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Lights, camera ... local filmmakers showcase their work

Repertory East Playhouse hosts Film Festival

Posted: January 11, 2009 8:49 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Filmmakers Danielle Jacobs and Ben Staley, of Valencia, discuss their film "Boy/Man," a Best of Festival nominee at the fourth annual Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival.

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Some were black and white silent films that danced to playful music. Others were high school newscasts morphed into documentaries.

Filmmakers from Santa Clarita and beyond showcased their work at the fourth annual Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival, a four-day event that ended Sunday at the Repertory East Playhouse in downtown Newhall.

Film festival organizers screened hundreds of films to slim the number to about 70 films competing for a handful of trophies.

"We get films from filmmakers all over the world," said Ramon Hamilton, executive director of the film festival. "The professional and collegiate filmmakers get to have a general audience view their films and the students get to see professional films, so it works for everybody."

This year's festival is the Santa Clarita Valley's best one to date, he said.

"We had little children and seniors and everything in between," he said. "It's been a very good mix of audience."

And the Santa Clarita Valley has no shortage of filmmakers, he said.

"This is definitely a creative area," he said. "What's really cool is the junior highs and high schools have film and video programs, which a lot of schools don't. We're just trying to nurture that and give them an opportunity to share their work outside of their school setting."

Valencia resident Danielle Jacobs was in Idaho with her boyfriend shooting a commercial when they realized they had to take advantage of the beautiful scenery. A movie just had to be made, she said.

Her 11-minute film "Boy/Man" was nominated for the Best of Festival category.

While in Idaho, they looked around at the resources available to them in rural farm country: a tractor and a few actors. So they created a film about a boy who rented a tractor to dig a hole and bury his most treasured childhood possession - a teddy bear - to allow himself to grow into a man.

"Usually it goes story, then location, then you figure out what equipment to use, but we sort of did it in reverse," she said. "We looked around us and said, ‘OK, what can we create here?' We built the story line around that."

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