Arrowhead film festival boasts two Hudsons

Operating out of a single location, the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival is admittedly an intimate affair.

And that's just the way the organizers want it.

"People have said year after year 'please don't grow, please don't get bigger, because this is perfect,' " said Mary Dippell, festival president.

The Lake Arrowhead Film Festival will present 88 films over four days at the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa.

Dippell has been to many of the bigger festivals, including Telluride and Palm Springs, which screen films at multiple locations.

By focusing on one screening venue, festival-goers get to know one another. "There's a friendship that develops," she said. "By Sunday everyone is on such a high, there is such an energy. The vibe is so good that you cannot find anywhere else."

Thursday night includes a "meet and greet" hosted by actor Vincent Spano, followed by the opening night film "La Mission." Directed by Peter Bratt and starring his brother Benjamin Bratt the film studies the life and conflicts of a Latino family in the San Francisco Mission district.

Actor Ernie Hudson is the host of Friday night's gala dinner, which includes a tribute to Rock Hudson and the Petrie family -- a Hollywood dynasty of directors, writers and producers.

The festival concludes with an awards luncheon Sunday.

And, of course, there are films -- lots and lots of them.

"We have several strong categories," Dippell said. "We have a very strong animation block. We have a very strong student film block."

"Head Over Heels," a film directed by veteran character actor Paul Dooley, will be screened. Starring Tim Curry and the late Harvey Korman, it marks Dooley's debut as a director. Other notable films include the world premiere of "Green Guys," a tale of four young con artists, inspired in part by the Rat Pack and the Bernie Madoff scandal; "Ivory," starring veteran actor Martin Landau; and "Pearl," the story of Chickasaw aviatrix Pearl Carter Scott, which was produced by the Chickasaw Nation.

Dippell said the film festival draws a diverse crowd, from locals to tourists, all with a common bond -- the love of film. "People see films at a film festival they won't get to see anywhere else."