Topanga film festival announces 2015 program

TFF'15 explores "technology @ Play" with movies and more 

Topanga, CA (July 13, 2015) - The Topanga Film Festival, presented by the Topanga Film Institute and Royer Studios, celebrates its 11th edition with outdoor screenings on the ball field and screenings inside the Community House at the Topanga Canyon Community Club, July 30 - August 2.

The festival kicks off July 30 with an Opening Night Gala that includes live music and theatrics by roving performers, TFF’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 event culminates with an outdoor screening of the Dance Film Showcase, now in its sixth year, featuring short dance films from around the world.

 This year’s film showcases include:

3D Short Films

Dance Film Showcase

Experimental Shorts & Music Videos

International Short Film Showcase

Nature & Wildlife Shorts

Youth Salon

The 11th Edition of the Topanga Film Festival proudly presents the following five feature films in its program:

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night presented by Elijah Wood (Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour)

The Fez – World Premiere (Directed by Roxanne Shelaby

Inside Peace (Directed by Cynthia Fitzpatrick)

The Shoot (Directed by John Adams, Toby Poser)

Strangely In Love – Los Angeles Premiere (Directed by Amin Matalqa)

The Topanga Film Festival is honored to host the World Premiere of The Fez, a documentary film about the first supper club dedicated to Arab Culture on the West Coast, whose presence launched the belly dance explosion in the States. The night will feature live belly dancing and Arabic music with Director, Roxanne Shelaby, and stars Sahara Kent, Jawaher, Antionette Khoury Smit, Anisa, and Feiruz Aram in attendance.

Strangely in Love directed by Amin Matalqa, will make its Los Angeles premiere on the TCC Ball Field. The director will attend along with Producer, Ian Nelms, and film stars Sean Carrigan, Michelle Lang, Jemuel Morris, and Amanda Plummer. The Controversy, who composed the song “Simple Love” for the film will entertain audiences with pre-show performance, followed by an acoustic performance after the screening.

This year’s theme, Technology @ Play, engages audiences in a variety of experiences in addition to showing films. A Virtual Reality Tent hosted by the Topanga Film Institute will feature VR content provided by the 3D Film Festival, 3opolis, and Hypnosis Interactive. Michael Mansouri of Radiant Images, Michael Kintner and Bill McDonald of 360Heros, and special guests discuss the role of technology in filmmaking at the Technology Roundtable. Audiences are invited to voice their thoughts at a Fishbowl Conversation with Futurist and CinemaVangelist, Ted Schilowitz. The Topanga Authors Group hosts a panel on the role of technology in screenwriting, and Edgelight Films addresses the gender gap in the film industry with a moderated discussion.

Events new to this year’s festival include a live reading of excerpts from the winning scripts of the Screenplay Competition and RockSweat Fitness, a music-intensive fitness event that merges the adrenaline rush of a killer workout with the one you get at a concert.

The weekend’s activities come 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. Coveted Coyote Awards will be given to films and scripts in competition, followed by a celebration of cinema, community, and creativity, featuring music by Skip James & The Space Station.  

TFF’15 program and tickets available at

Festival images and film stills available upon request to

Founders: Urs Baur & Sara Baur-Harding Executive Producer: Bruce Royer Director: Cari Ann Shim Sham* Producer: Liz Granite                 Technical Director: William Preston Bowling Programmers: Sara Baur-Harding, Liz Granite, Chris Jones, Catherine McClenahan, Miranda Robin, Rebecca Rogers, Don Schneider, Cari Ann Shim Sham*





 The 2015 Topanga Film Festival invites audiences to play with announcement of this year’s theme: Technology at Play

Topanga, CA (May 2, 2015) – The 11th Annual Topanga Film Festival, presented by the Topanga Film Institute and Royer Studios, has partnered with the VR Lounge & 3D Film Festival to bring 3D, 360-degree filming, and virtual reality to Topanga in an exploration of “Technology at Play”, July 30th – August 2nd.  

“In my own artistic investigations I'm constantly working with technology, experimentation and the act of play as a portal through which we can each have our own creative experiences and expressions,” said TFF Director, Cari Ann Shim Sham*. “I am excited to bring this philosophy to the festival this year and offer people to engage in technology in new ways to advance the art of filmmaking, inspire wild ideas, and ultimately to better our understanding of ourselves.”

Royer Studios once again lends its support to the conceptualization and implementation of TFF as a community celebration.

“Our team of organizers and volunteers work tirelessly to offer a fresh and playful experience each year. I anticipate this will be our best event yet,” said Bruce Royer, TFF Executive Producer.

Programming highlights include a Technology Roundtable with industry leaders, Michael Mansouri of Radiant Images, Michael Kitner of Hero 360, Arctic Bear Productions’ Adam Ravetch, and the team at Specular Theory; a drone flying lecture and demo with Bill Macdonald, NOGI award-winner and top drone pilot in the States; 3D films; and virtual reality experiences.

Infusing a dose of “play” into the festival, Focus Fish aerial performers will perform live circus acts in the Big Top Screening Tent with Lexi Pearl and Two Men and Three Balls. TFF’s signature live silk screening station returns, courtesy of Sparky Firepants, providing TFF attendants with the chance to transform any piece of clothing into a TFF memento. Wandering minstrels will roam the campus to delight audiences with live acoustic music.

RockSweat Fitness has partnered with TFF for a music-intensive fitness event where participants can get a full-body workout led by a live DJ, plus a booming sound system, visuals, and a bit of music history.

New to the festival this year are experimental films, music videos, horror shorts, 3D shorts, nature & wildlife, and renewable energies programs. A new partnership with Edgelight Features features TFF’s first Women in Cinema Roundtable.

The Fireside Chat returns to provide intimate insight into the creative mind of this year’s to-be-announced special guest. International shorts showcase, youth salon, feature narrative and documentary categories, and the dance film showcase all return to TFF’s line-up.

This year’s festival will be held at the Topanga Community Center on the full moon weekend of July 30th – August 2nd.  Attendants can look forward to two screening areas, along with an interactive technology tent, the coyote lounge, catered food court, beer garden, and chocolate café.

Topanga Film Festival is directed by Cari Ann Shim Sham*, produced by Liz Granite, executive produced by Bruce Royer, under the technical direction of William B. Bowling, and inspired by Founders, Urs and Sara Baur.

The programming team includes Don Schneider, Chris Crescitelli, Liz Granite, Miranda Robin, Sara Baur, Catherine McClenahan, Rebecca Rogers, and Cari Ann Shim Sham*.