Arclight Dome to host film festival

By Ester Khachatryan

Thirteen films have been selected from nine Southern California schools, including four from Harvard-Westlake, to be featured at the annual Harvard-Westlake Film Festival at the Arclight Dome on March 20.

The festival will feature films of different styles including narratives of comedy and drama, music videos and documentaries, student Co-Chair Lauren Bailey ’09 said.

“The festival is unique in that the films submitted are diverse and unique with a wide range of production values from two kids in a closet to a documentary shot in India,” Bailey said.

Four films to be featured at the festival were made by Harvard-Westlake students: Kyle Kleinbart’s ’09 “A True War Story,” Justine Levine ’09 and Jack Heston’s ’09 “Untouchable,” Michael Diamant’s ’09 and Michael Stampler’s ’09 “Conflict in the Middle Table” and Romina D’Allesandro’s ’10 “Care.”

“What do I think will happen with my participation in the festival? Well, hopefully I’m on my way to my first Oscar,” D’Allesandro said.

Of the approximately 150 short films submitted to the festival, student Co-Chairs Bailey and Jonathan Haile ’09 reduced the eligible films to 50 possibilites to be reviewed by a committee of faculty, students and teachers.

The committee members rated the films, and films with highest ratings were chosen for the final elimination process. Bailey, Haile and faculty Co-Chairs Cheri Gaulke and Ted Walch selected the 12 films that will be featured in the festival.

The films selected will be recorded on DVD and sent anonymously to festival judges, including such filmmakers as Oliver Stone, Martha DeLaurentiis, Rita Wilson and Jeb Brody. The films will be evaluated by judges who will decide appropriate awards for each film, including Best Director, Best Cinematographer and Best Screenplay in a miniature Academy Award style. Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks will also be present to address an expected audience of 800.

The festival has enjoyed a wide popularity, selling out every year since its inception at Rugby Theater. The tickets to the festival are free and are followed by a complimentary reception in which attendees will have a chance to mingle with judges, Haile said.