My husband and I are back from a fantastic long weekend at the 25th Lone Pine Film Festival!
This was our first visit to the festival, and I can't underline enough what a good time we had. Anyone who loves classic films, most especially Westerns, will want to put the Lone Pine Film Festival on a "must do" list.
The Lone Pine Film Festival is a mixture of movie screenings, filmmaker interviews and lectures, location tours, book signings, and meet-and-greets.
Readers know how much I love the annual TCM Classic Film Festival; what distinguishes the Lone Pine Film Festival and makes it unique is its intimacy and its historic setting, taking place where so many movies were actually filmed.
The special guests are all very accessible throughout the weekend at the festival's main venues, the Lone Pine Film History Museum, the Lone Pine High School Auditorium and Quad across the street from the museum, and "The Building," the community center where the guests can often be found in between their appearances.
Lone Pine is a very small town; Main Street can be walked end to end in a matter of minutes, and the festival venues are thus all within easy walking distance of one another, as well as the historic Dow Villa Motel, where many festival attendees stay.
In fact, if you stay at the Dow, as we did, you are pretty much guaranteed to also run into the festival's featured guests in the parking lot on a daily basis! Just this morning we said hello to Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt as we were on our way to breakfast. This all combines to give the festival a very congenial and personal atmosphere.
Hundreds of movies were filmed in the Alabama Hills and other areas immediately outside of Lone Pine, and one of the unique opportunities at the festival is the ability to watch a film and then hop on a bus to visit the locations just seen in the movie.
This year the tours included locations seen in GUNGA DIN (1939) and BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955), as well as several more general tours focusing on various areas. I was especially thrilled to see "Soda City" from Alfred Hitchcock's SABOTEUR (1942), which was part of what was called the "Back Lot" tour.
We did almost everything I mentioned in my pre-festival post! For those who might wonder, our one disappointment was being unable to fit in seeing Randolph Scott's daughter, as we had purchased conflicting tour tickets before her appearance was announced; we'd hoped we might be back in time to see the interview, but it was not to be.
I have many photos and stories to share, as well as impressions of the three films seen at the festival. I'll be dividing my coverage into several posts over the next few days, beginning with posts on the Opening Night Gala and a tour of locations from Tim Holt's DYNAMITE PASS (1950). I'll be adding the links to each post to the bottom of this post so that they can all easily be found in one place.
A small taste of what's to come, from the "Anchor Ranch" tour:
The 2015 Lone Pine Film Festival will be held October 9th through 11th, with a focus on silent Westerns, especially Tom Mix. Live music will accompany some silent movie screenings. We plan to return to the festival and are already on a sign-up list for a room at the Dow next year!
For those who might be interested in attending future festivals, a good first step is signing up for the Lone Pine Film History Museum's newsletter.
Prospective festival-goers should also be sure to check out my photo posts from our summer trip to Lone Pine: Welcome to Lone Pine, A Visit to the Lone Pine Film History Museum, and Alabama Hills Movie Locations.
Additional festival post updates: Off to Lone Pine! (pre-festival preview); The Lone Pine Film Festival: The Dow Villa Motel and the Opening Night Gala; Tonight's Movie: Dynamite Pass (1950) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; The Lone Pine Film Festival: The Building and the Backlot Tour; Tonight's Movie: Gunga Din (1939) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; The Lone Pine Film Festival: Anchor Ranch and More; Tonight's Movie: The Macahans (1976) at the Lone Pine Film Festival.
Update: I have also written about the Lone Pine Film Festival for the ClassicFlix site.
Update: 2015 festival coverage may be found here, and 2016 coverage is here.