Get ready for the Fourth Annual Montrose Film Festival taking place this weekend.
By Mary O’KEEFE
The Fourth Annual Montrose Film Festival will be held this weekend at the former site of the Montrose Theater in the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue.
From 1924 to 1987, the Montrose Theater was a popular fixture along the avenue. Then in ‘87 a fire destroyed the building. It was never rebuilt. The parking lot for Andersen’s Pet Store is now located where the old theater was and where the present day film festival is held.
Each year the festival has a different theme. The first was to honor the famous son of Montrose/La Crescenta, actor Dennis Morgan. The following year was all about the ’50s with the movies “American Graffiti” and “Grease” being screened. Last year it was “Back to the Future,” parts 1 and 2.
This year organizers have chosen to recognize the films of famed director Blake Edwards with the showing of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on Friday and “The Return of the Pink Panther” on Saturday.
“We wanted to bring films back to Montrose,” said Steve Pierce.
Pierce and Tony Smith are the organizers of the event. They worked with community members, local organizations, the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. and the city of Glendale to create a local film festival that is family-friendly.
“We will have the Prom Plus Club kids dressed in the era of the movies and [they] will be taking orders for food [from movie-goers] for our local restaurants,” Pierce said.
When film festival patrons order from participating local restaurants, Prom Plus Club volunteers from Crescenta Valley High School will take their order to the specific restaurant. They will act as waiters/waitresses for those wishing to enjoy dinner and a movie.
Dwight Sityar of the Early Rodders car group has arranged for cars matching the films’ eras to cruise Honolulu Avenue before the show.
The Maestros will be on hand to entertain with live music that everyone can dance to prior to the film on Friday. The band has been a film festival regular since its beginning. Additionally, in an effort to highlight the talented members of the community, Pierce and Smith have arranged for the three top awarded films from the recent “2nd Annual Best Student Film Festival Ever!” to be viewed prior to the Blake Edwards films.
“We will view the three top films and then our panel of judges will choose the top film,” Pierce said. “That winner will receive a $250 cash prize sponsored by the Montrose Shopping Park Association.”
The student film festival was founded by CVHS alumni Chris Vinan and Ebner De Torres and held at Sparr Heights Community Center. This year there were 25 student films submitted to the Sparr Heights festival. Pierce and Smith decided that the Montrose Film Festival would be a great way to showcase the top three films for the community.
They have also invited Eddie Taylor and his jazz assemble, Courtland Hayes and Armen Manavazyan, to play at the event on Saturday night. Taylor is a CVHS 2012 alum who is attending Berkley School of Music in Boston, Mass.
“For [the] Sparr Heights event [the music] was purely for the theme of the [event],” Taylor said. The student film festival had a 1920s theme.
“I arranged contemporary songs in a jazz feel,” he said. “For the Montrose festival, we will be playing more jazz standards.”
While at CVHS, Taylor was part of the school’s jazz band so performing is nothing new, and being the one in charge of the music is something Tyler enjoys.
“It is a lot more freeing. At CV, we had to follow these rules; it is not as much fun as handling everything yourself,” he said.
Pierce said he hopes to bring back a family-friendly event that all ages will enjoy. For a long time, the only reminder that the Montrose Movie Theater once existed at the Honolulu location was a charred utility pole, a remnant of the 1987 fire. But on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24, the old theater will live again, even if it is with more of a drive-in feel.
The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. on both nights with music and live entertainment. The films start at dark, about 8 p.m. There is no charge to attend.