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Arts & Culture

Fifth Annual Imperial Beach International Film Festival

Now in its fifth year, the IBIFF hosts a range of activities including screenings of short films from around the world, documentaries, and the new 48 Hour Film Rush. This year the South County Renaissance Project, which supports art and technology-based programs for youths in the South region of San Diego County, will also present an amazing documentary by Tokeli Mushovic and Stephen Knuth called

Project Life. The press release rightfully brags that "this artistic collaboration shows when young people are given free range with a microphone and camera to let their true voices ring out, surprisingly, they dont run around like well, like teenagers. Instead, they tell poignant stories of change, inner struggle, personal triumphs, familial revolutions and lifes little tweaking. Change is the essence of life, something we ALL have to deal with some people have more of it than others, some people dont adjust to it very well. But turmoil and strife can be dealt with in unique ways when it is embraced in the process of Creative Expression. 'Be willing to surrender what you are for what you can become.'"

Project Life premieres on the fest's opening night at the Dempsey Holder Center located at 950 Ocean Lane in Imperial Beach. The event will be followed by an opening night Gala located at 704 Seacoast Dr. in Imperial Beach. Project Life interviews students at Mar Vista High School and the results are surprisingly candid. Students reveal a range of emotions from coping with their changing bodies to dealing with past drug use to coming to terms with family problems. The filmmakers treat these interviews with beautiful simplicity--just intimate shots of the students talking directly to the camera and opening up their hearts with sometimes touching honesty. In a project about teens, the impulse might have been to cut it frantically and pump up the music, but Project Life realizes the gold it has mined in these interviews and chooses to just let the kids speak. The film proves to be an elegant and eloquent statement on teen life. The film has a repeat showing on Saturday afternoon.


Also on Saturday are two films I had the pleasure of screening in advance. Fernando Ramos' playfully animated music video Final Sigh and Luke Brown's adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. Brown's film reveals exceptional polish and assurance for a young filmmaker. His film also offers a carefully crafted sound design well suited to Poe's highly internalized tale of murder and madness.

On Saturday September 8, the Unified Port of San Diego will sponsor Cinema by the Surf outside at the beach by the Ports Port-wood Pier Plaza.. This years film is Steven Spielberg's E.T. The festival suggests that attendees bring their own chairs and blankets for this outdoor event.

For more information visit the IBIFF Website or check out the IBIFF MySpace page. -----