The Downey Legend

GlennFest Film Festival

Michael Pasaye, Writer

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The annual Glennfest Film Festival, created by Glenn Stephens back in 2012, kicked off on Sept. 30 and ends Oct. 8. The festival presents old and new films across all genres, and aims to strengthen and give back to the Downey film community.

 

The festival has 4 venues around Downtown Downey: The Downey Civic Theater, The Downey United Masonic Lodge #220, Studio Movie Grill, and The Epic Lounge. Each film screening is free of charge.

 

Before Glennfest, movie aficionados were limited to blockbuster releases or forced to drive to Los Angeles to attend festivals like the Hollywood Film Festival, AFI Fest, or the LA Shorts Fest.

 

With this year being Glennfest’s seventh year, they have adopted the theme of “Lucky Seven” for their promotional advertisements and are now the longest running film festival in Downey.

 

The films for this year’s festival include movies like Hot to Trot, which had its theatrical release two weeks before it was shown at GlennFest; Between is also a new movie that is having its world premiere at GlennFest on Oct. 6. Award winning Nigerian actress Stella Damasus will also be there for the screening.

 

Glenn had this to say about how and why movies are chosen for the festival.

 

“We look at films that have won awards from previous film festivals,” Glenn said “if they meet our criteria for movies we try to get our hands on them.”

 

The premiere day of the festival had a theme of dance, showing four films centered around dancers, and even included a live performance of Cuban ballet by the Los Angeles Cuban Ballet Association. This performance preceded the viewing of To Dance Like a Man, which followed triplets as they learn the art of ballet.

 

Alberto Henriquez, citizen of Downey was there to view the Cuban dancers.

 

“The performance was excellent,” Henriquez said. “It was nice to see dancers live, especially considering that all the movies were centered around dance.”

 

The premiere of the festival is the only day to have an overarching theme. The rest of the week will present various movies from around the world such as: London, Peru, Australia, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

The second day of the festival presented the films: A Silent Agreement, Pies of Fury, Summer of ‘67, and The Wedding Banquet.

 

The screening for The Wedding Banquet included a special surprise during the movie in the form of a dinner banquet which mimicked the dinner scene in the movie.

 

Stephens led the audience to the Epic Lounge (a sponsor of the festival), where free food and drinks were provided.

 

Speaking on the surprise dinner is Rudy Monsevais, a member of the community.

 

“It is a very nice surprise and you can tell that Glenn puts a lot of effort into the festival,” Monsevais stated. “Each year there is something different and special about the festival, keeping it fresh each year.”

 

Pies of Fury is a independent short film that was submitted to the festival by Greg Koenig, who attended the viewing of his film. Prospective filmmakers can submit their films to the festival free of charge through the GlennFest website, but there is no guarantee that their film will be shown.

 

GlennFest is all about giving back to the community of Downey, especially the children and citizens with special needs. Since the film festival is completely free, volunteers and sponsors are greatly needed to keep the festival running.  In response, Stephens has dedicated Oct. 6 to children and young adults with special needs.

 

All citizens of Downey are urged to attend at least one screening of the festival as it is meant for the community. Movie tickets can be reserved for free at glennfest.com, but it is not required to attend the screening.

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