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Meet filmmakers at Smogdance Film Festival

The Smogdance Film Festival will expand its program this year to include informal discussions with filmmakers, whose work will be screened during the three-day festival, April 24 to 26, at the historic Pomona Fox Theater in Pomona, California.
Among the filmmakers scheduled to attend are Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Saul Landau; director Paul Hendry (and most of his cast and crew) from the comedy, The Re-Bourne Identity; and Mexican director Alonso Alvarez Barreda, whose film, The Story of a Sign, won the 2008 Cannes Short Film Competition.
“We are thrilled that so many filmmakers have responded and will attend the after-screening parties,” says Charlotte Cousins, director of the Smogdance Film Festival. “We’ve been trying to expand the scope of the festival each year, and we hope the addition of the Q and A sessions will give the audiences and filmmakers a chance to interact and explore the artistic and technical processes behind these films.”
The discussions will be part of the “After Festival Parties,” held each night at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona immediately following the final screenings. Winners of the audience choice awards also will be announced at the parties, which will feature music and refreshments and are free and open to the public.
The Smogdance Film Festival will celebrate its 11th anniversary with an eclectic mix of animation, documentaries, comedies and short dramas. Of the record-breaking 280 submissions this year, 46 films will be presented representing local talent, as well as filmmakers from nine states, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Iran.
Festival hours are from 7-10 p.m., Friday April 24, and Saturday April 25, and from 5-8 p.m. on Sunday April 26. Doors open a half hour before each show. Awards will be presented for student and non-student work in best animation, best open experimental and best comedy.
Screening location: Pomona Fox Theater, 301 S. Garey Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766.
After Festival Party: dA Center for the Arts, 252-D S Main St
Pomona CA 9176.
Ticket information: Tickets are now available online at Tickets also may be purchased at the door during the festival. Daily admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Festival Passes are available for $20, and $16 respectively.
About the theater: The Pomona Fox Theater opened in 1931 as one of the jewels of the Fox West Coast Theaters chain. The first-run theater, which once hosted test screenings for the major studios and live shows featuring Bob Hope and Shirley Temple, was renovated by Arteco Partners. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater will reopen in April with a sneak preview fundraiser.
About the dA: The dA Center for the Arts is a community nonprofit organization that has been promoting the arts in Pomona since 1984. Contact information: dA Center for the Arts, 909-397-9716,

The following filmmakers are scheduled to appear at the After Festival Parties.

Friday, April 24

Paul Hendry and (almost) the entire cast and crew, The Re-Bourne Identity (comedy) – Local filmmaker Hendry will bring members of his cast and crew to the festival and after-screening party to discuss their comic take on a day in the life of a man of mystery, intrigue and danger.

Douglas Hunter, The Constant Process (documentary) - Hunter, a Mormon filmmaker, wrote and directed The Constant Process, a timely film that explores the spiritual and personal journey of Susan Russell, a lesbian Episcopalian priest. The subsequent friendship between Russell and Hunter, and Hunter’s decision to join the fight against Proposition 8, the California initiative banning gay marriage, were described in the Los Angeles Times last winter.

Franz Keller. Puppets of War; Zebulon (animation) – A returning Smogdance filmmaker, Keller studied film and media design at UCLA, and at the California College of the Arts and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. A local artist and filmmaker, Keller also is a video jockey (VJ) and produces music videos representing an eclectic range of rock and experimental bands.

Brett Meyer, Holding Hands (open/experimental) – Meyer, a filmmaker in his senior year at Cal State Fullerton, wrote and directed this story of young lovers as they struggle with family, friends and society to overcome the obstacles of being an interracial couple.

Leigh Richert, Detroit: Not For Wimps (comedy) - Richert moved to California after graduating from Michigan State University. He earned a Masters at the University of Southern California, where he created this charming and funny look at brotherly love as his thesis project.

Francesca Roveda, Tents, The Patchwork Project (documentary) - After 25 years as a professional potter, Roveda began pursuing a new passion—documentary filmmaking. Tents, The Patchwork Project, documents a communal art project between children in the United States and in Darfur refugee camps. One of the tents depicted in the film was created by the Pomona Tents Project, organized by local Pomona Arts Colony member Cheri Savoie.

Saturday, April 24

Eric Alexander-Hughes, Filth (open/experimental) - A senior at Claremont High School, Alexander-Hughes has been making films since he was 10 years old. His latest is a six-minute short that explores the theme of forgiveness. Alexander-Hughes, who will attend film school at San Francisco State University next fall, is currently working as intern on The Book of Eli, directed by his father and uncle (Allen and Albert Hughes).

Steven Bentley, Helping Hand (comedy) - An award-winning L.A. filmmaker, Bentley wrote and directed this comedic short about a man’s nerve-wracking effort to help his friends, Laura and Roxy, start a family.

Danny Grossman, Tossers (comedy) - Grossman is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and one of the founding members of the SoCal Film Group, a collective of filmmakers in the Los Angeles Area. A returning Smogdance filmmaker, Grossman’s mockumentary tells the “true-ish” story of the worlds 4th Annual Gay Frisbee Dancing competition.

Saul Landau, We Don't Play Golf Here (documentary) - Landau is an internationally-known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on foreign and domestic policy issues. He was a longtime commentator on Pacifica Radio, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 1980 Emmy. His documentary uses Mexico as a microcosm of how foreign investments in Third World export factories distort both the culture and environment. Landau is Professor Emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona University.

Amir Motlagh, Plain Us (open/experimental) - Motlagh, who made his debut at the 2004 Smogdance film festival, tells a poignant story of a touring rock musician who gets a glimpse of what his life might have been like when he returns to his hometown to visit his estranged girlfriend and child. Motlagh studied film at Chapman University, where he received a Masters in motion picture directing.

Kalani Queypo, Ancestor Eyes – (open/experimental) Queypo was awarded a production grant from the Southern California Indian Center for Ancestor Eyes, which tells the story of a young Native American woman and her mother, who both must come to terms with the young woman's illness. Pain turns into a source of inspiration, igniting her mother's gift for storytelling and ultimately paving a path of magical transformations

Sunday, April 26

Alonso Alvarez Barreda, Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) (open/experimental) - Mexican director Alvarez Barreda was one of the winners of the 2008 Cannes Short Film Competition for his short film, which wordlessly shows how a stranger’s pen changes the life of a homeless blind man. The Story of a Sign was one of nine films selected out of 650 submitted to the competition.

Matthew Bowler, Teresa (documentary) - A graduate in motion picture/television direction from the Academy of Art, San Francisco, Bowler returned to his Denver roots in 2003. Teresa, which marks his directorial debut, is an uplifting look at an 18-year-old girl with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a debilitating disease that causes fragile bones.


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