May 28, 2010: Film fans will be following the “Trail to Lone Pine” this year on the Columbus Day weekend, October 8-10th. Those are the dates for the twenty-first annual Lone Pine Film Festival. The now world famous film festival focuses on the films made in Lone Pine, Death Valley and the eastern Sierra and has been a favorite for film buffs in the know for more than two decades.
This year the trail leads to Lone Pine for those celebrating the 75th anniversary of Republic Pictures which begins on September 25th at the CBS Studios (the old Republic Studios lot.) Republic producers and directors loved going on location to Lone Pine as one of their favorite locations for nearly thirty years. The first Republic film, Westward Ho! starring John Wayne, in fact was their first released B western, a genre of film for which they became famous.
The Lone Pine Film Festival will screen many Republic Picture classics by Wayne, Autry and Rogers among other Republic western stars and events at the High School Auditorium and the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History will focus on Republic. But there will be two other themes. The Festival this year has Tyrone Power on the souvenir button, which will get you into many of the doings at the Festival. Power made three films in Lone Pine: Brigham Young, Rawhide and King of the Khyber Rifles. His son Ty Power will be in attendance and there public interviews on his life and career. Another focus will be the upcoming 100th birthday of Roy Rogers, with his daughter in attendance this year. Next year the theme for the 2011 festival will be Roy Rogers.
Many favorite Festival events are scheduled again this year. There will be the Friday concert featuring legendary cowboy singer Don Edwards. There will be panels of invited movie guests at various times during the weekend. What makes this Festival different from all other western movie festivals is the fact that it happens right in the middle of the familiar movie locations.
The Festival to run escorted tours with specialist museum docents to the locations allowing visitors to actually walk where John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Tyrone Power, Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Hopalong Cassidy and Tom Mix all worked. Tours include “Hoppy Hop-On”, “The Duke Stopped By,” “Tom Mix” and these subjects as well: science fiction, how nature made the locations, photography of the Alabama Hills, favorite Republic Pictures locations; more than a dozen different experiences. Since many of the movie locations are on public lands, you can pick up self-guided tour brochure at the Museum and go out and search the land for yourself. A complete program for the Festival that includes schedules and in depth articles about the film history of the area and the film program for this year will be available for purchase by mid summer.
There is a parade of stars on Sunday at 1 pm, an Arts and Crafts Fair in Russ Spainhower town park and a closing campfire featuring movie stories, cowboy poetry and music. Statham Town Hall where various panels and interviews will take place during the weekend also will have guests signing autographs. In the Wild West Theater at the Museum, there will be presentations on film history, screening of brand new short westerns filmed in the area during the previous year and a special performance by Jake Thorn interpreting the life an work of iconic actor John Wayne.
The town of Lone Pine, located between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Death Valley will be on display and there will be music and associated events all weekend on Main Street and at the Willie Bonham Rodeo Grounds. If you are a western fan, a movie buff or just looking for a weekend get-away, the Lone Pine Film Festival is your destination.