Pasadena Int’l Film Festival: Year 2

Jan 26, 2015

LastSupperReferenceExecutive Director/Founder Jessica Hardin and Creative Director/Co-Founder Marco Neves are looking to fill a void. We would add, not just to fill a void but to provide a full-service, varied, distinctive experience.

The Pasadena International Film Festival is not just a series of short and feature films reflecting various genres, stories, and skills, but taps into the heart of the City with screenings at the beloved Laemmle, an opening party at Red White + Bluezz, an industry mixer at The Speakeasy, Q&As after each film block, a performance by CalTech’s a cappella group, panel discussions at Vroman’s and Madeline Garden Bistro, and a wrap party at Vertical Wine Bistro.

This year’s films are made in America, and also come from Spain, South Korea, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Germany, and Brazil. Alan Ruck of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off-fame is a desperate husband in Destroyer, stand-up comic Eddie Griffin and Josh Meyers are romantic and ambitious lunatics in Last Supper, character actors Peter Riegert and Michael Gross offer wisdom and secrets in The Walk and Our Father, Sarah Drew from the TV series Grey’s Anatomy stars in Waking Michael Walker, and Academy Award nominees Eric Roberts and  Robert Loggia are featured in Before It’s Too Late. Additionally, American television icons Shirley Jones and Sally Struthers make their present felt in Waiting in the Wings: the Musical.




This year’s “Great Gatsby” gala, which is at the Westin Pasadena on February 12th and is open and free to the public, will honor Eric Roberts, Jason Ritter (2012 Emmy nominee as Outstanding Guest Actor in the drama series Parenthood), Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Tom Lenk (Argo, Witches of East End), and Sadie Calvano (plays Violet on the TV series Mom, which also stars Allison Janney and Mimi Kennedy).

With the festival to begin on February 11th, Jessica was kind enough to answer a few questions as PIFF enters its second year…

HP: As your second year of PIFF is about to commence, what are your expectations, desires for this year in comparison to your first year?

JH: This year is much easier now that everything has been laid out. We have learned, for example, who doesn’t return emails and who is super tough to get a hold of, and we no longer work with them. It’s just that it creates so much extra work, that it helps to know who is on the ball, and who isn’t, that sort of thing…. That being said, last year was so wonderful, I am nervous about re-creating the same magic. Everything has an element of luck, you know? But, all we can do is work hard and pray.

HP: We assume there’s been a tremendous learning curve after successfully putting on the inaugural PIFF. What were some of the lessons learned and experiences had that helped you plan this year’s event? Is the structure and format of the screenings the same?

JH: We were pretty happy with everything last year…so I believe, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is the temptation to change things up. There is always so much going on in the L.A. area, people can get bored quickly, but I resisted that and am sticking to what we think are the strengths of our festival—class, community, and culture. PIFF is a lovely, boutique event. And taking over two years to plan and research, I can happily say that there were no major surprises!


Tom Lenk, 2015 PIFF honoree

Tom Lenk, 2015 PIFF honoree


HP: Is there a theme to this year?

JH: Yes, same as last year—Old Hollywood. Even after Downton Abbey ends, I think we will stick with this…it’s an era that is very special to a lot of people. I think this era captures an innocence, as well as the start of modernity as we know it—there was class without conformity, and a sense of excess without vulgarity.  It was a special time.

HP: How many entries did you have and how many were selected? Was there something particular you saw in this year’s entries? A leaning toward a particular type of story, style, etc.?

JH: We had even more entries than last year, over 400, and the quality was amazing. It’s getting better every year. Let’s hear it for technology getting more affordable. We saw a shift toward films about the elderly and people losing loved ones,; I think Baby Boomers are aging, and people are living longer…a lot of the films touched on that.

HP: As you state that practically every city in America hosts a film festival, how do you plan for PIFF to stand out and be different?

JH: Not only in the U.S., I’m kind of amazed at the number of L.A. fests sprouting up everywhere. I’ve even seen Cinema festivals, because all the various creations of “L.A. Film Festival” have been taken. PIFF is striving to focus on quality rather than quantity, and more so on people’s experience, rather than profit.  It can be scary, of course, as organizations must always stay in the black, but we are fighting to maintain excellence.  And on that note, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to our sponsors: Pasadena Water & Power, Pasadena Film Office, Rising Realty Partners, Woodbury University, and Boston Court Performing Arts Center… . They made this happen!


A Grande Vitória by Stefano Capuzzi Lapietra, Brazil 2014

A Grande Vitória by Stefano Capuzzi Lapietra, Brazil 2014


HP: What would you like to say to the interested film-goer? Why would you urge them to buy a ticket or a pass and attend the screenings?

JH: I think that unlike just “going to the movies,” what is special about our festival, and Pasadena, is that we are in the heart of it!  You can see movies that have been screened by a select group, so you know that they’re good, and actually meet with the filmmakers, ask them questions, and have a drink with them! I think that’s really special. A lot of festivals charge $400 for a couple to get a pass, so that might be cost-prohibitive for a lot of people. We have kept our prices down, and even offered weekend passes, industry passes, and daily passes, so there is something for everyone.


Pasadena International Film Festival
Wednesday, Feb. 11th-Monday, Feb. 16th, times vary
For complete info, visit
All Access Pass, $80
Weekend Pass, $60
Industry Pass, $40
Daily Pass, $20

Films are shown in blocks each day, beginning at 1 p.m. See lists and times of films here.

Event Schedule:
Wednesday, Feb. 11th, 8 p.m.: PIFF soft opening at Red White + Bluezz, free admission
Thursday, Feb. 12th, 7 p.m.: “Great Gatsby” gala will be held at the Westin Pasadena and is free & open to the public.
Friday, Feb. 13th, 10 p.m.: Industry mixer at The Speakeasy (call for the password!)
Saturday, Feb. 14th, 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.: Panel discussions at Vroman’s
Saturday, Feb. 14th, 8 p.m.: Industry mixer at Madeline Garden Bistro
Saturday, Feb. 15th, 9 p.m.: Festive industry mixer at Vertical Wine Bistro






Our Father with Michael Gross

Our Father with Michael Gross
















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