Moorpark hosts its first annual Film Festival

Awards+are+given+to+the+winners+of+each+category+at+the+Moorpark+Film+Festival+on+Sunday%2C+Aug.+25+in+the+High+Street+Arts+Center.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt
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Moorpark hosts its first annual Film Festival

Awards are given to the winners of each category at the Moorpark Film Festival on Sunday, Aug. 25 in the High Street Arts Center. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Awards are given to the winners of each category at the Moorpark Film Festival on Sunday, Aug. 25 in the High Street Arts Center. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Awards are given to the winners of each category at the Moorpark Film Festival on Sunday, Aug. 25 in the High Street Arts Center. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Awards are given to the winners of each category at the Moorpark Film Festival on Sunday, Aug. 25 in the High Street Arts Center. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Ryan Bough

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Independent movie buffs from around Ventura County flocked to the High Street Theater this weekend for the first annual Moorpark Film Festival, hosted by the Moorpark Rotary Club.

The theater, being one of the oldest in Ventura, was founded in 1927 and currently hosts an array of concerts, comedy nights and movies. The Festival was the vision of Moorpark Rotary Club member, Jay Ellison.

“We wanted to create a new event unique to Moorpark,” explained Ellison, the director of the Film Festival. “We have the High Street Theater, which is one of the first movie theaters in Ventura County.”

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The High Street Arts Center holds the first annual Moorpark Film Festival on Friday, Aug. 23 in Moorpark Calif. The theater was formerly known as the El Rancho, one of Ventura County's first "talking-movie" theaters. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

For its first year, the Festival featured 24 films and three music videos including titles such as “D-Railed” directed by Dale Fabrigar, “The Goodwill Effect” directed by Nickolas Wayne Thompson, “Dig Your Own Grave” directed by Kirk Larsen, “Snake River Rising” directed by Jay Pickett, and “Departure” directed by Daniel Agüera, Dusty Jenkins, Semih Bedir and Shahriar Shafiani.

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The cast and crew of the feature film "D-Railed" pose in front of the monster featured in the film on Saturday, Aug. 24 in Moorpark Calif. "D-Railed" won the Audience Choice Best Narrative Feature Award. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Fabrigar, the director of “D-Railed”, wholeheartedly supports the Moorpark Film Festival.

“It supports the arts. It exposes new film makers and new audiences to new types of films,” said Fabrigar. “There were some really great documentaries and really beautiful music videos today that I would have never seen that if I wasn’t here at the festival.”

The creative vision of up-and-coming directors, actors and producers was popular with the Festival’s audience. “Dig Your Own Grave,” a comedy, left the audience chuckling in their seats, while “Departure,” a family drama, won the Jury Award for Feature Narrative. “D-Railed,” a horror film, received the Feature Narrative Audience Award.

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Dale Fabrigar, director of "D-Railed," receives his Feature Narrative Audience Award during the conclusion of the Moorpark Film Festival on Sunday, Aug. 25. Audience members were able to vote using QR codes on the programs. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Attendees were able to vote for their favorite films using QR codes, while a panel of four judges decided upon Jury Awards. Those judges were Art LaFleur, Robin Forman Howard, Mary Carrig, Rachel-Hall and Bob Olson.

Jimmy Soliz, the man who inspired “The Goodwill Effect”, spoke about the impact of the Festival.

“I think that small film festivals like this in a small community can do a lot of good for the community because it makes a big impact and actually brings a community together,” Soliz stated.

Part of the proceeds of the Festival go to various charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Festival featured a guest speaker, Sophie Malchus, who volunteers with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Malchus explained that Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive genetic disease that affects the lungs and other body systems, there is currently no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Malchus also shared a documentary displaying the advances in research for treatment.

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(Left to Right) Rathin Rao, Nickolas Wayne Tompson, Ryan Sadaghiani, Dale Fabrigar, Dusty Jenkins, and Mike Schneier pose with their trophies at the Moorpark Film Festival award ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 25. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Next year Ellison hopes to find more venues to screen movies, receive more student short films and inspire new filmmakers to submit their films.

To inspire young and future filmmakers, Fabrigar lends an experienced perspective by saying, “Pursue your passion and don’t be afraid, just to go for it.”

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