With the Newport Beach film festival sticking close to home this spring, the owner of Captain Blood's Village Theater in Orange--one of the festival's most popular venues the past four years--is striking out on his own.
Todd Blood will host a gathering for filmmakers and film buffs with the inaugural Southern California Film Festival from May 11 through 20. Events will be held at Blood's twin-screen theater and three others in North County.
More than 100 features and shorts from around the world will be screened during the festival, which will run from noon to midnight daily.
Blood said he's always wanted to host a festival but didn't get serious about it until the formerly named Newport Beach International Film Festival got into financial trouble last fall. That festival, which has been reorganized and renamed the Newport Beach Film Festival, will begin its eight-day run March 30.
Blood was ready to offer his theater as a venue, but when organizers decided to hold the festival only in Newport Beach this year, he proceeded with his plans because he thinks the area can afford two festivals.
Todd Schwenk, executive director of the Newport festival, agrees.
"The Newport Beach Film Festival is always happy to hear about other local opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers to share their talent and their ideas," Schwenk said when told of Blood's plans.
Schwenk said the Newport festival will be held in three venues this year: Edwards Island Cinemas, Edwards Newport Cinemas and the Orange County Museum of Art. On tap are nearly 50 feature films, hundreds of shorts, numerous tributes and special events.
For Blood, hosting a festival is a natural.
Since refurbishing his '50s-era movie theater and equipping it with state-of-the art sound and projection equipment more than four years ago, he has made Captain Blood's available for student filmmakers from USC, Chapman University, Orange Coast College and other schools for screenings, sound classes and seminars.
Blood said that besides showing roughly 100 features and 30 shorts from independent and student filmmakers, the Southern California Film Festival will include a daily screening of a classic on the American Film Institute's top 100 list.
The festival will also offer seminars such as "How to Sell Your Film to the Industry" and "From Concept to Exhibition." Also, Blood said, a couple of private seminars for filmmakers will be held with film buyers who are expected to attend.
"This is the most critical job of a film festival--to provide young filmmakers the opportunity to get their films distributed and seen," Blood said.
Among special events will be a screening of "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club," with a question-answer session featuring actor Anthony Michael Hall. The event is sponsored by the Chapman University Resource Library, and half the proceeds will go to literacy efforts, Blood said.
Although Blood is still wrapping up festival details, he hopes to have world premieres from two major studios and a screening day at a major studio for festival-submitted films.
"The purpose of this festival is to get their films seen by someone who can buy it, not just the public," Blood said.
A key element of the Southern California Film Festival, according to Blood, is that his theater is also equipped with a digital projector capable of handling any analog or digital video format. "You name it and I can play it," he said.
One popular carry-over tradition from Bloods' previous involvement with the Newport Beach festival is what he calls "open-mike night."
Filmmakers who miss the submission deadline or who have unfinished films or even trailers are invited to bring them to Blood's theater after the final screening of the night Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the festival's last week.
"It's one of the most exciting things about the festival, and you get some really good stuff."
The Newport Beach Film Festival, which has an estimated budget of $100,000, received $7,000 from the city in December for start-up costs. The Newport festival has also received funding from various sponsors.
Blood, who is likewise seeking sponsors, expects his festival to cost about the same as the Newport festival. But, he figures, box office will cover it.
"Plus I have reserves of about 30 grand to get everything up and running," he said.
The Newport Beach Film Festival is no longer taking entries. But the Southern California Film Festival is.
Entry forms are available at the Captain Blood's Village Theater box office, 1140 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, and online: http://www.scfilmfestival.com.
There is no entry fee. For more information, call (714) 225-3373.
Further information about the Newport Beach Film Festival is available at (949) 253-2880 and at http://www.newportbeachfilmfest.com.