The 16th annual Temecula International Film and Music Festival premiered Sept. 15-19th at the Tower Plaza Movie Experience on Ynez Rd in Temecula, CA. I became Paparazzi for the weekend and elbowed my way in for the glitz and glamour. Opening ceremonies were emceed by none other than Timmy D of Timmy d. Productions, one of the many sponsors for this event. He opened the Red Carpet Walk of Fame first by saluting our men and women of the military. With hands held on our hearts, our national anthem belted out the glory of our freedom as soldiers from our neighboring Camp Pendleton proudly presented us with the majestic color guard, saluting of our flag.
Then began the parade of vintage cars and trolleys escorting the independent filmmakers, musicians, and Temecula sponsors who would soon walk the red carpet. The sun was setting and flashbulbs brightened the pink and blue hues of our sky as we cheered for producers, writers and cast members of films such as Kosher Pig, St. Roz, Listen to Your Heart, You People, A Son’s War, The Sitdown, Deconstructing Dad, The Seventh Floor, Everyone Can Change, Driven to Race, The Desperate, US, Skylight, 9000 Needles, Forfeit of Grace, Coals to Newcastle, She Wore Silver Wings, Car Pool, In/Significant Others, My Emily, Green Guys, Inspector 42, The Amazing Mr. Excellent Movie, Alice Babs-Swing It! Another Life, Clickin’ for Love, I Want So Much To Live, The Samurai of Strongsville, Ohio, Goofy Foot, Eighteen Years Later, True North, Ellen, Karma’s A Bitch, The Tender Hook, My Tale of Two Cities, Dumbstruck, Plastic and Walter Cronkite: America’s Newsman.
After the screenings, we were delighted to come to the courtyard and taste small bites from several local restaurants such as The Lazy Dog Cafe, The Bank Mexican Restaurant, Barley and Hops, and Simply Sharon’s. We were also treated to fun shots hosted by Crater Lake Vodka. The evening cooled, the music heated up, and the festive crowd mixed and mingled.
The weekend continued with movie screenings, vendor booths and a special visit of the timeless beauty of actress Raquel Welch, who was receiving the TVIFF Icon Award at Sunday evening’s closing gala. She arrived to showcase and sign her new book “Beyond the Cleavage.” As the media flashed their cameras, one young man from IE Kidz radio asked, “Ms. Welch, would your book be appropriate for readers of my age group”? With a bright smile, Ms. Welch looked back at him and replied, “It all depends on how educated you are!” We all had a good chuckle.
The weekend ended with the awards dinner and gala hosted by Pechanga Resort and Casino. Guests were greeted with a reception of Wilson Creek’s Almond Champagne and live music by the talented musicians. A formal sit down dinner followed, which included red and yellow tomato salad; a combination sirloin steak with merlot demi-glaze and prawn wrapped salmon medallion with brandy cream; and sides of Yukon gold potato and sweet corn hash, roasted asparagus, and plum tomato. Finishing with “Take~One” dessert was a chocolate-raspberry mousse surprise, which tantalized our palates. Dinner was paired with Monte de Oro wines.
Host Suzan Brittan-Gault kicked off the Awards Presentation with a warm welcome, as guest presenters awarded the following:
The Distinguished Institution Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence in the Arts to San Diego State University School of Film, Theater and Television.
The Terry Gilmore Award of Excellence for Outstanding Career Achievement in Acting to Eric Roberts.
The Pechanga Maverick Artist Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Music to Kenny Loggins.
And of course, The TVIFF Award for a Remarkable Illustrious Career in Film, Theater and Television to Raquel Welch.
The International Film Festival looks forward to “Bigger and Better” in the following years to come. Come join us next year, and leave with a bit of “Hollywood” in your heart.