By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
It may not bring in a pile of Oscars – not yet, anyway – and zombies may be more likely to show up than Robert Redford, but Garden Grove later this month steps into the movie business when it hosts the fifth annual Indie Fest, USA.
The festival will run April 26-May 1 on Main Street in downtown at the Festival Amphitheatre, a 550-seat outdoor setting best known as the home of the Shakespeare Orange County troupe.
“I think this will really be a great thing for Garden Grove and Main Street,” said Scott Weimer, a member of the board of the Downtown Business Association, which is hosting the festival. “It means bringing new people and new activity to our downtown.”
The festival, which will screen low-budget independent films, is the brain child of three friends, Don Taylor, Scott Taylor and Matt Kautsky.
“Two of us were aspiring film students and we wanted to have a location to exhibit our films as well as other independent movies,” said Taylor.
The festival’s first home was at Downtown Disney, an entertainment and shopping area adjacent to the Disney resorts in Anaheim. Using smaller auditoriums in a movie complex, they screened movies such as “King of the Zombies” and “Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf” to growing audiences.
Issues with the venue led to skipping the 2010 season, but Indie Fest is back this year at its new, larger home. “We’re very excited to be in the Festival Amphitheatre,” said Taylor. ‘The biggest auditorium we had before was about 200 seats, and at 550 seats, this is more than double the size.”
Although the films being shown won’t be big-budget Hollywood productions, Taylor says “they’ll be high quality.” In the world of multiplexes, Netflix and video-on-demand, there’s a growing appetite for film product.
“There will be [film] industry people there,” said Taylor. Filmmakers, of course, hope that a major studio will see their work and pick it up for wider distribution. It’s not so wild a dream; “Bred to the Bone” debuted at the Indiefest and was given a distribution deal by Sony Pictures.
Tickets will be $7 and there will be more than just showings: parties, concerts and other entertainment should follow. “This,” said Taylor, “is how the Sundance Festival got started.”