Anaheim International Film Festival Previews With Temecula Wines, Short Films on a Loop and Super Sexy Manny Medrano
|AIFF co-founders Wally-Schlotter (left) and Joshua Bednarsky flank Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri-Galloway.|
(Yes, I know; I did not know GardenWalk had a theater either. Apparently, the mall extends beyond Fire+Ice! Who knew? There are more stores, restaurants and one of those fancy movie theaters with leather recliners and beer and wine service back there.)
Kanatsiz explained his "historic moment" hyperbole thusly: There were around 300 film festivals in 1995. Now, there are 4,000. "So, this is a huge opportunity for us," he said, as the AIFF "will put Anaheim on the film festival circuit," which will now extend "from Cannes to Anaheim."
I didn't follow the historicalness of that distinction but, then again, I'd already had two glasses of Temecula reds.
|AIFF chairman and co-founder Sinan Kanatsiz shares the vision.|
The legend goes that New Yorker Bednarsky arrived in California in a jalopy with $1 in his pocket and his grandma at his side. He wound up at GardenWalk--his first-ever outdoor mall experience--thought the place was the bee's knees and told anyone who would listen that someone should host a film festival there.
Kanatsiz, who'd be the business mind of the partnership, listened. So did Jo Moulton, who ran the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival (so that explains the wine), worked on the Palm Springs International Film Festival and is now the executive director of AIFF. And so did Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle. And Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau president Charles Ahlers. And Disneyland Resort president George Kalogridis. And, after you snag the Big D, do you really need anyone else?
A bundle of energy--Bednarsky apologized that he would have to leave early to go play piano for Fountain Valley High School's production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (and he wasn't joking)--he warned the assembled to "be careful where you are standing, and what you say, because it might happen."
Ahlers said Bednarsky's enthusiasm, coupled with Moulton's experience, sold his executive staff on the festival. While Anaheim has worldwide attractions, Ahlers noted, the AIFF will be the city's first recurring attraction--meaning he, too, isn't convinced the Angels will make the playoff this season.
Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway (you know, the not-crazy one) is obviously sold as well: "Anaheim is the perfect place for an international film festival, don't you think? When I first heard about this, I wondered why on earth we have not had an international film festival. The more I thought about it, the more I thought this is the perfect place for dreams."
She predicted "it will be successful . . . it will enlighten us . . . and it will make us all better."
Man, is this a film festival or a new season of Daisy of Love?