Monday, May 20, 2013

AMFM Fest in Coachella June 13-16

UPDATED! Veteran festival producers Film 4 Change are poised to launch the latest art, music and film event in the Coachella Valley, the inaugural AMFM Fest, running from June 13 -16, 2013 at the UltraStar Mary Pickford Theater, the Cathedral City Town Square and other select desert venues, Festival Co-Directors Rich Henrich and Robert Galarza announced this week. Henrich and Galarza have also added rock group and now AMFM headliner GRAM RABBIT to the extensive programming slate. 

The AMFM: art, music, film and more Festival is a creation of Film 4 Change, whose mission is to bring communities together through the power of story and the art of laughter while showcasing the best emerging talent and thought leaders in art, music, film, photography and comedy

 "The inaugural AMFM festival is a celebration of film, music, visual arts, fashion and all of those creative voices who push the boundaries of their medium and who invoke change in society,” said Galarza who, with Henrich, presented the Albuquerque Film Festival from 2009-2012  “We encourage and support independent filmmakers, artists and musicians from around the world, and bringing the Coachella Valley a dazzling array of both feature and short films, innovative, intimate musical showcases, and terrific live comedy.”

“This year we will be screening over fifty films at the Mary Pickford Theater and Desert IMAX in beautiful downtown Cathedral City,” Henrich continues. “Additionally, the Cathedral City Town Square will be alive with music, beverages, food vendors and art from Santa Fe, NM to the LA Basin.”

Galarza and Henrich announced the nearly complete lineup of programming today; highlights include:

  • Award-winning Santa Fe-based artist and photographer Scott Christopher that includes a never before seen photograph of Michael Jackson.
  • Award winning New York artist and photographer Elizabeth Christopher.
  • Los Angeles-based artist Kimberly Zsebe whose blending of religious iconography and contemporary pop culture commercialism compelled Eric Minh Swenson of the Huffington Post to call her “a future icon of the art world.”
  • Photography and art showcases from The Gallery Store that include:
    • Photography by Robert Zuckerman, whose fans and collectors include Will Smith; Jerry Bruckheimer, Denzel Washington. Michael Bay,  and Arnold Schwarzenegger who introduced him to President Bill Clinton by saying, “This is Robert Zuckerman, the best photographer I have ever worked with.”
    • Paintings by actor, poet, writer and artist Viggo Mortensen
  • Photography by Craig Semetko, whose work led to the opening of a gallery in Washington D.C. by Leica for his work “Craig Semetko: Unposed.”
  • Activist photographer and social justice advocate Nicol Ragland, who has done work for the Global Service Corps of Tanzania, the Millennium Village of Rwanda, Global Green, IFAW, The Cine Institute of Haiti and World Neighbors.
  • Photographer and activist Dan Eldon, whose life and tragic death in Somalia in 1993 inspired a generation and whose spirit of creative activism remains in the spirit and work of Film 4 Change.  This exhibit sponsored by the Dan Eldon Center for Creative Activism.
  • Artist and filmmaker James Kleinert, whose film WILD HORSES AND RENEGADES  enjoined Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortensen  Darryl Hannah and U2 in his efforts to save America’s wild horses from extinction.  
  • Los Angeles-based artist Gordy Grundy, whose last exhibit BURN showed more than 200 works at Coagula Cultural in downtown LA.
  • Artist and acclaimed music video director Ace Norton, and more to come.
  • Rock group Gram Rabbit, hailing from nearby Joshua Tree, will headline the music slate at the festival; the amalgation of psych-rock and electropop comes from foursome Jesika von Rabbit, Rodd Rutherford, Jason Gilbert, and Ethan Allen.
  • Van’s Warped tour veterans The Miracle Dolls, who will be performing a concert for the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City and who will be donating guitars to the kids after the show.
  • Blues-rock artist Patrick Sweany, who’s been praised by the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen as “the best and I’ve been a fan for a long time. Dig it yourself and tell a friend!"
  • LA-based The Record Company whose sound was described by Time Out LA as “if John Lee Hooker and the Stooges had a well-behaved love child.”
  • Lancaster, CA’s Tramps in Stereo
  • San Diego based Family Wagon, whose work was described as “rock ‘n’ roll in its youngest and purest form” by Random Length News.
  • The Coachella Valley’s Tribesmen, Rebel Noise, Felix and Notepad, Pssstols, Los Mumblers and more.
  • DJ’s: DJ Day, DJ Alf Alpha, DJ Joplin, DJ Pedro Bass and more.
Additional music programming will be provided by Knitting Factory Entertainment (KFE)

An invitational film festival, Galarza and Henrich have selected contemporary and classic films from around the world:
  • The World Premiere of Kurt Jacobsen and Warren Lemming’s documentary AMERICAN ROAD with actors Sean Stone and Ed Asner in attendance.
  • The World Premiere of the action drama JUNCTION with actors David Zayas (Dexter) and Anthony Rapp in attendance.
  • The World Premiere of the comedy 2ND SERVE starring Guillermo Diaz (HALF BAKED) and Kevin Sussman (BIG BANG THEORY).
  • The World Premiere of the hilarious satire comedy PARANORMAL MOVIE starring Kevin Farley, Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore.
  • The World Premiere of the intense, dark drama MAN IN THE SILO starring Ernie Hudson.
  • The World Premiere of Sage Seb’s compelling documentary A STROLL THROUGH THE PARK: AN ASHBURY SYMPHONY which follows street artist Shepard Fairey through Ashbury Park during the All Tomorrow’s Party festival and shows the last exhibition of Shepard’s work that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
  • The California Premiere of Alex Winter’s critically acclaimed documentary DOWNLOADED telling the story of the rise and fall of Napster.
  • The 20th Anniversary screening of Richard Linklater’s DAZED AND CONFUSED with attendance by stars Jason London and Anthony Rapp who also have films in the Festival, respectively, AVARICE and JUNCTION.
  • The California Premieres of Slamdance favorites FYNBOS and JOY DE V, with attendance by JOY DE V’s director Nadia Szold, as well as the electric documentary BATTERY MAN.
  • The California Premiere of MARIACHI GRINGO, starring Shawn Ashmore (X-MEN) and legendary Mexican actress Martha Higareda.
  • A work-in-progress screening of Dan Katzir’s “pot-doc” LEGALIZE IT featuring Danny Glover, Melissa Etheridge and Ron Paul, and produced by Willie Nelson’s Luck Films.
  • Joseph Laraja’s comedy about a northeastern seafood cook-off, THE GOLDEN SCALLOP.
  • A special screening of 1994’s THE GETAWAY with an introduction by star Michael Madsen.
  • A special tribute program “Crazy for Swayze” honoring the late actor featuring favorites POINT BREAK and ROAD HOUSE.
  • A screening of THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER ROLLED with special guest Graham Elwood in attendance.
  • A screening of the Amos Posner comedy B-SIDE about an unlikely romance between an underground DJ and a fading pop star
  • The California Premiere of Mark Potts and Cole Selix’s comedy CINEMA SIX.
  • A special screening of Jeremy Seifert’s award winning food documentary GMO OMG, which exposes the dark under belly of the American food industry and premiered at Berlin.
  • The California Premiere of Matthew Schilling’s AVARICE
  • Phoenix Film Festival favorite, Zak Forsman’s DOWN AND DANGEROUS starring Judd Nelson.
  • A showing of Monte Hellman’s classic western RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND starring and written by Jack Nicholson.
  • A special “secret screening” of a Dennis Hopper film, which will not be revealed until the screen lights up.
  • A special series of films sponsored by Creative Visions Foundation, which include the documentaries HAPPY; DYING TO TELL THE STORY; BEYOND THE CALL; GHENGIS BLUES and THE LOST BIRD PROJECT, among others.
  • The shorts program, which features Slamdance favorites REBEL REBEL REBEL and THE SANDWICH NAZI, The Arcade Fire short SCENES FROM THE SUBURBS by Spike Jonze, as well as a special screening of the 2013 Academy Award® Winner for Best Live Action Short CURFEW.
Additional AMFM programming includes:
  • A Comedy Showcase with Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini of the Comedy Film Nerds with over 100,000 podcast followers, as well as a surprise comedy guest.
  • A poetry reading by actor Michael Madsen from his latest collection Expecting Rain.
  • Daytime pool parties at sponsor hotels including the ACE Hotel and Swim Club, the Curve, Agua Caliente Casino, Resort and Spa with live DJs, giveaways, movie and music related festivities.
  • A VIP lounge on the second floor mezzanine of the Mary Pickford Theater where they will host a place where Festival VIPs, artists, filmmakers, and musicians can converge to mix and mingle while enjoying the music from DJ Day, DJ Alf Alpha, DJ Joplin, DJ Pedro Bass and more.
  • Morning Panels!
  • Director’s Panel with Palm Springs’ Christian Sesma (AWOL-72; SHOOT THE HERO; BOOM TOWN; LOST TIME)
  • Screenwriting Panel with Morgan Land, writer of THE ICEMAN
  • Music Video Panel with Director Ace Norton (Foster the People)
  • Intersection of Art and Film and a Fair Use Panel with Attorney Michael Donaldson of Donaldson and Cahill (author of the Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking and Clearance and Copyright, among others) and Attorney David Pierce, The Pierce Law Group  (THE ARTIST; THE HUNGER GAMES)
  • Video Game panel with Todd Jefferson, VP of Production, Marvel Games and Matt Scott of Game Machine Studios
  • Music Panel with Vince Quintero, Red Bull Records (AWOLNATION, Blitz Kids, Five Knives)
  • Other panels feature studio insiders such as Sebastian Twardosz of Circus Road Pictures, Dave Brown, President, Hollywood Studios International (SAW; THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT; 2 GUNS)

The Festival embraces Film 4 Change’s commitment to social change.  It showcases the work of members of the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City, as well as the students of the Cathedral City High School to raise financial support for the Club and to promote art and filmmaking to all children of the Coachella Valley.  AMFM has also partnered with Variety Children’s Charity of the Desert with a special fundraising screening, as well as the Palm Springs Animal Shelter where they contribute funds from the sale of artwork to the shelter and host a pet adoption center to bring each animal’s story to life and to connect their band of creative spirits to those animals in need. For more information on how to support Festival partners, please contact Scott Robinson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City at (760) 324-5844, Todd Marker of Variety Children’s Charity at (760) 773-9800, and Pat Brayer, director of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter at (760) 416-5718.

Finally, Galarza and Henrich will be presenting a number of awards throughout the festival and will close with the Fourth Annual Dennis Lee Hopper Award, presented by Film 4 Change.  Previous recipients of the award include Dean Stockwell, Dennis Hopper (posthumous) and director Alex Cox.

AMFM embraces the sprit of Hopper—it will be hip, it will be cool, it will be funny, it will be strange, but most of all it will be about social change.  “We are a community of artists committed to having pride in what we do and dedicated to making our country great through artistic and creative innovation,” Henrich concludes.

AMFM has decamped to the desert enclave of Cathedral City, nicknamed “Cat City” either in homage to the city’s late 19th century gunslinger or Prohibition reputation, depending on the source.  Often overlooked by travelers speeding out of Palm Springs toward desert cities further east, (not to mention a well-known music festival), Cathedral City is the final resting place of a surprising number of Hollywood royalty, including Frank Sinatra, Sonny Bono, Jane Wyman, Dinah Shore, George Montgomery, Harold Robbins and many more.

Tickets (Starting at $20) and All-Access Passes ($199) are now available for purchase, either at at the Mary Pickford Theater, the Desert IMAX or at the AMFM box office located at the Mary Pickford Theater.  For more information on ticket sales, schedules, and more, please visit their or contact the Festival directly at:

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