History of the SoCal

As an event that celebrates the artistry of independent filmmakers and screenwriters, history is important to us.  Below is a brief history of some of the more recognizable names and faces to attend or have a movie in the festival when it was known as the SoCal Independent Film Festival.

We’ve taken that history and that legacy and re-branded it as the SoCal Film Awards with a global audience of filmmakers, entrants, and attendees.

Visit our MEDIA page to see a few highlights from seasons past!

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From left to right (featured in): David Morse, John C. McGinley (A.W.O.L.); Tom Hanks (Why Shakespeare?); Danny Trejo (Champion); Ann-Margret (All’s Faire in Love)

The fest had a combination of established veterans to up-and-comers of all ages attend and/or screen at the event in the past. Below are a few highlights with some names and faces you just might recognize!

Visiting for their short film Bug Hutch, Trent Opaloch and Robin Hays (far left below) settle in for an audience Q&A. At the time, Opaloch was best known for being the cinematographer for District 9. He has since gone on to serve in the same roll for Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, Elysium and many other mainstream blockbusters.

From left to right, in attendance: Trent Opaloch, Robin Hays, Andy Dick, Marshall Cook, Dean Jagger, Louise Fletcher, William Katt

Andy Dick and Marshall Cook attended for their short film Ad Corp, Inc. and stayed to entertain the audience on stage for an extended Q&A. Dean Jagger (third from the right) came to the fest with his director brother, Ben, for the intense drama The Paddy Lincoln Gang. Dean has gone on to star in Corbin Nash and portrayed the vicious Smalljohn Umber in season 6 of Game of Thrones. Louise Fletcher, best known for her role as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, came in support of her award winning film The Elephant King. William Katt was in attendance to support his movie Beautiful Loser.

From left to right, in attendance: Michael Welch, Victor Varnado, Frank Harper, Michael Bowen, Kurt Kuenne

Michael Welch, of Twilight fame, attended to partake in a Q&A regarding the documentary Surviving the Grind which featured C. Thomas Howell. The trio of Victor Varnado, Frank Harper, and Michael Bowen all attended in support of Permanent Vacation which also starred David Carridine. Kurt Kuenne attended the fest for his uplifting and award-winning short film, Validation. Kuenne’s follow-up project was the highly acclaimed Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About his Father.

And of course, the festival screened more than 1,000 movies over the years, helping to give indie creators exposure on the big screen. Some of the more recognizable faces included David Morse and John C. McGinley in a short film titled A.W.O.L. Tom Hanks was part of a documentary entitled Why Shakespeare? And, Danny Trejo, was the subject of a documentary about his life called Champion. The festival even served as the world premiere for All’s Faire in Love with Ann-Margret, Christina Ricci, and Matthew Lillard.

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