2015

the international TOPANGA FILM FESTIVAL

was CELEBRATED UNDER THE FULL MOON WITH OUTDOOR AND INDOOR FILM SCREENINGS,

VIRTUAL REALITY, WORKSHOPS, labs, PANELS AND A WEALTH OF ACTIVITIES

The 11th edition of the Topanga Film Festival featured a number of feature films as well as a 3D short film shortcase, a dance film showcase, experimental shorts & music videos, an international short film showcase, nature & wildlife shorts, and a youth film salon. 

In keeping with tradition, the Topanga Film Festival's Coveted Coyote Awards featured a wide range of creative talent vying for recognition in categories including: Best Nature & Wildlife short, Best Horror short, Best Animated short, Best Experimental short, Best Music Video, Best Dance Film, Best Screenplay, Best Short Film, Best Of Youth Salon, Best Documentary, and Best Narrative Feature.

Turn It Up by Choz Belen and Steven Nguyen  - Winner of Best Music Video

Turn It Up by Choz Belen and Steven Nguyen  - Winner of Best Music Video

Strangely In Love by Amin Matalqua - Winner of Best Narrative Feature

Love And A Lugwrench by Jeffrey Fleisig - Winner of Best Short

Love And A Lugwrench by Jeffrey Fleisig - Winner of Best Short

Hush by Michael Kehoe - Winner of Best Horror Short

Hush by Michael Kehoe - Winner of Best Horror Short

Miranda Robin, Film Festival Programming group, immersed in another world

In addition to films, this year’s theme Technology @ Play engaged audiences in a variety of experiences. A Virtual Reality tent featured VR producers Vrse, Two Bit Circus, New Deal Studios, xRez Studio, Hypnosis, ShapeSpaceVR and Fractal Frontiers invited by the Topanga Film Institute, and a VR lounge hosted by 3opolis featuring Underground Cardboard, Emblematic Group, Dandelion/Sleepy Penguin and Miranda Studios.

Futurist Ted Schilowitz, FOX  Photo: Jack Murphy

Audiences were invited to voice their thoughts at a Fishbowl Conversation with futurist Ted Schilowitz from FOX moderated by Festival Director Cari Ann Shim Sham, the Topanga Authors Group hosted a panel on the role of technology in screenwriting featuring legendary visual artist Matt Mahurin, Topanga Film Festival Founder Sara Baur Harding, and Mary Neely, creator of Wacko Smacko moderated by Kim Zante (TAG). 

Mary Neely and Sara Baur Harding  Photo : Deja Cross

Mary Neely and Matt Mahurin  Photo: Deja Cross

A video excerpt of the screening of Matt Mahurin's video for Tom Waits' "Hell Broke Luce". Click to watch!

Sara Baur's "Beyond Grace" premiered at the Festival, with an excerpt screened at the panel discussion. Click to watch!

One of the most attended panels discussed the role of women in the film industry featuring actress Johanna Watts, producer and actress Jennie Lew Tugend, and casting director Ronnie Yeskel, and was moderated by Devon Baur.

Photo: Jack Murphy

Photo: Jack Murphy

Executive Director Camilla Andersson hosted the panel "New Horizons - Exploring Storytelling in Virtual Reality", which featured Matthew Gratzner, New Deal Studios, Zachary Richter, Vrse / Vrse.works, Nancy Bennet, Two Bit Circus, Eric Hanson, XRez Studio and Anders Hjemdahl, Hypnosis and Fractal Frontiers. The panel showcased and discussed different approaches, philosophy and experiences from VR storytelling, ranging from sports at the Olympics to WWII dramas, 3D worlds and nature photography.

Concluding the panel, Camilla Andersson introduced the Topanga Film Institute's new VR media exploration program and series of talks - watch this space for more information!

Eric Hanson, XRez Studio, Anders Hjemdahl, Hypnosis/Fractal Frontiers, Nancy Bennet, Two Bit Circus, Zachary Richter, Vrse / Vrse.works, Matthew Gratzner, New Deal Studios.  Photo: Jack Murphy

Eric Hanson, XRez Studios, Anders Hjemdahl, Hypnosis/Fractal Frontiers, Nancy Bennet, Two Bit Circus, Zachary Richter, Vrse / Vrse.works, Matthew Gratzner, New Deal Studios, Camilla Andersson, Topanga Film Festival.  Photo: Jack Murphy

Events new to this year’s festival included live readings of excerpts from the winning scripts of the Screenplay Competition and RockSweat Fitness, a music-intensive fitness event.

Catherine Maclenahan leading the Script reading session.  Photo: Deja Cross

Festival Executive Producer Bruce Royer, Festival Director Cari Ann Shim Sham, and Festival Producer Liz Granite presents the Coveted Coyote Awards. Photo: Jack Murphy

The 2015 Festival featured an exciting mix of live music, theatrics and activities like the Festival's signature live silkscreening courtesy of Sparky Firepants, face and body painting by Cassandra “C-Love” Lambert, and circus and aerial performances from FOCUSfish. The Opening Night Gala party culminated with an outdoor screening under the stars of the Dance Film Showcase, now in its sixth year, featuring dance short films from around the world. 

After three days of celebrating creativity and innovation, the 2015 Topanga Film Festival came to a close with a Closing Night Awards Party, hosted by “Stuttering John” Melendez of The Howard Stern Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, featuring the 2015 Coveted Coyote Awards and music by Skip James & The Space Station.  



 

"Stuttering John" Melendez, Photo: Deja Cross

Skip James & The Space Station  Photo: Jack Murphy

Big thanks to the Festival team, all the artists, participants and visitors, and not least - to all the Festival volunteers!

Festival volunteers  Photo: Jack Murphy

Festival volunteers  Photo: Deja Cross