Films, stars converge in Twain Harte

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The fourth annual Film Fest Twain Harte will take place Friday through Monday at four Twain Harte locations, featuring movies from around the world.

Activities this year will take place at the Twain Harte Golf Course, American Legion Hall, Villa D'Oro restaurant and Telele Lodge at the former Black Oak School.

Prices range from $10 to $70 depending on the day and event. A "total package" option is available for $120. Tickets are on sale at the box office on Joaquin Gully Road and online at .

There will be a Western theme to this year's festival. The opening event, a VIP reception on Friday, will be followed by a presentation of "Pale Rider," the Clint Eastwood film celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Actors from the movie on hand for the celebration will include Sydney Penny, Herman Poppe and Jeffrey Weissman. Also present will be actress and former Miss America Lee Meriwether and Oscar-nominated actor Stuart Whitman.

The film lineup will include "Quiet Elegance," a feature-length documentary directed by Sonora resident John C. Brown, and "The Curse of the Un-Kissable Kid," a 13-minute comedy written and directed by Summerville High School graduate Mark Marchillo, now a professional writer, director and choreographer in Los Angeles.

His short film, about a bullied kid who drinks a magic potion before reading the fine print, stars Lee Meriwether as a fortune teller.

"Lee and I are both members of Theatre West in Los Angeles," Marchillo said, reached by telephone. "We've done projects on stage together and have just become really good friends. I asked her if she would be in my movie and she said yes, because she's a dear and that's just the kind of person she is."

Marchillo also said he plans to shoot his first feature film this fall in Tuolumne County.

Here's the festival schedule:

Friday - VIP reception at Twain Harte Golf Club, 5 to 9 p.m., with Western-style hors d'oeuvres, celebrities and filmmakers. The featured film is "Pale Rider," partially filmed in Tuolumne County 30 years ago. Reception and movie $30; movie alone $10, cash only.

Saturday - Movies all day at Twain Harte Golf Club and American Legion Hall Community Center, 10 a.m. to closing, prices vary; "Spaghetti Western Feed" fundraiser, Villa D'Oro restaurant, 4 to 9 p.m., $15 advance or $20 at the door. Includes one of three Western films at the Community Center: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More."

Sunday - Movies at Twain Harte Golf Club and Community Center, 10 a.m. to closing.

Sunday - Twainy Awards banquet, Telele Lodge, 6 to 9 p.m, $70, no-host beer and wine, gourmet dinner by Any Event Catering, and festival awards, including presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Stuart Whitman, who starred with John Wayne in "Comancheros." Whitman also earned an Academy Award nomination for his leading role as a child molester in "The Mark" in 1961 and starred in the hit 1967 television series "Cimarron Strip."

Monday - "Best of the Fest," movies from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Golf Club and Community Center.

Sydney Penny, who played Megan Wheeler in "Pale Rider" at age 13, previously played young Meggie in the 1983 miniseries "The Thorn Birds" and won an Emmy nomination in 1984 for her portrayal of B.J. Walker in the daytime serial "Santa Barbara." She is probably best known for playing Julia Santos on the daytime drama, "All My Children," first appearing in September 1993.

In 1995, Penny received another Emmy nomination for her work on "All My Children." Her credits also include co-starring on the syndicated television series "The New Gidget" and roles in "Running Away" with Sophia Loren and the French film "Bernadette."

Jeffrey Weissman has been performing as an actor since 1972. He landed his first co-starring role in 1982 in George Miller's "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet" episode of Twilight Zone: The Movie." He is best known for playing Teddy Conway in Clint Eastwood's "Pale Rider" and taking over the role of George McFly in the "Back to the Future" sequels. Weissman is also on the board of directors of Film Fest Twain Harte.

Herman Poppe,who played Ulrik Lindquist in "Pale Rider," is also known for "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and "The Rocketeer."

Another guest, Drew Droege, is best known for "Stallions de Amor," "Killing the Dream" and "Hollywood Acting Studio."

Actor and director Zack Gold is co-president of Film Fest Twain Harte. He is best known for "Survive" (2009), "The Last Buck Hunt" (2013) and "Chaplin of the Mountains" (2013).

For more information, call 586-6301. The complete schedule is available at .

The Union Democrat
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