, being a soft opening spotlighting top animation entries.
Festival executive producer Trinity Houston explained that 2020’s roster of films will place emphasis on short films and the artists who create them, while remaining focused on new and original feature film work by some of the most visionary directors in the world of independent film.
2020 also marks the first year that a full 50% of the selected film directors, and over 60% of the producers, are women, which falls in line with IIFC’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, culminating from a decade long partnership with the Mary Austin Foundation, shining a light on women worldwide in the arts of directing, producing and screenwriting.
Native American filmmakers are also honored with the Summerhawk Native Film Awards, begun five years ago by festival director Stephen Savage and Irene Bedard of “WestWorld,” “Longmire” and the voice of Disney’s “Pocahontas,” who is also a member of the IIFC grand jury.
The IIFC grand jury consists of some of the industry’s most well recognized artists, including Anne Archer of “Fatal Attraction” and “Patriot Games;” Roger Taylor, the drummer and co-writer of rock group Queen, who heads up the original motion picture score awards; Wolfgang Bodison of “A Few Good Men” and “CSI;” actor Monte Markham of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Melrose Place;” cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchia of “Glengarry, Glen Ross” and “At Close Range;” actress Erika Christensen of “Traffic” and “Parenthood” and Bedard.
The festival’s advisory board includes actress Sondra Currie of “The Hangover 1, 2, 3” and “The Fugitive” and her husband, television director Alan J. Levi of “NCIS” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”
The festival takes place
Idyllwild 2020 will spotlight over 100 films from around the globe in its week long run in Idyllwild, a mountain village atop Mount San Jacinto, two hours east of Los Angeles.
The 11th annual IDY Awards Ceremony will close out the festival Sunday, March 15, at Golden Era Productions in Gilman Hot Springs, 30 minutes down the hill from Idyllwild.
The awards event is attended by 400-500 filmmakers and guests, and Idyllwild itself lacks a venue to hold that size a crowd. Golden Era Productions is one of the festivals sponsors, as is the Riverside County Film Commission.
The films are screened at the Rustic Theatre and smaller venues in downtown Idyllwild. Both are historic landmark venues and have been hosting the festival since its inception.
Called “The Greatest Little Film Festival On Earth” by the LA Weekly and “A Mini Sundance” by the Hollywood Reporter,” Idyllwild is one of California’s fastest growing film festivals and has been in the eye of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a possible Oscar qualifying film fest in the near future.
Other notable films to watch for in the IIFC 2020 line up include: “Faith Based,” a parody of religious moras starring Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and comedian Margaret Cho; Russian entry “Inner Fire,” about a wayward drug dealer in the post-Soviet era; “Losing Lerato,” a South African thriller from director Sanele Zulu; “Los Angeles Anthology,” an episodic feature from American Filmmaker Emily Svensson and “Child Bride,” a heart-wrenching story reflecting the plight of young girls married off to much older men in middle eastern and now some western societies.
Submitted by Idyllwild International Film Festival.