Yucca Valley Film Festival It’s a Wrap!

It’s a wrap for the 4th annual Yucca Valley Film Festival! The Award Presenters this year included Mayor Jim Schooler, Councilmember Robert Lombardo, Miss Yucca Valley, Lei Lonie Liechti, First Princess, Jaylene Ramos, and YVHS Homecoming Queen, Celine Molina.

Once again: multiple local talents shine as winners this year:

The documentary, Inside the Beauty Bubble, went home with the prestigious Yucca Valley Award.

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Kassy Mahea, a returning filmmaker to the festival living in Joshua Tree, won big with Best Dance Film.

Genea Gaudet earned the Keep Mojave Free Award with her Music Video Wasteland, featuring local snake wrangler, Danielle Wall.

Several projects filmed in the Mojave Desert also won big, as did other artists from Arizona, South Africa, France, and the UK.

The community showed in numbers for the return of the in-person festival, the first following Covid-19 restrictions. The many activities of the festival were attended by families, teenagers, and seniors, and included a constant stream of discussions at the meet and greets between local festival goers, the filmmakers, and the festival partners.

The Lady Trojan Basketball team walked the Red Carpet on Friday, The YVHS Cheers performed on Saturday, and the Miss Yucca Valley Court presented multiple awards on Sunday.

Continue reading for more details from Joshua Tree Voice reporter, Sherry Greer

By Sherry Greer

The 4th Annual Yucca Valley Film Festival was held November 11-13 at the City of Yucca Valley’s Community Center adjacent to City Hall and the police station. Films from over 15 countries and the local area of the Morongo Valley were screened for filmmakers and free to the public.

Friday night’s opening screenings included director Brent Huff’s film, The Jackie Stiles Story, an inspirational documentary about the epic achievements of the 5’8 WNBA basketball star, who despite her shorter stature and against all odds, dominated in the sport. Now streaming on Apple TV, VUDU, and Tubi.

Brent Huff was on hand Saturday as well for a Masterclass session with Mina Sundwall (Lost in Space’s Penny Robinson). Both Brent and Mina have had long careers as actors but came to speak about their experiences as directors. Mina Sundwall directed a film with a behind the scenes look at the Lost in Space television production’s many crew departments in It Takes a Village, a documentary streaming on YouTube.

The majority of the film festival consisted of short films in various genres. Some standouts from the program were:

  • Snow Globe directed by Billy Ryder and written by Joshua Tree resident Michael Wielock, is a dark holiday short with two wins (Best Composer, Best Poster). Wielock explained his intention in the writing the piece was to explore Christmas Day as a moment in time and reconciling our nostalgic feelings with that day and darker events. See it on WatchAlter.com starting Dec 20th, 2022
  • Baby directed by Matt Mitchell from Los Angeles is a fresh comedy about a husband who becomes incensed by the inappropriate gaze of an infant in a highchair towards his wife. When the waiter brings a drink to his wife – compliments of the baby – things turn ugly.
  • The Last Knight directed by Olexander Onufriev and shot in Ukraine, tells the tale of a tortured husband by a verbally abusive wife who finds redemption in a cat fight in the park. Due to the war, the director could not travel to attend the event but sent a video introduction to set the stage.
  • Mary Meet Grace directed by and starring Faryl Amadeus, won the overall category Best Short Film and was shot locally in Landers. A tense tale of an adopted daughter hoping to meet her long lost birth mother in the desolate desert. A stunning first-time work from Amadeus and no doubt not the last. See it on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/541142167

For more information on films and events go to yuccavalleyfilmfestival.com

Snow Globe directed by Billy Ryder

Sherry Greer is the founder of Sage Circle Farm, a small plant based organic farm in Yucca Valley, CA.  Check out their fresh microgreens at the Joshua Tree Farmers Market every Saturday morning from 8AM – 1PM.

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