On March 2, 2023, in Mammoth Lakes, California, the fifth year of the Mammoth Film Festival commenced. Kicking off the opening night were two noteworthy premieres. The first, a short entitled, “Lucas Needs An Agent,” featured the talents of Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Sasha Clements, and Katie Leclerc. The premieres were presented by Wild7Films.
The festival has long championed short films as an important cinematic component to the art of filmmaking and welcomed many short films this year including The Last Bell, For Sonya, Hysterical, Jungle, A Rosary and a Diamond Ring, and others. The Shorts category is known to showcase directorial debuts from established actors looking to expand their filmmaking career. This year highlighted a variety of female directors.
The second screening of opening night brought the highly anticipated film Padre Pio, a feature starring Shia LaBeouf and directed by Abel Ferrara. The cast and crew, unable to attend the event due to weather conditions, surprised attendees with a recorded video introduction.
After debuting internationally at the Venice Film Festival and receiving accolades from said festival along with Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon Film Festivals, Padre Pio made its North American Festival debut at the Mammoth Film Festival.
The film by Abel Ferrara tells the story of Roman Catholic Saint Padre Pio’s early years and features a talented cast of Italian actors. Ferrara has been recognized in the industry for his cult reputation with gritty studio films starring iconic talent such as Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, and others.
The opening night’s red carpet took place at Minaret Cinemas and was followed by the opening night gala at Canyon Lodge. Located at the peak of Mammoth Mountains, attendees took gondolas to the mountaintop for a party nestled in the snowy hilltops where they were treated to Saldo Wines and El Cristiano Tequila cocktails.
Notable names that walked the carpet included festival judge and actor Jamie Chung; The Mental State star, Bryan Greenberg; The Duel stars, Dylan Sprouse and Hart Denton, alongside girlfriends Barbara Palvin and Elysee Sanville, Callan McAuliffe, Rachel Matthews, and Patrick Warburton; On Fire director, producer, and actors including Peter Facinelli, Peter Winther, and Ross McCall. Other high-profile attendees included festival judges Rob Weiss, Luke Watson, and many more.
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