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Lake Arrowhead Film Festival - Coming Spring 2020

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 9:00 am

The Lake Arrowhead Film Festival returning may seem as probable as seeing the mythical Loch Ness Monster or a sasquatch trudging through Rimforest, but mountain movie buffs still hoping for a festival resurrection are in luck.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, organizers hosted a cocktail gala to announce that the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival will be returning in May of 2020. 

Over 100 people were estimated to have been in attendance at the home of festival co-founder, Bob Cavallo. Excitement bubbled in the air as organizers detailed their plans for the festival’s reboot.

“I got a call from a guy who said, very excitedly, ‘hey, my name’s Matthew. I’m new to town and I know about the film festival...’” said Jeff Perlis, the president of the festival’s board of directors. “And I said, ‘can you slow it down to 33rpm?’”

On the phone was documentary filmmaker, Matthew Kallis, who was eager to relaunch the festival. After their conversation, Perlis spoke to Festival director, Mary Dippell, who had organized the program until its hiatus in 2012.

“The mission for our festival is ‘United We Sit: Finding Hope and Stories That Unite,’” said Kallis, now the festival CEO. “That’s the kind of festival we’re going to create. A festival where people come together as a community, where people find common ground.”

Kallis would like to see the festival revitalize the mountain while bringing about a sense of connection within the community. 

Organizers hope to distinguish the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival from others of its kind by including presentations, masterclasses from filmmakers, outdoor screenings under the stars and their “LAFF Out Loud” program. Additionally, patrons will see demonstrations of the latest in entertainment technology and meet the creators.

The festival will act as the “hub event” to draw interest from and into the community. Then, throughout the rest of the year, other film-related activities will occur, including the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival streaming channel. The channel will stream on Roku and Apple TV, giving filmmakers a screening and distribution opportunity beyond the festival itself. 

“We’ll have a digital footprint that will raise Lake Arrowhead’s visibility locally and beyond our local community,” Kallis said.

Festival Producer and Assistant Director on television shows such as “American Crime Story” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” Korey Pollard, spoke about the festival’s goal of collaborating with students from Rim of the World High School. 

“We’re working to develop graphic novels into screenplays and teach (Rim students) filmmaking courses — how to make actual films instead of just videos,” Pollard said.

Additionally, students will be presented with the opportunity to create limited edition film festival merchandise, including t-shirts, hats and stickers. One unique edition to the coming film festival is the addition of a Lake Arrowhead Film Festival streaming channel on Roku and Apple TV. They are currently seeking donations to fund this program.

Warren Etheredge will assist in launching the festival and distinguishing it from others with a unique program called, “LAFF Out Loud.” Drawing from his twenty years of experience launching festivals, Etheredge will moderate LAFF Out Loud to build community by engaging filmmakers with audience members. Etheredge hopes the programming and interactive events will give people an experience they cannot get at home.

“Rather than having experts talk at you. There’ll be an opportunity for everybody to engage in the conversation,” Etheredge said.

Additionally, Etheredge announced an event called “What’s Wrong With This Picture.” Filmmakers who have had their work rejected by the festival will screen part of their film. When problematic portions of the film arise, Etheredge will stop the movie and discuss the issues with the audience. 

Early film submissions have already been accepted and are being screened. The festival will be held at the Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa. 

“It’s about creating a renaissance for our community – one that brings all of us together, regardless of where we came from,” Kallis said.

For more information, or to volunteer for the 2020 Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, visit

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