Highland Park's Homegrown Film Fest Flourishes | NBC Southern California

Highland Park's Homegrown Film Fest Flourishes

Indie treats and filmmaker chats flower on Figueroa.

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    Highland Park Film Festival
    A peek back at a past Highland Park Independent Film Festival to-do reveals a film-fun night on Figueroa. The 2014 festival unfurls at the Highland Theatre from Thursday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 12.

    For cineastes wild for the art of moviemaking, planning and launching and running a robust film festival can have challenges outside whether there's enough butter for the popcorn machine.

    On the one hand you want to rock that magical quality of "cred," whatever that may mean (but it means a lot for film lovers who value an authentic spirit). But you want to be known wide, in a close community, and, if you're lucky, land in a neighborhood that many film professionals call home.

    Enter the Highland Park Independent Film Festival, a relatively newer kid on the film fest block that's managed to make true creative connections in and around its Figueroa Street location. Set to unspool from Thursday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 12, the HPFF will feature up-and-coming flicks over the four-dayer, including a number of films made by people who live within shouting distance of the Highland Theatre.

    Community? Cred? Check and check.

    "Water and Power," a flick set in East LA and directed by Richard Montoya, opens the festival on Oct. 9. "Hay Days," "Bella Vita," and a calvalcade of short films shall follow.

    Festival organizers shall Q&A with filmmakers and people involved with the movies, and, as is festival tradition, hobnobbing and the making of fruitful connections -- fingers crossed -- should be in full force. (Disclosure: The fest's graphic designer, Luisa Frias, is a pal to this blogger.)

    In the capital of moviedom, not every neighborhood, or even city, boasts its own film festival or way to showcase the movie-creating locals who call the immediate area home. Those that do, however, like the HPIFF, keep that close-to-the-ground good vibery flowing while building a wider name in a city where one or two filmmakers happen to live.

    May such cred-blessed cinema gatherings forever grow upon LA soil. And, big mondo festivals? You're good, too, but keep looking to local fests for all the right ways to keep it real.

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