Annual film festival features international selections

Movie fans, rejoice — the Claremont Film Festival is coming to town.

The ninth annual iteration of the event, held at the Claremont Laemmle Theatre, kicks off Thursday, May 18. Festival organizer Vince Turner says this year’s theme, “We. The world,” reflects the international nature of the films themselves.

“The films are from different countries and also depict things going on in different countries,” says Mr. Turner, a board member for the event’s host, Claremont Community College (CCC).

CCC isn’t the sixth undergraduate member of the Claremont University Consortium — it’s a local group that hosts educational, cultural and social events, according to Mr. Turner.

Along with board members Judy Hopf and Kurt Tale, Mr. Turner has overseen the gradual expansion of the festival — from one night of movie watching to this year’s four — and says the event’s selective criteria make it worth a visit.

“Many film festivals take submissions. And so they’re selecting from what’s submitted, and sometimes it’s not really good,” he explains. “We don’t take submissions; we find good stuff. It takes all year to find things for our 90-minute (short films) show. It’s all top quality stuff.”

To cull the finest films, Mr. Turner and his companions visit other film festivals, meet with foreign film sellers and browse the American Film Market in Santa Monica each year.

The movies making this year’s cut include opening-night film “MERU,” which follows a trio of Himalayan climbers, and “Following the Ninth,” a documentary about Beethoven’s final symphony, playing Friday.

Saturday features “Searching for Sugar Man,” about a musician who achieves fame in South Africa; “Satellite Beach,” documenting the Endeavor space shuttle’s journey through Los Angeles; and the selection of short films. Sunday’s matinee, “Older Than Ireland,” documents 30 Irish centenarians, while tickets for Sunday night’s “Warsaw Uprising” documentary are free thanks to the Warsaw Uprising Museum in Germany, Mr. Turner says.

“Come to the show!” Mr. Turner exclaims, promising an “excellent experience for the audience.”

Tickets are available at, and most films cost $10 or $15.

—Kellen Browning


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