By Film Threat Staff | October 18, 2001

The second annual Silver Lake Film Festival (SLFF), September 16-23, concluded with a gala Closing Night program, featuring an outdoor screening and reception at The Paramour, the former estate of Silver Lake resident and Silent Era superstar Antonio Moreno. Doubling last year’s inaugural fest to eight days, 53 programs of features and shorts were presented at the historic Vista Theater, the Los Feliz Cinema, the Friendship Hall (SLFF’s Video Theater), the American Film Institute, The Paramour estate and various satellite locations throughout Los Angeles Eastside. A new Fringe Fest of experimental work employed alternative venues, D-Film in Atwater and Labor Fruit in Echo Park. Audience attendance far exceeded pre-festival estimates: 50% of the programs played to capacity houses with an estimated audience of 8,500 for the eight-day event.
During the festival, actress Cassandra Peterson, the woman behind horror icon Elvira but recurring face independent cinema over the last 30 years, and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris (“Decline of Western Civilizaton,” “Wayne’s World”) immortalized their handprints in the cement in front of the historic Vista Theatre, as recipients of the 2001 Spirit of Silver Lake awards. Peterson celebrated both the 20th anniversary of Elvira as well as her own birthday at the SLFF Opening Night Gala with the West Coast Premiere of ELVIRA’S HAUNTED HILLS (2001). Spheeris shared a sneak peak of her documentary about Ozzfest WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR ROCK’N’ROLL (2001), followed by a rock blow-out with hot performance by all-girl Black Sabbath cover band, The War Pigs. The first four days of the festival were devoted entirely to independently-produced features and shorts by local area filmmakers that embody the multi-cultural, all-ages, all-genders, avant-garde festival mandate.
The Locals Only Centerpiece film was a U.S. Premiere/Sneak Preview of THE FLUFFER (2001), the notorious satire of the gay porn industry to be released in November by First Run Features, which played to standing room only. At the Closing Night Gala, guests enjoyed a picturesque setting at the Paramour, the former estate of silent film star, Antonio Moreno. A newly restored master print of IT (1927) was screened outdoors on the lawn of the estate, with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla and an introduction by David Stenn, Clara Bow biographer. The feature was accompanied by a recently discovered, never-before-seen screening of a short film shot for Randolph Hearst at San Simeon, featuring celebrities of the day including Louella Parsons, Marion Davies and IT screenwriter and novelist Elinor Glyn. Also during the closing night gala, an Awards Ceremony paid tribute to favorites of the festival, in true Silver Lake style. The Spirit of Silver Lake Citation winners were: · “For Being So Damn Sexy and for Bringing Us All to Our Feet, in the First Ever Standing Ovation at the SLFF:” WELCOME SINNERS! THE VELVET HAMMER STORY. Director Scott Lew and the Velvet Hammer Girls walked away with a year’s supply of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
The Silver Lake Film Festival is as an international, multi-cultural event that reflects the cultural diversity, edgy creativity and historic cinematic roots of the Silver Lake community. The program includes features, documentaries and videos with an emphasis on films that reflect the multiple ethnicities, varied sexualities and eclectic nature of Silver Lake itself.
For more info on the event, visit the official web site for the Silver Lake Film Festival.
Check out’s FILM FESTIVAL ARCHIVES for more fest news!

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