Big Bear Lake Int’l Film Festival

We’re still glowing from our incredible weekend at the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival! First off, could there be a better setting for a festival? Gorgeous Big Bear Lake with its cooler climate was a great reprieve from Los Angeles and the stifling late summer heat. Fall was in the air, and it was downright delightful.


But really, it wasn’t the weather and location that made the festival, it was the community of filmmakers and film-lovers. We met a plethora of talented indie filmmakers, from fellow Chapman alumni Jacques Edeline and Oliver Maudlin with their feature film Split Gas to the folks behind Life Inside Out which premiered at Heartland Film Festival last year. Along with the filmmakers, the team behind the festival were also great company. We had the pleasure of getting to know board members Curtis Andersen and Rene Bordelon Andersen, who we discovered were also Chapman alums, as well as Alex Van Mecl the director of branding who introduced the special screening of the classic surf documentary Endless Summer. And we felt lucky every chance we could grab the attention of Executive Director Erica Tennyson. We’ll submit to any festival smart enough to have her at the helm. Thanks so much for including us, and we look forward to returning to enjoy the festival again next year. 

The Village 3 theater was one of the best venues we've had our film play at!

The Village 3 theater was one of the best venues we’ve had our film play at!


Have to take a photo in front of the step and repeat!

Have to take a photo in front of the step and repeat!


Matt hugging a big (wooden) bear

Matt hugging a big (wooden) bear


Uh oh, Katie found the local Fudge!

Uh oh, Katie found the local Fudge!


Taken from the top of the hike we did on Sunday morning!

Taken from the top of the hike we did on Sunday morning!



Up next, Heartland!

Olandar Screening

We had a spectacular night of painting, music, dance and film on Sunday in Malibu. This was more than just a screening, it was a celebration of all types of artistic talent. Held at Olandar, the home and creative haven of Carla and Leigh McCloskey, it was the perfect venue for a late summer screening.

Through his art, Leigh has transformed Olandar into a visual soup for the artistic soul. We started the evening touring the Hieroglyph of the Human Soul, his studio. After experiencing the beautiful imagery of Leigh’s art, Jagged performed in the garden. There’s nothing like seeing dancers perform to live music, and we were lucky to have Paul Anthony Romero and Brock Summers provide musical accompaniment on piano and sax. Topping off the evening was the screening of the film and a lively Q&A. Truly a screening we won’t forget!

Special thanks to our friend Brett Lupfer for the photos. Can you believe he’s never photographed pole dance before? We couldn’t either.



Co-Directors Matt & Katie Celia and producer Sean Barney taking it all in.


“Art is not a product it is an approach to living.” ~ Leigh J McCloskey

Audience in anticipation!

Audience in anticipation!


Jessica Anderson-Gwin and Anika Haldorsen


Jessica Agdeppa

Jessica Anderson-Gwin, Venus Morales, and Kristin McKnight.

Jessica Anderson-Gwin, Venus Morales, and Kristin McKnight.





Topanga Film Festival 2014 Recap

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to really give life to an independent film. Last week at the Topanga Film Festival, the community behind our film grew by leaps and bounds. In its 10th year, the Topanga Film Festival is a local festival with an artistic soul and warm heart. Run by the Topanga Film Institute it curates an incredible program of films that are courageous, educational, innovative, and action-invoking. It also has the unique artistic community of Topanga Canyon supporting it, and we felt we belonged the minute we arrived.

The festival began with an Opening Night Gala at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum,  which featured great food, great drinks and a showcase of fun and thought provoking shorts. Kicking off the festivities was none other than the talented dancers of Jagged. The ladies opened the festival with a 18 minute live performance of four pieces. Even four years later, we still get chills seeing them perform live.

Thanks to Jagged’s performance, we had an incredible turnout for our Friday night screening at the festival’s main venue Froggy’s. A packed house watched the film and stayed for a lively Q&A. You know you’ve made an engaging film when everyone asks more questions of Jessica then us!  Afterwards, we stayed for the Dance Showcase, where Jagged again performed to a rapt audience.

With our screening out of the way, we were able to sit back and enjoy the stellar program of films and get to know the filmmakers behind them. We had a great time sitting on a panel with fellow documentary filmmakers Kate Logan (Kidnapped for Christ), Michael Matheson Miller and Mark R. Weber (Poverty Inc), and Kerry Candaele (Following the Ninth). We really enjoyed seeing Jeremy Workman’s Magical Universea poignant portrait of eccentric artist Al Carbee. It was revitalizing to be surrounded by other successful filmmakers, many of whom have distribution and were on the tail-end of their festival runs. We loved the advice and reminder to keep our heads up!

Thanks so much to everyone for welcoming us into the Topanga community, especially Cari Ann Shim Sham and Topanga Film Institute founders Urs Baur and Sara Baur-Harding. We are happy to now be coyotes for life.



Matt with his official TFF gear.


Topanga special guest Alexander Payne chatting with longtime TFF supporter Wendy Malick.


Enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning at the fest.


Jessica Anderson Gwin and Kristin McKnight wowing the audience at the TFF Dance Showcase.

The movie playing in front of a packed house (tent!)

The movie playing in front of a packed house (tent!)


(Left to right) Katie, Matt, & Sean at the Topanga Film Festival opening night gala!