By Mary O’KEEFE
It is time once again for the annual Montrose Film Festival, sponsored by the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., and this year it will celebrate an extraterrestrial and an adventurer archeologist.
It was five years ago that community leaders Steve Pierce and Tony Smith were sitting at Black Cow Café on Honolulu Avenue, having coffee and reminiscing about the Montrose Theater. The theater had been located in the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue and since 1927 was the place to go for movies. But in 1987 a fire blazed through the building, destroying it. The parking lot of Andersen’s Pet Shop is now in the place where the movie theater once stood.
The only reminder of the past is a singed utility pole at the edge of the shop’s parking lot.
“My wife remembers the movie theater,” Pierce said. “It was like the kind of [movie theater] we all grew up with.”
To bring back that old time feeling of going to the movies on a family night out, Pierce and Smith created the Montrose Film Festival. The films are shown in the parking lot of Andersen’s Pet Shop on a big outdoor screen.
That first year the films highlighted local celebrities with 1947’s, “My Wild Irish Rose” starring Dennis Morgan and “The High and the Mighty” starring John Wayne. During his Hollywood years, Morgan lived in the Crescenta Valley and is credited with creating the Montrose Christmas Parade by gathering his friends on horseback and riding down Honolulu Avenue. Wayne attended Glendale High School.
Since that first year, the family-friendly films have included such titles as “Grease” and “Back to the Future.”
This year, on Friday night, Aug. 22, Montrose Film Festival will present “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and on Saturday night, Aug. 23, will show “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
The film festival combines family films with a drive-in quality. Prom Plus Club kids volunteer at the event and act as “car hops” for patrons who wish to have dinner and a movie.
“We are highlighting four restaurants this year: Zeke’s Smokehouse, El Charro, Black Cow and Star Café,” Pierce said.
Restaurant menus will be available that patrons can order from, Prom Plus kids run the order to the individual restaurant, come back with a check, pay the bill and deliver the food – all while the movie-goer relaxes and readies for the film.
In addition, the film festival is sponsoring a student film competition. Students can submit films up to Aug. 15. The films can be up to 10 minutes in length, produced by local kids from kindergarten to 12th grade and be family-friendly. A committee will review the films and choose the best of the best. The winning film will be shown on Saturday prior to the featured presentation. The winning student filmmaker will receive a $300 scholarship donation from the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.
Pierce invites the community to the Montrose Film Festival.
“We will have free popcorn and a cartoon will play before the [featured presentation],” he added.
The Montrose Film Festival is free to attend. A live band begins at 6:30 p.m. with cartoons beginning about 7:45 p.m. followed by the featured presentation at about 8:10 p.m. Seating is provided and is outside, so dress appropriately.
To submit a student film, contact Steve Pierce at (818) 259-5195 or email email@example.com.