Hundreds of independent filmmakers and moviegoers from the San Fernando Valley and around the globe will make their way to the NoHo Arts District this fall for the 18th Annual Valley Film Festival, which will take over Laemmle’s NoHo 7 from October 31 to November 4 to screen more than 60 studio and independent films from both veteran and up-and-coming local and international directors. A series of educational panels and networking events will round out the five-day festival.
Established in 2001, this is the Valley’s first and longest continually running film festival. It’s also founder and Toluca Lake native Tracey Adlai’s way of showing love to her community. Adlai spent the first 30 years of her life in Toluca Lake, living off Sancola Avenue with her parents, who owned a bookstore on Riverside Drive. She spent a lot of time on Riverside, going shopping and dining at “fun restaurants, like the China Trader, which is where I wanted to spend every single birthday,” she recalls. Her other fond memories include trick-or-treating at the Bob Hope estate and participating in holiday parades. “When I drive down Riverside Drive now, I can still see the shadows of where I used to hang out,” she says. “Toluca Lake was a great place to live, and I’m very fortunate to have grown up here.”
For Adlai, who studied film at New York University, the goal of the festival is to give local filmmakers a platform to showcase their work and to provide them with resources to achieve success in Hollywood. “The cornerstones of the festival have and will always be the films that are made and shot in the Valley,” Adlai says. By spotlighting local talent, she hopes that people unfamiliar with the area will grow to appreciate its contributions to film and see the Valley in a whole new light.
While the festival itself is the marquee event, the nonprofit Valley Film Festival arts organization also hosts numerous screenings and events throughout the year to give local filmmakers a venue to connect with other artists and industry professionals. “I’m very proud of the Valley, and I’m very proud of the contributions I’ve made to film,” says Adlai. “The festival is definitely a labor of love, and I’m fulfilled watching everyone’s films come in each year.”
For tickets and scheduling, visit valleyfilmfest.com.