My husband and I are back from a wonderful weekend at the 26th Lone Pine Film Festival!
We had a terrific time at last year's festival, and if it's possible I think we had even more fun this year!
I managed to do everything mentioned in my festival preview and a whole lot more!
My festival experience included eight movies (up from just three in 2014), three tours, one concert, and two books signed, plus the opportunity to get to know blogger Beth Gallagher and her husband in person! We enjoyed two lovely dinners chatting movies, film festivals, and more!
The movies spanned the years from 1920 to 2008. I'd only seen two of them previously, FRONTIER MARSHAL (1939) and THE HIRED GUN (1957), and it had been nine years since I last saw FRONTIER MARSHAL. All of the other films were new experiences for me, including my very first Hopalong Cassidy movies.
I'll be writing about the movies in several future posts, along with sharing our experiences touring the locations for GUNGA DIN (1939), IN OLD COLORADO (1941), and THE HIRED GUN (1957). One of the most amazing things about the Lone Pine Film Festival is being able to watch a movie, then hop on a bus and walk the sites you just saw on the screen! The tour guides' longtime knowledge of the Alabama Hills, combined with dedicated detective work hunting locations, provides some memorable experiences.
Again this year our festival experience began on Thursday evening with a gala buffet dinner at the renamed Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine. Celebrities on hand this year included Bruce Boxleitner, William Wellman Jr., Wyatt McCrea, Petrine Day Mitchum, Cheryl Rogers Barnett, Diamond Farnsworth, and Billy King.
This year's festival particularly celebrated the early years of movie-making in Lone Pine, and in keeping with that theme, a restored car which once belonged to silent star Tom Mix was on display in the museum parking lot:
After the dinner there was a most enjoyable hour-long concert by Don Edwards across the street in the high school auditorium. It was entertainment at its purest and most simple: just a man and his guitar and some great Western tunes. It was a relaxing, mellow way to start off the weekend.
Last year the festival celebrities set up shop in a spot on Main Street simply called "The Building." There's now a brand-new barbecue restaurant in that location, so this year the book signings and meet-and-greets took place in the more out-of-the way Statham Hall. Shuttles circled regularly between the Film Museum, Statham Hall, and Spainhower Park, but a Main Street location is definitely more conducive to foot traffic; unfortunately, options are limited so we'll see if Statham Hall is used again next year.
We came home with two beautiful signed books, the "updated and expanded" second edition of HOLLYWOOD HOOFBEATS, a history of movie and TV horses by Petrine Day Mitchum (daughter of Robert), and COWBOY PRINCESS RIDES AGAIN by Cheryl Rogers Barnett (daughter of Roy Rogers). Leonard Maltin recently wrote about COWBOY PRINCESS RIDES AGAIN; it has many photos I'd never seen before!
As was the case last year, we stayed at the classic Dow Villa Motel, with a balcony view of Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney...
...and once again the best meals in town can be found across the street from the Dow at the Alabama Hills Cafe, serving breakfast and lunch daily.
The 2016 Lone Pine Film Festival will be held October 7th through 9th and will celebrate Western directors. My husband and I have already made our hotel reservations! Why not start making plans to attend?!
Previously: This Weekend: The 2015 Lone Pine Film Festival (preview post).
Links to all 2015 Festival Coverage: Tonight's Movie: In Old Colorado (1941) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; Tonight's Movie: Heart of Arizona (1938) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; Tonight's Movie: Code of the West (1947) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; Tonight's Movie: Riders of the Purple Sage (1941) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; Tonight's Movie: The Round-Up (1920) at the Lone Pine Film Festival; Tonight's Movie: Appaloosa (2008) at the Lone Pine Film Festival.
My report on the 2015 Lone Pine Film Festival for the ClassicFlix site is here.
2014 Lone Pine Film Festival coverage may be found here.
Update: 2016 Lone Pine Film Festival coverage is here.