October 8, 2012

First San Pedro International Film Festival, Los Angeles, California

San Pedro International Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, USA, October 12-14, 2012

San Pedro is the port district of the city of Los Angeles since 1909 and it is documented that Spanish ships visited the port back in the 1540′s. Because of its proximity to the ocean, ethnically diverse San Pedro attracted various cultures in whose traditions fishing was prominent and were able to settle continue their own traditions and eventually start businesses in the area.  San Pedro is a melting pot of people from Italy, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Norway, Japan and a large portion of the community is made up of Mexican-Americans and African-Americans.

Many major motion pictures have been filmed in San Pedro, including King Kong, Chinatown, Point Break, Silence of the Lambs, The Usual Suspects, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic and 500 Days of Summer. The city has also been a popular shooting location for TV shows such as NCIS, Mad Men and Dexter.

The First Annual San Pedro International Film Festival opens Friday, October 12, 2012 at the Warner Grand Theatre with a special screening of The Loneliest Planet, an award-winning independent film written and directed by Julia Loktev. The riveting and daring love story, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Hani Furstenberg and Bidzina Gujabidze, is a winner of the Los Angeles AFI Fest "Grand Jury Prize," the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival's "The Golden Lady Award" and the International Istanbul Film Festival's "Golden Tulip Award."

The Loneliest Planet

Special opening night guests include producer Felicia D. Henderson (Everybody Hates Chris, Fringe, Soul Food: The Series), director/actor Rockmond Dunbar (Prison Break, Sons of Anarchy), actors Golden Brooks (The Great Divide, Hart of Dixie), Brea Bee (Breaking In, "Nikki" in Silver Linings Playbook), and Veronica Milagro (Gundown); songwriter/producer Janet Cole Valdez (Gladiator, The Young and the Restless), and celebrity sculptor Joan Banks.

SPIFFest was founded to celebrate the city's diverse culture and contributions to the cinematic arts by providing audiences with unique, independent films from around the world that both inspire and entertain. Following the festival, organizers plan to launch several youth-oriented community programs with a focus on filmmaking.

"For decades, San Pedro's long history of film production has played a vital role in making Los Angeles the creative capital of the world," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "The San Pedro International Film Festival is a welcome celebration of the City's creative spirit and unique filmmakers both locally and internationally." 

Silver Linings Playbook

SPFFest screenings will continue on Saturday with more new feature films, documentaries, short films and student works. The festival will close Sunday, October 14 with a screening of the Silver Linings Playbook, winner of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival Audience Award. 

The San Pedro International Film Festival is organized in partnership with the Croatian Cultural Center of Greater Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA).