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A little Hollywood magic will descend on Hesperia on Sept. 6 by way of the Desert Rocks Film and Music Festival at the Cinema West Theater, 9711 9th Ave. The event, which will begin at 10:30 a.m., will feature independent films and music videos, along with live music by some of the area’s hottest up-and-coming acts.
According to Phyllis Overall, executive director for Desert Rocks Film and Music Event Inc., this will be the second time her organization has presented the festival in Hesperia. It was held in 2012 and Overall said based on the turnout, it showed the promise of becoming a long-standing and popular event in the High Desert.
“Between all of the film and documentary submissions we received the last time, as well as having about 1,000 people show up, we saw the potential in the festival becoming an annual event,” said Overall, who has worked as a production assistant in the film industry since 1996.
“We had a little trouble raising money to put in on last year, but this year, we were able to get several sponsors, including Victorville Motors, the City of Hesperia, Hesperia Recreation and Park District, Cinema West and El Dorado Broadcasters.”
Overall said she founded her 501(c)3 organization in 2010 with Apple Valley residents Carri Marostica-Nuse and Patrick Nuse. Its mission is to showcase area musicians, as well as the work of independent filmmakers, to the public and entertainment industry professionals.
“This event provides a creative outlet to musicians and independent film makers from around the world,” said Eric Schmidt, Mayor Pro Tem of Hesperia. “It also gives our community a venue to enjoy the creations of up-and-coming artists in the music and film industries, bringing a cultural element to our city and the High Desert in an event which I hope will become a High Desert tradition.”
Desert Rocks Film and Music Festival is open to U.S. and foreign applicants in categories that include feature films, short films, documentaries, animation, student films and music videos. This year, a new sidebar category was added for humorous films, documentaries about comedy or comedians, or reels for stand-up comedians.
According to Overall, about 70 films and documentaries were submitted from around the world. Out of those, 31 were chosen as finalists and will be shown at the event. There also will be cash prizes for the best film of the festival and best music video.
“The films and documentaries range in subject matter from comedy to drama and suspense to musicals,” Overall said. “And we’ve received films from 10 countries outside of the U.S.
“Also, this time and the last time we had the festival, we received about a dozen entries from Chapman University in Orange. Those have done really well and the school clearly has some very good instructors in its film department.”
Along with all-day film screenings in two theaters, Overall said there also will be live music by local bands and solo acts, such as John Stratton, Jorden Marshall, Wood & Willows and Bitter Honey.
Additionally, entertainment industry professionals will offer free workshops to include techniques for producing a low-budget film, special effects and how to start a career in the film industry.
“Before the Internet, the film industry was very hard to get break into,” said Overall. “It really was sewn up and locked for most. But now, technology has made it a wide-open playing field and our experts will have a lot of great information for how filmmakers can be successful on their own.”
For those interested in becoming an extra for indie films, Overall said they can register at the festival and will be added to a database for producers and casting agents.
“We will only be taking applications at the festival and encourage anyone who would like to sign up with us to come out and meet us in person,” Overall said.
Visit www.desertrocksfame.org for more on the organization and festival.