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April 25, 2001     Beverly Hills Weekly
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April 25, 2001
 

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CANNES WE TOP ..... : Beverly Hills and L.A. Face Off In Film Festival Showdown By Justin Levine If you ever happen to be at the intersection of Robertson & and a name that invokes immediate recognition throughout the Olympic, look up at the traffic light to the west and you will see world, it is quite a curiosity that Beverly Hills has never had a a small welcome sign from the city of Beverly Hills proclaiming sustained film festival of our own. Surely it is more logical than itself to be the sister city of Cannes, France (For the cultural- ceding the distinction to a group of outdoor-savage, snowbun- ly-challenged, it is pronounced "Kahn." ) ny-hicks that congregate in Sundance, Utah. One immediately wonders why any city would wish to asso- That anomaly may change this week with the advent of the ciate with a country known for pretentious rude people, body First Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival, beginning today, and odor, and streets littered with dog droppings. (Readers may running through Sunday at the Clarity Theater on North make their own determination as to any similarities that may Crescent Drive. And forget New York's subway series last fall, exist with Beverly Hills.) in a battle of the indies, Beverly Hills takes on L.A., who's own But of course, Cannes is not just any French city. It is home IFP/West Los Angeles Film Festival overlaps with ours, run- to arguably the most prestigious film festival in the world. With ning from April 20-28. a population that has strong ties to the entertainment industry, 41ex Fernandex starring in "Change" at the Beverly Hills Film Festival 'l'his I~ ~ni Spinal Tap Using "exclusive" as the buzzword, the inaugural Beverly Hills Film Festival will fea- ture 26 diverse films ranging in length from 10 to I ] I minutes. Some directors are show- biz veterans like Troy Miller (director of tile i'nade-for-TV movie "Beverly Hills Family Robinson") and Harry Shearer (best known as bassist Derek Smalls from the film and band "Spinal Tap"), while olhers are freshmen to /he ra/i All in all. it looks to b,2 an intriguing lineup that aims to satisfy even the finickiest of Beverly Hdls film snobs The Festival is the brainchild of Adam Zoblotsky and business partner Larry Hartman who began the venture nine months ago. The learn has organized a number el film festi- vals nationwide, including upcoming events in Chicago and Miami Zoblotsky began in New York with a fashion industry background before venturing into the world of film festivals. He soon became the director for a New York based festival, which be headed for over four years. It was there that he teamed up with Hartman, an ~dlorney, investnlcnt bal~J~el', aild I~rmel gc, neral c~un~cl ofTarl~lgon Ruaby Investors. Z~h~olsky and ttartman n~eved to S~,uthcll~ Callb~rni~ t~ strait AngcICiti a L,~s Allgcles fihn lestiv~,l designed as a vehicle Ibr indepcndcnl films lh~l[ could help t~ ~ed c~,n~em t,, Ii~eErlel ~Ueau~lng cJl~eIna s~tcs such ns wwwit~Jmc~m and www.~Lt,,ml~ h~ls c~,m N~w ill its thild year, Ange~C~i has growl~ tremendously and has spawned ~,thcr fi:sti~,ls under its banner in S~mta Fc, Ph~cnix, and l_aS Vegas. And since the Bcvcrly Hills Film Fcslival is competing with the IFP/Wesl Los Angeles Filnl AlexFernanaex Festival, Southern Calil~rnia looks poised to host the equivalent of a cross-city rivalry cc]luloid smackdown. May the best festival win. l'ihH l, esli~ul l;~l)i(It, mi~' Naturally, this all begs the question: Why a Beverly Hills Film Festival? With a healthy LA film festival from IFP/West, and a strong AngelCiti festival hosting Ig0 films alune, is there really a need for another outlet to show independent cinema? For ,~n industry budl atound perceptions and malketing, the Bevclly Hills brand name may bold the answer. "1'11 ruake no qualms about it," Zoblotsky told the Weekly in ~n exclusive interview "We were looking tot star power Beverly Hills is about star power It's aboul higher quab ity and marketing aspects of the product" Whereas other film festivals often cater to "very independem" filll~s of ~arious quality and styles, the Beverly Hills Film Festival is looking to carry mllic of an air el quality and exclusivity that many have come to associale with Ihc city. "The Beverly Hills Film Festival is a hi-polar opposite from AngelCiti," said ZoblotskY 10 Beverly Hills Weekly