Pasadena Int’l Film Fest

Jan 13, 2014

tn-500_closewm1158043885Nominated for an Academy Award for Cry of Reason in 1989, Robert Bilheimer’s Not My Life, narrated by Glenn Close, will screen during the Pasadena International Film Festival in February.

Over four years, five continents, and in a dozen countries—including the U.S.—Bilheimer and his crew delved into the worlds of forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism, sexual violence, and child soldiering.

On a lighter note, the film festival will also show director Aaron Wolf’s Guest House starring Family Ties‘ Michael Gross, as well as Satellite Beach starring and directed by Luke Wilson (along with his brother Andrew). The Wilson brothers’ short “follows the unique journey of the Endeavor space shuttle as it travels the streets of Los Angeles” and screens on Sunday, February 16th in Block 20—which is titled “Redefining Normal” and runs from 1:05 to 3:10 p.m.

Pasadena International Film Festival founder Jessica Hardin says that three hundred submissions were received from all over the world. A team of film professionals screened the films and rated them 1-4 based upon three criteria:.

  • Script/story
  • Acting
  • Production value, with special attention paid to international submissions
Henry Ian Cusick

Henry Ian Cusick

Eighty-five films from 17 countries were selected. Twenty-five of the 85 were sent to a jury of industry professionals. Starting Wednesday, February 12th, these short films will be available for viewing all throughout the day—in a series of blocks—starting at 1 p.m. and going through midnight.

The event opens with Curse of the Sunset Starlet (Block 1, “L.A. Stories”) starring Sally Kirkland and Kathleen Wilhoite, and directed by Los Angeleno Lori Precious. Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman says, “This movie was perfect from the first moment ’til the last. The only thing that would have made it better would be if I was in it.”

Michael Silverblatt of KCRW writes, “Poetic and moving short that deals with the return of a family nightmare. This has the delicacy of The Glass Menagerie and a sense of fantasy that carries wisdom and truth inside.” (Curse of the Sunset Starlet quotes culled from

Kathleen Wilhoite

Kathleen Wilhoite

Henry Ian Cusik (Desmond of LOST fame) directed and stars in Dress on Thursday during Block 6, “In Transition,” as will A Man of the World with Ed Asner. The elder actor plays Leo Brunn, father to Hank who has come to visit him before embarking on his first tour of Vietnam. The son hopes his father, who is a survivor of the Holocaust, will provide words of wisdom, ways of coping, and a sense of hope as Leo heads off to confront his own holocaust.

Cary Elwes of The Princess Bride and recently re-creating his role of Pierre Despereaux in TV’s Psych, stars in A Bit of Bad Luck (Block 10, “Venus & Mars”).

Other films include The Objects by David Toms from the U.K., Tehrangeles directed by Pasadena City College alum Marcel Giwargis, and Sun Flower by Taeho Kang, a student at New York Film Academy, Los Angeles.

Filmmakers will be flying in from France, Romania, South Korea, Brazil, the U.K., and “locally” from New York City and Chicago. A “soft” opening will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday followed by a “Soft Opening Party” at Japon Bistro. Everyone is invited to come and sip a bit of sake, enjoy a bit of sashimi (or whatever your desire), and hang out with the filmmakers.

A “free” (no ticket or invitation necessary) “Great Gatsby” gala is open to the public on Thursday, February 13th (6 p.m.) at the Westin Pasadena. The black tie optional—though 1920s attire suggested—gala will have a performance by the Pasadena Symphony-POPS and guests may try the signature cocktail called “Pasadena 35,” a blend of ice, gin, champagne, lemon, and simple syrup. Drinks may be purchased at the bar and food ordered from the wait staff. Honorees will be given awards, speeches will be made, and there will be a DJ and dancing. Organizer Jessica Hardin says, “The Westin has pulled out all the stops, complete with fountains, bridges, specialty lighting, and a fire pit.”


Pasadena’s Speakeasy will host an industry mixer on Friday the 14th, though guests have to check out the lounge’s Facebook page for their password hint (and make sure to check out their dress code, or “dress to impress” code).

Pasadena's Speakeasy


Besides a day of short films, Saturday will have a panel discussion at the Pasadena Public Library and an industry mixer at the Scarlett Tea Room on Green Street.

On Sunday, the PIFF and the Pasadena Museum of History will host “Old Hollywood: The History of Film in Pasadena” with “premier” film historian Marc Wanamaker on the museum grounds followed by a wine and cheese reception. Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. (Details here.)

A final industry mixer will be held on Sunday at Vertical Wine Bistro. Hardin says, “We have all worked hard, and now it is time to celebrate!”

Filmmaker David Dibble celebrates his film Adonis being selected to screen at PIFF; follow this link for a must see on how this film was made

Filmmaker David Dibble celebrates his film Adonis being selected to screen at PIFF; follow this link for a must see video on how this film was made—

Film Festival Tickets

Passes are being sold to cover everyone’s level of interest:  a Daily Pass that provides access to all screenings for one entire day, $25; a Weekend Pass starting on Friday at 6 p.m. and continuing through Sunday at 8 p.m., $60; an All Access Pass, February 12th-16th, $95; or an Industry Pass with access to all screenings (guild membership card or industry business card required), $50. With a pass, the price drops to less than $2 per film. Details may be found here (go to very bottom of page).

Pasadena International Film Festival
Wednesday, Feb. 12th-Sunday, Feb. 16th
For more info, visit

The Pasadena Film Office, Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Pasadena Water & Power have signed on as sponsors.

Guest House Short Film



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