hanford film festival

Patrons exit the theater after the third annual Hanford International Film Festival Saturday. 

Film fans filled the seats of the Hanford Fox Theatre Saturday evening to enjoy a mix of international and local cinema flavors.

The third annual Hanford International Film Festival exhibited about two dozen short films, submitted from all over the world.

“We’ve had submissions from all over the world this year,” host and founder George Miller said from the Fox stage before the films began. “A lot of people are starting to hear about us, which is good —  and it’s only going to grow from there.”

Films were submitted from places from as far as Turkey, Canada and Columbia and as close as right here in Hanford.  

The themes, tones and subject matter varied wildly from short to short.

“Hopefully we have a movie for everybody,” Miller said.

Film noir, science fiction, slapstick comedy, parody and almost every other genre were represented. Most of the shorts were conceived and filmed during the pandemic. Some touch on it explicitly, while others allude to it in metaphor. Some took full advantage of the restrictions of the pandemic’s quarantines by being filmed entirely via Zoom, as with “Care Package,” while others, like “One in the Chamber,” feel like snippets from a major Hollywood motion picture.

Some of the films hit on real-life anxieties such as climate change, drought and racism while some like “Mission Control” were pure, fun escapism.

“Making a film of any kind — any length, any type — is a huge accomplishment,” said co-host David Dibble.

Dibble, a Hanford native, won the prize for Best Emerging Filmmaker Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 for his short, “Adonis.”

Dibble announced the festival’s winners at the conclusion of the event.

Cleaning up in most categories was Bay Area film “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor went to Jared Becker and Joshua Flores, respectively for their starring roles. The film, written and directed by the Bay Area’s D'Adonis Moquette, also won for Best Script and Best Director.

Tia Laulusa won Best Actress for her role as an aspiring professional wrestler in the Central Valley-produced “Nova.”

"I was stunned and honored — still am, past tense isn’t quite right, lol — and it made me even more sad that I couldn’t make it out there to be at the festival," Laulusa wrote to the Sentinel via Facebook.

“Cracked,” a Turkish film about how a little girl deals with the drought affecting her family’s land won Best Overall film.

Lydia Cornell, best known for her work on “Too Close for Comfort” and “Quantum Leap,” won best supporting actress for her role portraying a woman who misplaces her dead dog in “Care Package.” The short was directed by Donny Most of “Happy Days” fame.

Best Cinematography was awarded to “The First Rule,” a satirical neo-noir.  The film was directed by San Francisco’s Saurav Mohapatra, with cinematography by Jon Sun.

"This is my second time attending the Hanford International Film Festival and it holds a special place in my heart for being the first film festival to have a theater screening of one of my early short films,"Mohapatra said. "It was indeed a great feeling to win one of the festival awards with my latest short. I have many fond memories of HIFF and look forward to returning next year with another film."

Action film “One in the Chamber” won for Best Editing.

Editor/Lifestyles Reporter

Parker Bowman is a lifestyles reporter and editor for the Hanford Sentinel. He can be reached by email at PBowman@HanfordSentinel.com, or by calling his office phone at 559-583-2432.

Recommended for you