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Film Frenzy

Lamorinda movie bash bursts into the big city.


Photos courtesy of California Independent Film Festival

When Danville resident Leonard Pirkle and San Ramon resident Derek Zemrak created the California Independent Film Festival in 1997, they had no idea what they were in for. Their annual effort to showcase indie films grew bigger each year, until it had to relocate from the Tri-Valley to the spacious Orinda Theatre in 2010, adding Moraga’s Rheem Theatre in 2011.

This year’s fest is the biggest yet and includes San Francisco’s famed Castro Theatre. In addition to a killer lineup of independent features, documentaries, and short films, special events include the following:



• A free screening of the Mel Brooks comedy classic Blazing Saddles at the Orinda Theatre on September 11.

• A September 12 showing at the Castro of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, featuring an interview with the iconic star. (Holy Catwoman, Batman!)

• A Q&A with Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Justin Henry after a screening of his Best Picture–winning film, Kramer vs. Kramer. (Henry will appear in a partial cast reunion of Sixteen Candles at the Castro on September 12, and will dish on working with Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman after the September 13 show in Orinda.)

If you get to the Rheem, don’t miss the new lobby museum. Displays include life-size models and an interactive wall of fame, featuring Hollywood icons who have visited the cinema. caiff.org.

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