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Tahoe gets inside glimpse of Hollywood

Although the theaters were never quite full at South Lake Tahoe’s first film festival, a crowd of 300 gathered Saturday night to honor Janet Leigh, and the final show Sunday drew nearly 500 people eager to see “Sunset Boulevard.”

In an interview with Nick Clooney which Lake Tahoe Film Festival Co-founder Claire Fortier called “magical,” Leigh – the actress famously slain in the shower in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “Psycho” – told stories of her time in Hollywood.

“Here we are at Tahoe and this film legend is giving us background information about some of the world’s greatest directors and actors,” Fortier said. “I had never seen anything like it.”



Leigh marveled at how Hitchcock could show audiences just enough to stimulate their imagination, adding that she loved every minute of her numerous kissing scenes.

‘You have probably kissed every leading man in Hollywood,” Clooney joked.




“Janet Leigh was spectacular,” said Judy Lewis of Danville Calif., who works in film and has been to dozens of other film festivals. “Most of them are all about independent films. This festival was novel for having old movies.”

“Citizen Kane” – recently voted the greatest American film by the American Film Institute – was shown Sunday morning in a theater less than half-full. But it was filled with excitement.

The film was introduced by two filmmakers, Jason Clark and Rob Minkoff, who worked together on “Stuart Little,” which was nominated this year for an Academy Award.

“You are sitting in a room this morning at the start of something great,” said Clark, whose film “Happy Texas” was named a festival favorite at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. “This can be an ongoing and successful event.”

Fortier agreed, but hoped that in the future more people will take part in the event.

“Everybody starts somewhere, and we started with a bang,” she said. “We have the capacity to do a major festival here.”

Minkoff’s uncle, Larry, who has lived at South Shore for close to 30 years, said, “I don’t think I have ever seen so many great old movies in one place.”

The festival did showcase some new independent films, including six short films by Marc Brown, who has worked dozens of films such as, “Terminator 2,” “The Abyss,” and “Independence Day.”

“They are just no-budget little things about the funny things little kids do, and seeing the world new through their eyes,” he said of his films, which Fortier called hilarious.

“In 10 years (the festival) will either be a distant memory or you won’t be able to get near a ticket,” Larry Minkoff said.

Clark pointed out the passes used at Sundance its first year are now worth thousands of dollars and Brown said, “This has been a wonderful experience and hopefully next year there will be twice as many people.”


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