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By: Valley Film Fest | SANDRA BARRERA | Daily News | October 23, 2017
Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell co-write and co-star in "Trouble Is My Business," a dark tale of love and betrayal, told in the classic style of film noir. (Courtesy of Tom Konkle)
The Valley Film Festival returns to the Laemmle NoHo 7 in North Hollywood with a slate of more than 80 independent feature-length and short films made in the San Fernando Valley and around the world.
Many of the screenings are followed by panel discussions with the filmmakers or cast members.
This year's five-day 17th annual event opens at 8 p.m.Wednesday, Oct. 25 with the Los Angeles premiere of The Father and the Bear," a Stony Brook Film Festival award-winner written, directed and produced by John Putch. It stars Will Love as a retired character actor with dementia who longs for one more curtain call. Against his daughter's wishes, he is cast in a play by an artistic director unaware of his progressive condition.
Putch, the son of the late actress Jean Stapleton and producer/director William Putch, is the festival's recipient of the newly launched Jack F. Murphy Achievement in Independent Filmmaking Award.
"He's done a lot of TV work, but he loves independent film," says David Krouse, the festival's co-producer. "He's a long-standing friend of the festival and he will only screen at the Valley Film Festival in L.A."
Also premiering is filmmaker Ryan Boyko's award-winning documentary "That Never Happened."
The featured film, screening 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 as part of the Perils of Immigrant Life documentary program, chronicles Canada's internment operations in which thousands of Ukrainian and other European immigrants were incarcerated in camps, from 1914 to 1920, because of where they were from.
Public records were destroyed in the 1950s.
Thirty years later, people began reclaiming this lost chapter in Canadian history to ensure it never happens again.
Burbank-based filmmaker Tom Konkle makes his festival debut with "Trouble Is My Business," which he calls a "love letter to film noir."
"Everyone has a friend they've seen heading for a brick wall, and you're like, 'Don't do it!' And they hit that wall anyway," Konkle says. "Well, film noir does that beautifully and this is what that story is about."
The hard-boiled thriller, which screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, tells the story of a 1940s private detective (Konkle) who's fallen on tough times. When a dark-haired femme fatal (co-writer Brittney Powell) walks in, things heats up.
But it's a doomed love story.
The film was shot on a custom-built stage a stone's throw from the theater where it will open. It also features Vernon Wells, the Australian veteran actor who regularly plays a villain in films, most famously in "Mad Max 2," "Commando" and "Inner Space."
"He rarely gets a chance to stretch what he's capable of doing because film noir is about witty dialogue," Konkle says. "People don't make movies like that very often."
Programs also include a day-long Girls On Film program at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 of women-made shorts, including Monda Raquel Webb's "Zoo (Volkerschau)."
The film follows two 7-year-old girls as they prepare for a day at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels, Belgium. One, an African girl, is on exhibit and the other, a German girl, is there to observe.
The audience will not only see homegrown films but those made overseas. Among these is the Girls On Film short "Mwah," a 13-minute Persian dramedy by Iranian filmmaker Sara Soheili about unborn babies carrying on conversations about life inside and outside the womb.
"We are one of the few film festivals that gets a lot of content from Iranian filmmakers," Krouse says. "We will waive the submission fees so Persian cinema can be exhibited as part of the festival."
For the complete schedule of screenings, visit at www.valleyfilmfest.com.
The 17th Annual Valley Flm Festival
When: Oct. 25-29
Where: Laemmle NoHo 7