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Three LGBT short films to be shown at Oceanside film festival

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Gay- and lesbian-oriented “The Miracles On Honey Bee Hill,” “Nobody's Child” and “The Long Road” are examples of some of the unique films that will be shown Aug. 16 to 19 at the Oceanside International Film Festival.

The festival is founded and sponsored by Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation, the fest’s parent entity. The festival showcases narrative features, documentaries, shorts, animation and student works from filmmakers who have not yet signed distribution agreements and look for recognition among wider audiences.

The event opens Thursday at 5 pm with a red carpet arrival of film industries stars and reception of filmmakers at Star Theatre, 402 North Coast Highway in Oceanside. The evening will continue at Star with refreshments and appetizers, and screening of Guest Feature Film “Callous” -- winner of previous OIFF – a narrative film about the evils of mental and physical abuse towards children within their own families.

Among the highlights of the festival will be Q&A sessions, recognition of the industry activists and closing ceremonies with Best-In-The-Category honorary announcements, plus Best of Festival Trophy and Audience Choice Awards.

Among the submissions are works by independent filmmakers from Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe and America. Nearly every continent is represented this year.

The festival will publicly screen a great number of unique and independent films – 50 films to be exact - filling up as many as 25 total hours of screening time.

“The Miracles On Honey Bee Hill” (in Narrative Shorts category) was written and directed by Bob Pondillo. According to the director, this short, which features mostly children actors, has created a bit of a stir in the Middle Tennessee area where it was produced. A young female pines for true love, but when she finds her “special someone” her zealously religious church family becomes enraged over it, and attempts to drive her from the congregation. It literally takes a visit from God for the pious group to accept and understand the power of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and love.

Pondillo, Ph.D., is a professor of mass media history and American culture at Middle Tennessee State University, where he also teaches screenwriting classes.

“I see the movie as a PG-13-type offering, suitable for all ages 13 up (with parental/guardian knowledge and perhaps discussion before and after.) I can't tell (...) if you've seen the film, but once you do I'm almost certain you'll wonder what the fuss was about. In terms of a film festival audience, I sense adults 18 and over would have no trouble with it. There is no coarse language, no blood, gore or violence, no overt sex or sexuality in it - it's an innocent story, drained of sex, to highlight the bigger issues of love, commitment, tolerance, fairness and marriage equality.”

The cast consisted of one adult, 30 children, two babies and a dog.

“Nobody's Child” (in Narrative Shorts category) was written, directed and produced by a Los Angeles based filmmaker Dennis Nollette, who also played a supporting role in the production.

Annie and Paul have been best friends for years. Annie discovers she may have breast cancer and wants Paul, who is gay, to raise her 8-year-old son if anything happens to her, rather than the boy's father. Paul, young and in love with a fast gay lifestyle, is not so sure that's such a great idea. This picture is based on a short story of the same name by David Groff, published in 1988 in an anthology of gay short stories. The filmmaker happened to be looking for subject matter to make a short film when he learned (in real life) that a friend of his was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The Long Road” (in Narrative Shorts category) is film by a first time screenwriter, director and producer Lori Ravensborg from Alberta, Canada.

This is a film covering themes of death, loss, separation, estrangement, growing up and letting go. A hardworking Alberta farmer had the toughest week of his life -- his wife of 41 years has just tragically passed away. The adult children reassemble at their longtime family home bringing not only their grief of the loss but the emotional baggage of their varying family relationship history.

The idea for writing the script came from something the filmmaker’s mother said randomly one day. She said, "If I ever have a stroke or become incapacitated, don't keep me around. I don't want people stuck taking care of me. I've had a good life, let me move on."

The film hopes to prompt family conversations about the decisions we often don’t engage in making and how sometimes, we wish we would have.

These three films will be shown Aug. 18 at Star Theatre. For complete schedule and tickets ($10 to $50 range, reservations for all events highly recommended), click HERE.