By Anna Wenger
The 12th Annual Temecula Valley International Film and music Festival opened with an all star vintage car mini parade and a Hollywood style red carpet welcome and wrapped up the week with a Black Tie Awards Gala Extravaganza at Pechanga Resort & Casino Grand Ballroom.
Up and coming music artists representing all genres of music were showcased before an international audience of music industry professionals and music loving fans on the music scene among the live performances were "This That And The Other" and "Kate & Kasey Coppola."
Various workshops on film and music industry related topics, including workshops and panels on Screenwriting, Producing, Directing, Acting, were also given.
The opening night Film was "Beautiful Dreamer" – a compelling love story set against the backdrop of World War II about a B-24 pilot thought to have been shot down and declared dead. Years later his wife discovers that he is still alive but not the same person she fell in love with. Various shorts and student films were screened at the Tower Plaza Center Movie Experience Theaters.
After four days of contemporary feature length films, short films, student films, screenings, documentaries and animation, it was time to party and celebrate Oscar style, everyone rushed off to dress up for the red carpet at Pechanga Resort and Casino's Grand Ball Room Gala extravaganza and Awards dinner.
Recipients of the awards included Dennis Haysbert, who received the Terry Gilmore Award of Excellence for outstanding career achievement in acting. Dennis has captured the attention of audiences and critics alike with his portrayal of President David Palmer on Fox's hit series "24" and his current CBS series "The Unit" Dennis is also know for Far from Heaven, Love and Basketball, Absolute Power, and Waiting to Exhale. He has two new films being released; "Breach" and "Goodbye Bafana." When asked if he would ever consider actually running for President, Dennis responded, "No I am actually more into People than Politics." He said that he felt very humbled to receive his award and that he was very excited about his current series "The Unit." His advice to aspiring actors is "Study acting and study hard." He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and New York.
Dionne Warwick received the Daniel L. Stephenson Humanitarian Award for lifetime achievement in music. Dionne, hot on the music scene since the early 60's has transcended race and generation and is know for such hits as "Do you know the way to San Jose" – "Alfie" – "Walk on By" – " I say a little Prayer for You" and "Close to You." Dionne said she will appear this fall on Simon Cowell's much-anticipated new music show for Fox-TV called "Duets." A tribute and Performance of Dionne's music was given by Terry Steele. Dionne Warwick said I am very excited and honor red to receive the award. She has a new CD coming out entitled My Friends and Me, which includes Duets with female and male friends on Concord records, later this year.
Hector Elizondo, from Harlem New York received the Founder's Award for his lifetime achievement in acting. He is known for his performances in "Chicago Hope" – "Pretty Woman" – "The Great White Hope – "Tortilla Soup" and "Princess Diary." Hector says that he was encouraged that the festival paid attention to the young people because "They are our future and we need to show them the way and keep raising the bar higher." He continued to say, "Our kids need to rise above just being consumers. They need to get educated because education is the key to understanding that in the real world, it is not all about shopping for the bling-bling but joining together as a community.
Also in attendance was Beverly Todd who lives in Los Angeles and is known for "Crash" and "Animal." she took part in the Dionne Warwick introduction and said she was very impressed with the Film Festival and intends to attend next year.
After Jo Molton, the founder of TVIFF relocated to Temecula from Los Angeles, having worked in the film industry, she saw the potential for Hollywood to utilize Temecula as a film shooting location and to get the word out, in 1995, she started a Film and Music Council from which evolved into the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival, the first of which had only 50 in attendance. The 2006 Festival entertained about 15,000 over the week-long event. She says, "In the last twelve years, we have screened over a thousand films and brought over one hundred leading figures in the industry to Temecula, which has included legends such as Etta James, Billy Preston Carl Reiner, and Ray Charles who not only traveled from Texas the week of 911, he introduced her to other artist." She is looking forward to the 2007 TVIFF to be even bigger and better.