‘PRDFF FESTIVAL FOLLOW-UP:
BACK TO THE FUTURE FOR NEW FILM FESTIVAL SUCCESS’
Dec. 8, 2008
Follow-up reviews and word-of-mouth participant’s praise-and-comments are ‘in’
for the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival (PRDFF), which wrapped up five days of films,
music and digital-dreams on. Nov. 25 in beautiful Paso Robles, California. And the word
is: “What a festival!” Local community leaders, a laundry-list of celebrity contributors,
attendees, and even festival organizer Benford Standley, all agree that Paso Robles’ first
ever ‘real’ film-festival, was a great time for everyone, carried off at a far higher-level of
technical and venue excellence than might have been expected for a first-time festival.
Meanwhile, the PRDFF has announced that next year’s festival will take place on
October 29 through November 2, 2009.
No one is harder-to-please than a ‘famous’ Hollywood movie-star or film-maker.
But check out this list of ‘who’s-who’ among the many well-known faces and names that
made the scene at the PRDFF in November: film-star Clint Eastwood, producer Nigel
Sinclair, Elton John’s songwriter Bernie Taupin, actor Kevin Bacon and his brother
Michael Bacon, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, ‘60’s rock-favorite Johnny Rivers, ‘Eagles’-
songwriter Jack Tempchin, jazz-music’s Kyle Eastwood, Oscar-winning film-editor Joel
Cox, former world-champion bull-rider Gary Leffew, eight-time World Champion All-
Around Cowboy Larry Mahan, Texas balladeer John Andrew Parker, the entire
‘Malpaso’ film-team for many of Clint Eastwood’s films, (including producer Bruce
Ricker and many others), singer Louie Ortega, the Digital Film Society’s James Mathers,
actor Gary Conway, producer Chuck Banner, Merle Haggard’s guitar-player Norm
Stephens, and also spotted were Justin McBride, Tony James, Cass Warner, Nashville
singer Kacey Musgrave, film composers Richard Bellis and George Wilkins, blues
guitarist K.M. Williams, Kenny Lewis, Steve Miller's guitar player---
along with many other equally-talented individuals.
Has the little California country-town of Paso Robles ever seen so many celebrated
individuals?? Maybe not all at once! Aside from these more well-known performers and
artists, the PRDFF was attended by many of the ‘new-and-emerging’ film-makers whose
films were screened---and some folks who we still don’t quite know who they were!
Attendance for the festival is still being estimated, and will be announced. With
numerous events in various locations around the town, many local hotels were sold-out
with PRDFF guests from out-of-town. Local countywide newspapers, magazines, TV and
radio, and Internet outlets, all carried articles and news about the event, as well as
national media, including items on the Daily Variety film-festival news websites, items
for Hollywood Reporter weekly magazine information outlets, E!-Entertainment News,
and others. Throughout the festival, from early in the day until late into the evening,
visitors and locals enjoyed panel-discussions, digital-screenings of fabulous ‘new’ or rare
films and documentaries, fantastic concerts, and the great night-club scene around town
in the evening.
“Nobody was ever all in one place at one time,” said festival founder and veteran concert-promoter Benford Standley. “I think there may have been even more in attendance than I
thought. Clint (Eastwood) came in, and he stayed the whole afternoon. He walked around
town meeting people, just hanging out.
I did have comments from everyone that the quality of the films that were screened was excellent.” For Eastwood fans, specific movie-star ‘tracking’ info reveals that Mr. Eastwood
was present at the Paso Robles Inn to bestow an award to his long-time film-editor Joel
Cox, and then spent time at the ‘Crooked Kilt’ bar, followed by a visit to the Villa Toscana
suites, and later to enjoy the jazz-concert by his son Kyle at the large music-performance
tent at the Weyrich Winery. Mr. Eastwood later celebrated with a private dinner shared with PRDFF staff and members of his Malpaso film-making team, and stayed the night at the Villa Toscana suites. Mr. Eastwood drove himself in his own private vehicle around town during his stay, according to Standley.
Monday during the festival marked the beginning of a great tradition within the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival – the 3-D Indie Film Expo. 3-D filmmakers, enthusiasts, technical experts, and newcomers to the stereoscopic world enjoyed a day of screenings, demonstrations and mingling at the Park Ballroom, in downtown Paso Robles. Content was presented via linear polarized 3-D stereo projection and a pair of Optima projectors courtesy of the Stereo Club of Southern California and projected on a large silver screen by the club's Movie Division Chair, John Hart. "The Desktop 3-D Revolution" a panel discussion on do-it-yourself 3-D moviemaking, was moderated by world renowned 3-D filmmaker, comics publisher, and 3-D film historian, Ray Zone and comprised of 3-D filmmakers and technical experts "California" John Hart, Eric Kurland, and Tom Koester. One such newcomer was music legend Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who gave an impromptu recollective interview which was shot in 3-D!
The festival had 400 short-films, feature-films, and documentaries, entered for
competition and screenings. In November alone, the PRDFF website could boast of
600,000 Internet ‘hits’. Festival-winners are listed on the website at www.prdff.com.
Winners will receive a bottle of local Paso Robles wine, with a special wine-label design
featuring the film-maker’s name and award-category, as well as a separate certificate
from the festival.
Among the guests on-hand for various screenings were at least a few Los
Angeles-based film-distribution company representatives (such as Tom Luong from the
Central Film Company), and some ‘new’ film-makers may be surprised to receive release
offers on their work.. Many hours of Hi-Def film-footage were recorded by producer
Chuck Banner’s team, also from Los Angeles, to create a documentary-style DVD about
the event. Standley said that Banner was so delighted with the beauty and old-California
style of the Paso Robles area, that he’s even considering moving his well-known
production company up this way.
So, was the PRDFF debut engagement a real success, or just a lucky break? “I
was honored to be able to host Clint Eastwood,” said Standley. “And I was pleased that it
all worked here in town. There were no complaints, as far as the town, and many people
felt they had made a real discovery to learn what a magic place this beautiful area really
is. This was definitely not a traditional film-festival.”
What Standley and his PRDFF-team have in store for the coming year, will be
detailed in announcements soon. A year-round series of independent-film screenings is
planned at the local Carmody-McKnight Winery, where actor, painter and film-maker
Gary Conway will host bi-monthly digital film-viewings for local fans, in the spirit of the
festival. Sponsors for next year’s regular PRDFF are already in-line for Benford’s
funding goal of $3-million.
An email PRDFF newsletter is planned , with updates and information. Locals and others will
be looking forward to the Paso Robles Digital Music Festival Benford has scheduled for
May 29 through 31, 2009. Music acts such as ZZ-Top, the Flatlanders, and Ramblin’ Jack
Elliott, and others, are all possible headliners for this new ‘digital music’ event---all part of the PRDFF’s on-going event series.
Standley says his new festival for Paso Robles can be the ideal geographic midpoint
for the legendary Silicon Valley world of digital entertainment and electronic media
to the North, and the star-studded world of Hollywood and the Big Studio film-industry
to the South in Los Angeles. Paso Robles is almost exactly mid-way between these two
areas---and it’s also a wonderful country atmosphere of natural hot-springs, wineries,
lakes, hills and valleys, easy beach-access, and plenty of cows, horses and farms.
“The vision that I have is that this festival can be the connecting point for these
two huge industries,” Standley said.
Please visit the PRDFF website at www.prdff.com for contact information and
more details and up-dates.
who was thar
Ramblin' Jack Elliott
John Andrew Parks
Susan Morgan Cooper
Good Man Down