Cinema at the Edge Film Festival in Santa Monica

When I lived in LA, I spent most of my time in Santa Monica and Venice. The Westside is the coolest — quite literally, there is always a breeze — and the most fun. And there is always culture to be found. Since I was a step away from The Grove, the mecca of shopping in Los Angeles, I needed regular trips to Santa Monica to keep me grounded, informed and “culturized”.

Seems that these days there is one more event for those who enjoy a little learning with their entertainment, and it’s about to kick off. Scheduled to run from July 11th through the 13th, the second edition of the Cinema at the Edge film festival promises to outdo itself. Last year’s edition boasted honorary chair and guest jurors Brett Ratner, Susan Sarandon and John Singleton. Who will it be this year?

Although, in all fairness, I haven’t caught any of the films on this year’s schedule, I can safely say that a few are interesting and very, very important. The festival will open with A Star for Rose by Daniel Yost, which focuses on three lost souls, homeless on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk Of Fame, who start out as enemies but then become each others’ lifelines.

If only we could begin to do that in the Middle East…

Speaking of my favorite part of the world and a constant source of personal worry these days of turmoil, there are two films that immediately caught my eye, one about Israel, one about the Syrian struggle. The latter, a 14-minute short titled Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution by filmmaker Matthew VanDyke has as a synopsis the following: “The story of the Syrian revolution as told through the experiences of two young Syrians, a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people.” While the film about Israel is called GOLEM and is directed by Adam Deutsch. It’s about two lost souls who wonder through the eerily calm urban landscape of Tel Aviv, and are somehow transformed by their connection.

There’s also a feature documentary from the UK titled Music & Coexistence, by filmmaker Osseily Hanna, a fellow Huffington Post blogger who has created a music movement through his film, one easiest explained by his synopsis: “Music and Coexistence is a documentary which provides a compelling account of the possibilities and limitations of music in specific parts of Europe and the Middle East. Both well established and young music groups are featured to show the healing power of music in situations where people are separated, for example Turks and Kurds in Turkey, Serbs and Kosovars in Kosovo, and Israeli’s and Palestinians in Israel.”

The festival then comes to a close with the French film Le Vie Revee de David L by Julien Pichard and Paul Lê, “The imaginary story of the director David Lynch as a student in art school.” Indeed. I wish I could be there. Truly.

For the full program and more info, check out the Cinema at the Edge website. If you are looking for a cool place to eat nearby, personal favorites are Rose Cafe and a stroll through the Santa Monica Place mall. But you can let your driving do the walking… It’s LA, after all!

Top image from the documentary Music & Coexistence courtesy of Carlo de Agostini’s blog

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