By Jason KUROSU
On the former site of the old Montrose Theater, now the parking lot of Andersen’s Pet Shop, a two-day film festival was held with the aid of a giant projection screen, seemingly infinite proportions of popcorn, a red carpet and a theater’s worth of seats.
The fourth annual Montrose Film Festival spanned the weekend, drawing in crowds wanting to catch a movie after sundown. The drive-in feel was reinforced by classic cars driving and parked along the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue, as well as with the choice of films including the Looney Tunes cartoons shown before the main feature.
This year’s festival was themed after late director Blake Edwards and featured two of his movies, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on Friday and “Return of the Pink Panther” on Saturday.
Edwards’ wife, actress Julie Andrews, was set to make an appearance but ultimately could not attend. In a letter sent to the festival organizers, Andrews said, “[Edwards] was a wonderful director, a wonderful writer and a wonderful husband. Please give my best regards to the lovely people of Montrose and my apologies for not being able to make it.”
In addition to the films, attendees enjoyed live music by The Maestros. Food provided by local restaurants was also available for purchase. Members of Prom Plus Club from Crescenta Valley High School took orders and hand delivered the food from nearby establishments to the seated moviegoers, before performing a dance routine for the audience, set to the “Pink Panther” theme song.
On Friday night, attendees were also privy to some student films, the top three nominees out of a 26 participant contest named, “The Best Student Film Festival Ever.” The winner was announced Saturday night. Clark Magnet’s Chase Baker was recognized for his film “A Magical Place.” Baker received $250 in scholarship money from the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.
Steve Pierce, who helped organize the first film festival, was glad to see movies back where the old Montrose Theater stood before it burned down in 1987, the only hint of its existence being a telephone pole charred black all along one side.
“It’s all about bringing the movies back to Montrose,” said Pierce.