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Reeling ’em in

LAKE TAHOE PIONEERING IN FILM FESTIVAL

Residents have said for years, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a film festival at Lake Tahoe?”

Movie aficionados are about to see their wish come true.



“I finally got tired of no one doing anything about it,” said Denise Sloan, executive director for the nonprofit film board who is organizing the upcoming Lake Tahoe Pioneering in Film Festival.

The weekend of April 7, 8, 9 marks the middle of the spring ski season and the date of the first Lake Tahoe film festival which will be hosted all over the south shore.



Sloan said the idea for a film festival was born two years ago when Sloan, Claire Fortier and Mindy Johnke were sanding furniture in Sloan’s garage with power tools while sharing a bottle of wine.

“We decided that it was time to quit talking and start doing,” Sloan said. It was only a matter of time before the “three girls in a garage” as Sloan calls it, got the attention of agencies who have helped turn the idea into a reality.

The Lake Tahoe Special Events Coalition was first to support the film festival, soon thereafter the Lake Tahoe Visitor Authority followed suit, and finally the Nevada Commission on Tourism jumped on board giving the film board two grants to aid them in their efforts.

Supporters of the upcoming festival are hopeful that its first time at bat will be well received. Jim Rafferty, LTVA president and vice president for Harveys Resort & Casino hopes that the event will inevitably grow.

“Harveys and Jim Rafferty are totally supportive of the film festival,” Rafferty said.

He thinks that starting small is the best way to ensure future film festivals. “I don’t think we should have enormous expectations for the first one,” Rafferty said.

“We are going to learn how to do it and we’re going to have fun doing it,” he said.

Sloan is also optimistic for the future of the festival. “We have a goal of attracting 50,000 festival goers within five years to a Lake Tahoe film festival that is nationally and internationally recognized,” she said.

The festival’s programming will be provided by film experts from the American Film Institute. According to Sloan, AFI is the preeminent arts organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image.

“We will be showing everything from the best movies of the century to a retrospective on the evolution of film to world premieres that are still in post production,” Sloan said.

The film board, with the help of corporate sponsorship and in-kind donations, is trying to reach their $60,000 fund-raising goal by the end of March.

Two recent fund-raisers have raised more than $4,000. The first was a sit down dinner held at David Walley’s Hot Springs in Genoa on Jan. 21. The second “Hollywood Gala” was hosted at the Fresh Ketch on Jan. 23.

“The support that we have received from this community has been phenomenal — everyone from the major casinos to city transportation to area arts groups to small businesses, they have donated as much as they possibly can to make this film festival a reality,” Sloan said.

Dave Solaro, 5th district supervisor for El Dorado County, has gone to both events and is looking forward to the film festival.

“Claire and Denise should be commended,” Solaro said. “I think it is a great concept and it will help the community both economically and culturally.”

Rafferty attended the costume party last weekend and said that anytime anyone dresses up for a party it is bound to be a good time.

Jerome Evans attended the party as well. He dressed up as Harrison Ford’s character Indiana Jones and his date Sally Thiele went as a Woody Allen movie actress. Evans said “it was terrific,” and said he would definitely attend other fund-raisers that will support the film festival. “I hope we can generate a lot of enthusiasm locally,” Evans said.


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