Austin in Beverly Hills

Jeff StolhandActing, Production

I missed the first email. I’m not sure how. So, when I saw the second email telling me that my short film, “Smoke & Mirrors,” had been accepted into the 17th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival, I realized I was almost out of time to respond.

So, respond I did.

First I called the actress and writer of the film, Mary Anzalone, to give her the good news. Then I filled out the required material to confirm our attendance and got it sent back to the festival on time. Barely.

Note to self. Check email more carefully.

Austin to LAX

I flew out of Austin in the early hours on the Friday morning before our Saturday night screening. Fueled by coffee and Maudie’s breakfast tacos, I managed to get some writing done on the plane.

I hit LA by 10 am, got the rental car, had a series of meetings and then headed to the hotel.

The official hotel for the festival was the Hollywood Roosevelt. So, hey. I had to stay there. If being the official hotel of the festival isn’t enough of a reason to stay at the Roosevelt, then you could also add the fact that Errol Flynn drummed up his famous recipe for bootleg gin in a big tub in the hotel’s barber shop.

At least that’s the rumor.

If it’s good enough for Errol Flynn then it’s good enough for me.

After checking into the hotel, I ventured over to the TLC Chinese theater on Hollywood Blvd. The theater is the official venue for The Beverly Hills Film Fest.

I discovered there is a true skill in walking from the Roosevelt to the Chinese Theater.

First, push the crosswalk button on the corner.

Second, blend in with the pedestrians as you cross Hollywood Boulevard.

Third, dodge the Marilyn Monroe look-alike, the two Storm Troopers, the four guys with discount sale signs, Freddy Krueger, Elvis and the dude trying to force you to buy his CDs.

And you’re there!

Once in the theater, I met the folks that run the festival, and they were truly a terrific group of people.

On Friday night I saw a wonderful film called Delinquent.

The director, Kieran Valla, was in attendance and he and I ended up having a long chat about the movie business back at the Roosevelt.

The next morning we woke up in the hotel room stoned out of our minds with a tiger in the room and a baby in the closet.

No, wait. That was in the movie, “The Hangover.”

Okay, so we just had a nice chat and after that I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich from 25 Degrees, the all night restaurant at the hotel.

Somehow grilled cheese just isn’t as exciting as a tiger. Safer? Yes. More exciting? No.

On Saturday, I had a meeting at H Coffee House in Los Feliz. It was only a little over three miles from the hotel. It took me four days to get there.

Okay, it was only 30 minutes, but it felt like four days. LA traffic sucks.

On Saturday night we screened our film. Mary, the writer/producer/actress, was in attendance along with our composer, Stephen Bennett. Also, in attendance were Corin Brouillette and actor, Chris Marroy.

It was awesome to see the film on the big screen and the audience was wonderfully receptive.

All in all, it was a great trip. I highly recommend the Beverly Hills Film Festival to filmmakers and movie lovers alike.