My Trip to the Temecula Valley International Film Festival

Temecula Valley Film Festival

To be honest, I had never heard of the Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival (TVIFF) until I stumbled upon this article from Huffington Post “Fantastic Film Festivals That You Might Not Know About“. So it was a no brainer, I decided to go to Temecula.

The last time I visited was more than 10 years ago and a friend of mine commutes from Temecula to where I work in Irvine everyday so I thought driving would be a breeze. I arrived at the venue a little early and I was really impressed how organized and friendly the staff was. The volunteers were so helpful.

Celebrating its 18th anniversary, the festival spotlights the work of noted independent filmmakers and talented musicians from around the world. This year TVIFF has partnered with Deaf West Theatre, Inc. The opening night festivities started September 17 at 5:30 pm with the feature film “A Little Game“. September 18-21 are film screenings; September 20-21: Workshops & Panels;  September 18-20: Artisans Collective; Friday and Saturday, September 19-20: MusicFest. The festival has screened over one thousand films and showcased musicians from all genres. TVIFF has also brought  leading figures in the entertainment industry. This year’s gala is hosted by actor/comedian Jamie Kaler, the gala honors musicians Alan Parsons and Arturo Sandoval, composers David Schwartz (“Arrested Development”) and Lucy Schwartz (“Twilight”), and director Joseph Sargent (“Gunsmoke.”).  Temecula is socal’s premiere wine country destination. Aside from the gorgeous vineyards, it has a galore of olive trees and lavenders.

Justin Ricaforte

I was able to interview a couple of filmmakers. One in particular is Justin Ricaforte who just graduated from Great Oak High School in Temecula enthusiastically said, “So just this year we found out that the Film Festival in Temecula is being recirculated again after being gone for two years. Actually I found out that it was happening.

And so we thought it would be a great opportunity to submit something that we could do cause we’ve been doing a lot of side things off handedly..uumm just like really small things that we put up on YouTube and we wanted to be able to go to an event where stuff like this is the main priority to be acknowledged and as an artform.

I think all of us can say that it is very valuable. Being a kid, it is great to be able to top into that as early as possible so an opportunity like this was really big for us.”

Justin Ricaforte and friends at Temecula Valley Film Festival

Justin Ricaforte and friends at Temecula Valley Film Festival

Kristen Baum

Another filmmaker from Los Angeles with the name of Kristen Baum added why she was at TVIFF, “My film is called ‘Assasins’ and we’re here to screen it. We have two screenings- one on Friday night at 9:00 and one on Saturday at 1 pm and we’re just starting off with our festival run and just excited to share our film with everybody.”

Kristen also added it’s her first time at TVIFF, “This is my first time coming here. I’ve been to Temecula one other time and I think it’s a gorgeous city and I really look forward to drink some wine.”

Filmmaker Kristen Baum at Temecula Film Fest

Filmmaker Kristen Baum at Temecula Film Fest

A Little Game

Prior to the showing of the feature film, A Little Game, Jo Mouton, Founder and Festival Director, did a little introduction about TVIFF. She also introduced the director of the feature film, Evan Oppenheimer and the star of the movie Makenna Ballard. Oppenheimer has been praised by The New York Times and Variety with his work on “The Auteur Theory” and “Justice”. This is his 5th film. Makenna Ballard, who played Max in the movie is a child theatre actress making her debut in this movie.

Child Actress Makenna Ballard and Director Evan Oppenheimer of feature film "A Little Game"

Child Actress Makenna Ballard and Director Evan Oppenheimer of feature film “A Little Game”



Special thanks to Gaye Jacobs.

Opening Feature Film A Little Game


Jo Mouton, Founder and Festival Director of TVIFF

Jo Mouton, Founder and Festival Director of TVIFF and Beverly Nero, Deaf West Theatre , Inc


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