Hollywood Film Festival Shines Light on Social Causes

The 19th annual Hollywood Film Festival has unveiled a quartet of opening night films for its Sept. 24 launch: Scott Ehrlich’s “Pearly Gates,” Eshom and Ian Nelms’ “Waffle Street,” Eric Weber’s “Outliving Emily” and Eugene Corr and Roberto Chile’s “Ghost Town To Havana.”

The four-day festival, which will take place at Arclight Hollywood, has programmed 20 narrative features, 27 documentaries and 38 shorts from 3,019 submissions. The festival will aim for social impact with a “See Good / Do Good / Feel Good” theme.

“Pearly Gates” is a comedic musical starring Uzo Aduba, Illeana Douglas, Bonnie Sommerville, Peter Bogdonavich and Lainie Kazan. “Waffle Street” stars James Lafferty and Danny Glover in the true story of a hedge fund operator who loses his job and winds up working as a waiter at a waffle shop.

“Outliving Emily” (pictured above) stars Olympia Dukakis, Louis Zorick, Andre Braugher, Zosia Mamet and Alexis Bledel in a look at a marriage over the course of 50 years. “Ghost Town to Havana” is the story of two youth baseball coaches who strike up a friendship in an online gaming room.

CEO and executive producer Brad Parks and executive director Rod Beaudoin are leading the event after the departure of Jon Fitzgerald from the executive director slot.

Parks worked for The Hanleigh Companies, America’s first direct underwriter for Lloyds of London. Beaudoin has more than 20 years of festival programming and entertainment experience and helped launch the Beloit International Film Festival in 2005.

“Our goal is to demonstrate the power of cinematic storytelling as a tool to fuel positive social change,” said Parks.

Beaudoin said, “Many of Hollywood’s celebrities are heavily involved in important global causes, so overlapping is eminent. But with digital technology, our cultures are colliding more now than ever and audiences globally are responding to the inspiration of social content.”

Other screenings include the world premiere of Francisco J Ricardo’s “F For Franco,” a multi-layered exploration into the mind of James Franco, and Jefery Levy’s “The Key,” an erotic look at marriage and lust with David Arquette and Bai Ling starring.

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