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Port Hueneme Grabs Sliver of Cinema Spotlight


PORT HUENEME — The former Dorill B. Wright Cultural Arts Center gets a new lease on life this week as it plays host to the inaugural Port Hueneme International Film Festival.

The four-day event, which begins Thursday, will showcase more than 30 works, ranging from the 3 1/2-minute animated film, "A Simple Story," to feature-length movies and a screenwriting competition.

Simi Valley-based Pacific Coast Entertainment, a film production and distribution company, bought the facility from the city of Port Hueneme in March for $1.1 million with plans to turn it into a movie studio and theater.

As part of that deal, the city asked the company to create an event in keeping with the building's original use as a community performance center. Tracey Kall, president of Pacific Coast Entertainment, proposed an international film festival, playing off the city's status as an international port of call.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday October 5, 2000 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Zones Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Film director--An article Tuesday on the Port Hueneme International Film Festival misidentified the director of "Emperor of Hemp." Jeff Jones of Ventura directed the film and was its co-cinematographer.

City officials liked the idea, and so began Kall's efforts to build a film festival from scratch, putting the word out for entries, selecting judges and drawing the interest of Hollywood.

Now called "Beachfront Studio," the facility's 500-seat theater has been converted into a combination sound stage and screening room, where the festival's films will be shown. Other rooms were turned into editing bays and space for acting classes and seminars. Kall's other plans include building a film library, which the public will be able to access through membership in the Ventura County Film Society, formed in 1999.

Considering that the festival is new and off the beaten track, Kall was surprised at the number of submissions--about 250, she said--including 11 from foreign countries. Six of the foreign films will be shown at the festival.

Ventura County will also be represented. Oxnard resident Erik Bear, who spends his summers working as a lifeguard, made a documentary called "Lifeguards for Life;" Rick French, who also lives in Oxnard, co-wrote and was assistant director on "Enemies Within," a feature-length film shot in Ventura featuring Oxnard actors Sandy and John Wiluz.

Jeff Meyers of Ventura directed, wrote and filmed the documentary "Emperor of Hemp," and Moorpark resident Jay Nuzum directed and wrote the thriller "Resolution," shot in Moorpark.

In addition, Ventura resident Shaunna Kelley Zavala's script, "Time Passages," and Camarillo resident Robert S. Waldo's script, "Bobby & Morgan," are entries in the screenwriting competition.

The studio's location--miles from the nearest freeway--was one of the biggest problems facing the center when it was owned by the city. That could hurt festival attendance, but Kall isn't concerned. For film enthusiasts the 500-seat theater's intimate setting and seaside location may add appeal, she said.

"We're not trying to make it the biggest or the greatest," Kall said. "We're just trying to make it an interesting place to be."

A jury will hand out almost 20 awards, including the Port Award, an audience choice for best feature film from all categories. The judges won't be identified until the festival opens, Kall said, except for Port Hueneme Mayor Murray Rosenbluth. Other judges will be film industry professionals, she said.

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday at Beachfront Studio, 575 Surfside Drive, Port Hueneme. Tickets are $10 per screening, and special rates for 10 or more films are available. For more information, call 488-ARTS or visit the festival's Web site at

The screening schedule is:

Thursday: 8 a.m.--"China Gold Rush." 9 a.m.--"Follow Me Outside." 10:30 a.m.--Shorts Extravaganza. 11:30 a.m.--"Resolution." 1 p.m.--Shorts Extravaganza. 2 p.m.--"The Witness." 3 p.m.--"Milk Punch." 4:30 p.m.--"Groupie." 5 p.m.--"Lifeguards for Life." 5:30 p.m.--"Seven Storeys." 6 p.m.--"Being Claudine." 8 p.m.--"Enemies Within." 9:30 p.m.--"Emperor of Hemp."

Friday: 8 a.m.--"Vice." 9:30 a.m.--"Enemies Within." 11 a.m.--Shorts Extravaganza. Noon--"Underdogs." 1:45 p.m.--Shorts Extravaganza. 3 p.m.--"Being Claudine." 4:30 p.m.--"Resolution." 6 p.m.--"Virgin Larry." 8 p.m.--"The Flunky." 9:30 p.m.--"Lifeguards for Life." 10 p.m.--"Milk Punch."

Saturday: 1 p.m.--"China Gold Rush." 2 p.m.--"The Flunky." 4 p.m.--"Vice." 7 p.m.--banquet. 8:15 p.m.--awards ceremony.

Sunday: 10 a.m.--"Follow Me Outside." 11:30 a.m.--Shorts award winners. Noon--"Being Claudine." 1:30 p.m.--"Emperor of Hemp." 2:30 p.m.--"Enemies Within." 4 p.m.--"Underdogs." 5:30 p.m.--"Lifeguards for Life." 6 p.m.--feature film award winner and winner of the Port Award.

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