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The Paso Robles Digital Film Festival, planned for Nov. 20 through 25

The Paso Robles Digital Film Festival, planned for Nov. 20 through 25 will honor highly regarded film-editor Joel Cox with a Lifetime Achievement Award, named after one of Paso Robles, California’s best-known historic guests and residents, the classical concert pianist and popular musical super-star from the Turn of the Century, The virtuoso piano performances of Ignace Paderewski (1860--1941), were once known world wide. Also the Prime Minister of Poland, he was the first soloist to perform on the opening night of Carnegie Hall in 1891. This Statesman was known for his brilliant, sensitive playing, tossing his long hair as he pounded on the piano keys.. In 1913, when his career was about to end because his hands would no longer play due to neuritis, a friend suggested he go to Paso Robles, California, to heal his hands in the natural hot springs there, with their healing minerals and unique water-qualities.
Over the years he visited Paso many times, and bought land as well. In the early 1920s, he planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel wine-grapes on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard, and brought much attention to the area as a wine region. He is said to have traveled by private rail car along with his piano to practice, and was known to have been a Paso Robles resident for at least eight years, enjoying the fabulous Old World elegance of the once-glorious Paso Robles Inn of that era. Paso Robles has celebrated it’s own Paderewski Festival for about ten years. The choice to create an award named for Paderewski, is based in part on the festival’s theme of ‘Music In Film’, and also honors the city’s history. Academy-Award-winning film-editor Joel Cox will be the first recipient of the ‘Ignace Paderewski Lifetime Achievement Award for Contribution to the World of Music and Movies’.
Adding to this special tribute, along with the great list of folks from Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Music Machine, the festival is honored to give this award to Joel Cox. Joel Cox (Editor) has worked with actor and film-maker Clint Eastwood for more than 30 years, on films that include "Bird," "Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall," Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends," and co-edited Clint Eastwood's "Piano Blues." Joel has been editor on movies like “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Mystic River,” “Blood Work,” “Space Cowboys,” “True Crime,” “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” “Absolute Power,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “A Perfect World,” and “Unforgiven,” for which he won an Academy Award for Best Editor in 1992. Cox has spent his entire career at Warner Bros. starting in 1961, most notably on Eastwood’s films. The relationship began in 1975 when Cox worked as an assistant editor on “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” Since then, he has cut 30 more films that have, in some combination, either starred, been produced or directed by Clint Eastwood. “Sudden Impact” was Cox’s first film as editor, a title he has held ever since on such films as “Tightrope,” “Pale Rider,” “Heartbreak Ridge,” “The Dead Pool,” “Pink Cadillac,” “White Hunter, Black Heart,” and “The Rookie.”
Joel has been working in film since appearing as a baby in “Random Harvest” (1942). His first film as an assistant editor was on the 1969 film “The Wild Bunch” directed by Sam Peckinpah. He just finished the soon-to-be-released Eastwood film "Changeling," and presently is working on "Gran Torino", staring and directed by Eastwood. Bacon Brothers Band Kyle Eastwood Band Ramblin' Jack Elliott Seasoned event promoter Benford Standley, some San Luis Obispo County folks, film makers, students, and an extended network of friends and associates from Nashville, to Austin, and Hollywood, are going to show up here in cowboy wine-country, with what promises to be a first-class film festival debut. The kick-off theme is ‘Music In Film’, which means that aside from dozens of digital screenings of films and documentaries with the music front-and-center, there will also be a number of outstanding Jazz, Rock and Country-Western performances by well-known personalities and bands. Headlining acts include The Bacon Brothers featuring actor Kevin Bacon and his brother and musician Michael Bacon, recipient of the President’s National Medal of Arts and Grammy-winning legend Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the ‘Kyle Eastwood Band’ (featuring the son of film-star Clint Eastwood), as well as a special guest appearance by The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet. Also featured will be gigs with musician Jack Tempchin, (songwriter singer and recorded by the The Eagles), legendary guitarist Norm Stephens (who played with Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard), Harold Jackson, (the only surviving member to be recruited by the original ‘Ink-Spots’), Grammy Winner Louie Ortega, and many other award winning and notable music-makers.
Other ‘big surprise’ musical guests To-Be-Announced. Aside from cozy venues like Level Four, Hotel Cheval, Firefly Gallery, Matt’s Music, Paso Robles Inn, Franklin’s Hot-Springs, and others To-Be- Announced, where the music and screenings will take place, the festival will feature a 2,000-seat circus-tent stage for musicians and bands, and the Wild West Film Fest and Awards Concert. In addition to world-premieres of films by emerging filmmakers from all over the globe, with films already submitted from over a dozen foreign countries, a number of classic films and music documentaries will be viewed on a rotating schedule, during the festival.
A very special ‘Make My Saturday’ screening, paying tribute to the musical and cinematic genius of Clint Eastwood, will screen Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends, with director Bruce Ricker, and Academy-Award-winning Editor Joel Cox attending the screening, as well as the Martin Scorsese Presents/A Film by Clint Eastwood and producer Bruce Ricker, Piano Blues. Bruce Ricker will also serve as advisor to the film festival. The festival is fortunate also to be joined by Piano Blues co-editor, Gary Roach; also Lennie Niehaus, Emmy-winning and conductor/arranger/musician, who played with Stan Kenton and now is Eastwood’s long-time composer; Joe Hyams, legendary PR-man at Warner Brothers, who began doing Eastwood’s press in 1971; and others from the Malpaso Music Machine. On Saturday during the festival, the festival will screen the 1980 Clint Eastwood film, Bronco Billy, for kids and family, and Honkytonk Man, directed by Eastwood and starring himself and son Kyle Eastwood. MAKE MY SATURDAY
Other classic documentaries to be screened are Martin Scorsese’s 1978 film, The Last Waltz, with some of rock-n-rolls’ most well-known talent, along with film-maker D. A. Pennebacker’s Don’t Look Back, on the legend of Bob Dylan (and other films about Dylan). Jonathan Demme’s film, Neil Young: Heart of Gold will be viewed, as well as the 2004 film, The Festival Express, which chronicles a concert-tour with Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, The Band, and other rock-legends. The 2006 film, Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads from director Hector Galen who will be in attendance at the screening, along with The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack from director Aiyana Elliott (2000), with Jack Elliott himself also on-hand. Other films will be announced, with some special surprises and rare documentaries and features, part of event-promoter Standley’s commitment to what he calls “the unknown history of the music world”. Standley, with advice from local authorities on children and youth, is planning to donate a percentage of all proceeds from the festival to benefit some to-be named youth programs in Paso Robles. He is already setting up a link with Kevin Bacon's charity organization, sixdegrees.com, paypal.com and ebay.com, to network with this charitable element of the event, and direct other funds and donations to charity. Area youth from the High School will be involved with the actual production of the Festival. Paso Robles, California, is located about 210-miles South of San Francisco, or 230- miles North of Los Angeles, and is historic for its natural hot-springs, Old West history (such as the legend of Jesse James), and 26,000-acres of California’s best wine grapes. The town is located directly on U.S. Highway 101, with numerous high-quality hotels, fine restaurants, wine-tasting venues, and the popular California Mid-State Fairgrounds.

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