The 2nd Annual Big Bear Film Summit Announces Film Lineup for Hybrid Film Festival

Firestorm ’77 The True Story of the Honda Canyon Fire


The 2nd Annual Big Bear Film Summit (June 11-27) announced the film lineup for this year’s hybrid presentation with the theme of “A New Hope”, which lead into the festival’s highly anticipated in-person screenings at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center (39707 Big Bear Blvd.) the weekend of June 25-27. Lane Michael Stanley’s Addict Named Hal will be the film festival’s first in-theater Opening Night Selection, and BBFS will make its first in-person Lifetime Achievement Award presentation to legendary Casting Director Mary Jo Slater headlining the Filmmaker Awards at Big Bear Bar and Grill (42164 Moonridge Rd.) to close out the film festival.

Created to encourage artistic production in and around Big Bear Lake, California, the Big Bear Film Summit is eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to present a “physical” film festival, following its virtual debut last year. Despite the fact that the inspiration for the film festival was to re-introduce the Big Bear Lake area to filmmakers as a location shoot draw, the success of that initial virtual outing did lure at least four film productions to shoot in the area.

“We could not be more excited to finally be able to welcome filmmakers, film artists, and industry veterans to the beautiful locale of Big Bear Lake to enjoy and discover great films, have discussions about their work and about the art of filmmaking in this amazing setting. Last year was a wonderful warm up for what we have planned this year, but ultimately, it was just that: a warm up,” said BBFS Executive Director Michael P. Hanson.

BBFS CEO Gabriel Horn, added, “So many people – not just filmmakers and others in the film industry – have a new hope right now as we work our way back from the pandemic, so we thought it would be a great theme for this year’s edition of the Big Bear Film Summit. However, a constant is the quality of the films we have selected for BBFS. Only this year we will have the great pleasure of hosting our attending filmmakers and film fans against the backdrop of this gorgeous and historically Hollywood-friendly area.”

Made possible in great extent thanks to Visit Big Bear, Big Bear Film Summit will feature film competition categories including: U.S. Narrative and Documentary Features and Shorts, International Narrative and Documentary Features and Shorts, Experimental and Animated Shorts, Student Shorts, Music Videos, and a Screenplay Competition.

Kicking things off with Big Bear Film Summit’s Green Carpet Entrances will be the Opening Night selection of Lane Michael Stanley’s critically acclaimed Addict Named Hal. Following the film’s debut at the Santa Barbara FF, the film follows the difficult coming-of-age of a girl as her drinking has landed her at a halfway house. After connecting with the other residents, she decides to give recovery a try. While those new relationships open the door to her facing the reality of her problem, her addiction might now be putting everyone in the house in danger. Promising young filmmaker Lane Michael Stanley is expected to attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Responsible for discovering countless actors and actresses that are now considered household names, legendary casting director Mary Jo Slater will receive the inaugural Big Bear Film Summit Lifetime Achievement Award during the Filmmaker Awards presentation on Sunday, June 27. With over 100 movie credits to her name, Slater won an Emmy Award for her work on Miracle on 42nd Street, as well as receiving multiple nominations for The Tudors (2007), The Starter Wife (2007), Elvis (2005), and Traffic (2004). Slater will participate in a brief “Conversation on Film” during her award presentation on Sunday, June 27.

Additional highlights among the narrative features include the world premiere of Sri Charan’s Half and Half. The inventive, dialogue free film follows the bond created between a homeless man with musical talent and an abused wife over a grocery store’s sweepstakes contest. Charlotte Wincott’s The Issue with Elvis also presents an unlikely pairing. A retired botanist who lives in a cabin in the mountains in West Virginia happens upon a runaway boy who is living in a broken-down school bus on the grounds of an abandoned amusement park. The man struggles with the dilemma between wanting to help the boy by providing a temporary, safe place to live, and feeling the moral obligation to return him to his rightful home. Dorie Barton’s Welcome to the Show is a thought-provoking drama where four college buddies go down a rabbit hole of mistrust and confusion after they make the fateful decision to accept an invitation to participate in a mysterious theatre piece. Dorie Barton and producer Scott Taylor will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

On the documentary front, highlights include; Jeremy Norrie’s Alpine Zoos and You which focuses on the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, which, after 60 years, preps for a move to a new facility; Chris Hite and Dennis Ford’s Firestorm ’77 The True Story of the Honda Canyon Fire which escalated due to a conflict between the people fighting the fire and the military, who impeded that effort due to a desire to protect military secrets. The film won a Central Coast Filmmaking Award at this year’s San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Cassie Hay and Amy Winston’s   Queens of Pain is a crowd pleasing portrait of the athletes of Gotham Girls Roller Derby League in New York City, and Sabrina Van Tassel’s The State of Texas vs. Melissa explores the experience Melissa Lucio has gone through as the first Hispanic woman to be sentenced to death in the state of Texas.

In addition to the film screenings and events presented both in-person and virtually, the Big Bear Film Summit will also bring back its screenwriting competition, as the film festival builds on its efforts to promote new filmmakers and call attention to new talent.

To purchase passes, tickets, and find additional information, please go to:


Big Bear Film Summit 2021 Official Film Selections



Addict Named Hal

Director: Lane Michael Stanley         

Country: USA; Running Time: 85 min       

Amy is furious at her mother for sending her to a halfway house for doing what she thinks every college kid does – get drunk at parties. But after totaling two cars and endangering her friend’s life, something has to change. In spite of her apprehension, Amy quickly bonds with the other residents – especially Hal, a heroin addict returning to the house from jail. Amy decides to give recovery a try and begins to enjoy her new sense of community – from silly fights to heartfelt reconciliations, along with overdoses and visits from the police. But soon enough, Amy must face the reality that her drinking won’t just disappear, and she may have a bigger problem than she thought. But now, her addiction doesn’t just jeopardize her – it puts everyone in the house in danger.




Narrative Features

Half and Half                                                                          World Premiere

Director: Sri Charan               

Country: USA, Running Time: 60 min           

A homeless man with musical talent bonds with an abused wife over a grocery store’s sweepstakes contest and they team up to try to get the big prize. If they win, maybe it will turn both of their lives around.


Seeking Oblivion     

Directors: Brent Baird, Becker Brothers        

Country: Canada; Running Time: 87 min      

Seeking Oblivion follows the story of a young man struggling with depression and a post suicide attempt. Is he broken, or are those around him who are supposed to be helping him actually in need of him more?  Everyone is a lost soul…Sometimes…


The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord    

Directors: Jared Jay Mason, Clark Runciman          

Country: USA; Running Time: 120 min         

For their first romantic get-away as a couple, Gabby and Michael take a trip to a remote, upscale cabin in the mountains. The first night takes a terrifying turn when Michael slips into an alternate persona that claims to be God, speaking through Michael’s body. He delivers the message that Gabby will die before the end of the trip and is destined for Hell-unless she will believe what Michael says is true, repent, and worship him. Is Michael a manipulative psychopath, intent on gas-lighting her? Is he mentally ill? Or could the impossible really be happening-a direct experience with her creator, offering one last life-line out of an unthinkable eternity?


The Issue with Elvis

Director: Charlotte Wincott    

Country: USA; Running Time: 88 min           

Dr. Michael Mercer is a retired botanist who lives in a cabin in the mountains outside of Morgantown, West Virginia. During one of his treks in the West Virginia mountains, he happens upon a runaway boy who is living in a broken-down school bus on the grounds of an abandoned amusement park. The boy tells Dr. Mercer that his name is Elvis, and the duo begin to get to know each other. Dr. Mercer is torn between wanting to help Elvis by providing a temporary, safe place to live, and feeling the moral obligation to return the boy to his rightful home.


Welcome to the Show

Director: Dorie Barton

Country: USA; Running Time: 96 min           

An invitation to a mysterious theatre piece, “The Show,” sends four best friends down a rabbit hole of mistrust and confusion as they try to figure out who are the actors, who is the audience, who is doing this to them, and why.



Documentary Features

Alpine Zoos and You           

Director: Jeremy Norrie         

Country: USA; Running Time: 53 min           

Alpine Zoos are facilities located at a high elevation and in the USA there are only 2 locations in the whole country. The Big Bear Alpine Zoo has been operating in some capacity in California for around 60 years and just recently finished the process of moving into a new facility, but before they vacated the old location, we were able to visit with the staff and capture the story of their efforts in caring for the animals and educating the public over the years.


Firestorm ’77 The True Story of the Honda Canyon Fire

Directors: Chris Hite, Dennis Ford    

Country: USA; Running Time: 54 min           

A combination of hurricane-force winds and the snapping of an electrical pole starts the Honda Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, early in the morning of December 20, 1977. Over a thousand people consisting of professional firemen and military personnel fight the fire. Outlier winds would increase to over a hundred miles per hour, making the firefight almost impossible. In the course of events, a conflict of cultures emerged. Military commanders, fearful of the Base’s cold war secrets being compromised, attempted to control the protocols and procedures of the civilian fire fighters called upon to battle the enormous blaze, offering up their own untrained personnel to fight a conflagration that, for all intents and purposes, should have never been fought and couldn’t be beaten.


In Their Honour        

Director: Bentley Doyle          

Country: Canada; Running Time: 95 min      

“Sometimes, you have to go back to your past…  in order to finally leave it behind.”  Their lives were uprooted after each of them – one mother and two fathers – suffered the shocking sudden death of their child, all three a victim of murder. Though the crimes occurred long ago, the impact resonated for decades. Still does. More than 25 years later, one man goes back to visit the parents of the three murder victims, people who inspired him to continue living, despite his own personal tragedy. Together, as part of a grassroots group of concerned citizens, they became highly active volunteer advocates for victims of violent crime.


Queens of Pain        

Director: Cassie Hay, Amy Winston  

Country: USA; Running Time: 75 min

An intimate portrait of the athletes of Gotham Girls Roller Derby League, Queens of Pain follows Suzy Hotrod, Evilicious, and Captain Smack Sparrow, as they face the constraints of being a woman in America playing the sport they love.


The State of Texas vs. Melissa       

Director: Sabrina Van Tassel 

Country: France; Running Time: 98 min       

The State of Texas vs. Melissa explores the life journey of Melissa Lucio, the first Hispanic woman to be sentenced to death in the state of Texas. For over ten years she has been awaiting her fate, and now faces her last appeal. No one had ever seen Melissa be violent towards her children, yet she was blamed for the daily abuse and subsequent death of her two-year-old daughter, who died from blunt head trauma. Set in the heart of the Latino community of South Texas, the film takes a look at Melissa’s broken childhood, her adult life plagued by poverty and prejudice, and the miscarriage of justice Melissa faced, from the court appointed attorney who willingly set aside evidence, to the district attorney who used her case to help his re-election.


With Flying Colours

Director: Christina Hogarth    

Country: Australia; Running Time: 53 min    

The colorful true story of Australia’s first female helicopter pilot, Rosemary Arnold, who shook the male dominated aviation industry and inspired a new generation of female pilots by using fashion to combat sexism.





A Community Under Fire    

Directors: Harrison Thane, Matt Thane         

Country: Australia; Running Time: 23 min    

We tell the story of a small but special regional town in during Australia’s 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfire season.  We highlight the importance of community – everyday people doing extraordinary things to help our community survive and recover.  And we show our town’s path to recovery. How we in Braidwood in New South Wales, faced our greatest existential threat, being surrounded by fire.


Dances with Clouds

Director: Kyle B Wagstaff      

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min           

The art of dance is a tough discipline to master even when participants are able to practice and perform their movements with compliant partners in stable environments on dry, consistent surfaces.  This film elevates the level of difficulty considerably–to 10,349-ft to be precise–by deliberately imposing extreme conditions upon both athlete and filming equipment.


Desert Uprising        

Director: Cullen Hamblen                  

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min          

A historical adventure documentary about friendship…and the origins of rock climbing in Southern Arizona.


Digital Peruggias     

Director: Keith Andrew Hudson         

Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min  

RB McGrath is an American Painter from Jacksonville, Arkansas. One day in 2011, she made the discovery that one of her art pieces had was being advertised for sale from a foreign country. This documentary details her everyday life, alongside the evidence of art theft that shook her way of living.


Distant Dharma        

Director: Annemarie Hennes 

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min      

In March of 2020, world-class endurance athlete Rebecca Rush set out to ride a fat bike 350 miles across the frozen Alaskan wilderness. The Iditarod Trail Invitational promised the challenge of a lifetime but after an early mistake, Rebecca’s race takes on new meaning before she emerges from the trail into a global pandemic.



Director: Nancye Ferguson    

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min           

Sue Ferguson, at 97 years young, after losing her husband of 69 years, expresses to her daughter Nancye that she would like to meet a man to spend the rest of her life with. In the hopes to fulfill her mom’s dream, Nancye creates an online dating profile for Sue. After three months of trying, hope turns to disillusionment. Then magically one day Jim White, age 87 and also a widower, sends a message and Sue goes on her first online date.


The Tree Carvers     

Director: Christopher Halmo, Cory Ford       

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min 

This short documentary follows a Polynesian woodcarver and his son who use an energy called ‘Mana’ to bring out the spirits that lie within a tree stump.



Director: Bruce James Bales 

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min        

Join Caleb Smith on a journey of gratitude through mind, body, and soul as he skates his way down Coastal Highway 1.



Director: Jesserey Tugas

Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min          

In downtown Las Vegas, a middle-aged bartender searches for a young girl’s father who neglectfully abandons her in a casino lounge.



Directors: Pat Battistini, Robert Francke       

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min 

Frank’s important job interview on Zoom goes south due to his “stay at home” Covid precautious family using up his bandwidth.


Dr. Penelope 

Director: Annika Hylmo         

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min           

Dr. Penelope is a film about Julia (Katie Koster), who is struggling to finish her psychology dissertation. Rather than get her work done, she procrastinates while house sitting for her mother (Carrie Madsen) who has been admitted to the hospital for a few tests. Julia’s procrastination is interrupted by Thomas (Jason Grasl), a graphic novelist moonlighting as a delivery guy. Thomas is more interested in Julia than the packages for Julia’s mom, whose psychic services he has used to get his career on track.


First Do No Harm     

Director: Gabriel Horn

Countries: Germany, Israel; Running Time: 6 min   

Ben, 30’s, discovers the notes left behind by Daniel, his dead brother, and revisits their relationship and the criminal negligence that led to Daniel’s death. The past and present intertwine with vivid memories and sobering realizations.



Director: Tracie Laymon        

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min           

A woman with a lot of baggage falls in love with a man haunted by his past. Literally.


Heroin(e) In Love     

Director: Stefanie Black         

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min     

She loves him. He loves her… and heroin.  With their cool truck, mixtapes, cute apartment, and inside jokes, Michaela and Daniel appear to be a fun and happy couple. And they are when Daniel is coherent and Michaela isn’t finding drug paraphernalia in the bedroom. Desperate to make the relationship work and convinced she can beat Daniel’s substance use, Michaela finds an addiction specialist in another state. Daniel agrees to go but gets high on the way. Michaela realizes the road to recovery is bumpier than she thought and she’s along for the ride.


I Met a Girl    

Director: Chase Wilson          

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min 

Two friends discuss their recent personal experiences with love over free coffee.


Invisible Houses (for invisible people)     

Director: Michael Suter          

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min 

A 6-year-old girl gives us a whimsical tour of her neighborhood, which was rendered invisible along with all its residents after a freak accident. A nostalgic eulogy to a disappearing Americana. Shot on iPhone during COVID quarantine.



Director: Sofia Kunz, Annabella Mineghino  

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min           

Kaleidoscope is a coming of family story that follows two sisters, Marina and Paloma, navigating their relationship on a road trip back home for a family member’s funeral. On their trip, they reflect on their childhood as Marina unpacks the hurt of Paloma’s absence and Paloma unearths the root of her pain as the family outsider.



Director: Daniel Maggio         

Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min           

On the eve of her 21st birthday, Kesi and her band of stuffed animals travel back home for her alcoholic Mother’s funeral.


Killing Time  

Director: P. Patrick Hogan     

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min           

When a woman attracts the attention of a mysterious figure who slips inside her isolated home and lies in wait, she must confront her past in this horror/sci-fi short film with a twist.



Director: Deepak Reddy        

Country: India  Running Time: 16 min

The visually innovative short film follows a young man as he muses on the nature of love, recounting his three relationships…in reverse. He reminisces about them not from start to finish, but the other way around, taking the audience on a journey that looks forward to the happy beginnings. Manasanamaha chooses to put less focus on negative outcomes that sometime happen as opposed to the happy times that are experienced during the course of our romantic relationships.


The Meat       

Director: Tathagata Ghosh    

Country: India; Running Time: 19 min          

Rizwan, a migrant worker has walked back all the way to his hometown from Delhi due to the nationwide lockdown as the corona virus hit India. Out of job and belonging from the religious minority, he feels cornered. His wife Fatima works as a domestic help to bring food to the plate. Due to strict measures from the police, Rizwan hides his religious identity and takes shelter for the day at Sahadev’s place, an upcoming Islamophobic politician. But things soon take a dark turn.


Oliver Frederickson 

Director: Brody Jasso

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min    

The year is 1930 and Oliver Frederickson, a young detective is on the journey to capture gang leader, Billy Solomons. However, the world isn’t always what it seems.


Tell It All        

Director: Alejandra Bursik-Cervantes

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min           

Moody teen Jessie is forced to attend voice lessons with the annoyingly cheerful Marianne. During one of their lessons, Marianne divulges a dark secret that Jessie is ill-equipped to handle. This unconventional singing class leaves Jessie with a new outlook on life.


Telling Time

Director: Daniel Talbott          

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min 

Ten months into the pandemic, day is for sleeping and night is for wandering alone and aimless on the East Side of Los Angeles. A young man reminisces about the loss of a great love, his tidal thoughts spilling out like water. A spare, meditative study on the unending isolation of Covid19.



Director: Philip C. Sedgwick  

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min 

An astronomer sharing online backyard observations of the center of our galaxy has a run-in with mosquitoes, and a not so trusty bug zapper.





AT THE MERCY OF FAITH (Writer: Samuel Taylor)

BOXED IN (Writer: Matthew Walker)

CLUBBED! (Writers: Charles Pelletier, Stephen Foster)

DEATH VALLEY (Writer: Ryan Enever)

THE EVERLASTING GIFT (Writer: David-Matthew Barnes)

FLAME (Writer: Derek McDaniel)

THE FOURTH PRINCE (Writer: Jason Lor)

GHOST WALKER (Writer: Alexader Julian)

THE HUMAN SIDE (Writer: Jeff Lewis)

IN THE SACK (Writer: Arthur Tiersky)

KILL BUTTON (Writer Edson McClellan)

NEARFALL (Writer: Ronny Jay)

THE OVERPASS (Writer: Jeff Baker)

REVIEW (Writer: Jonathan Zarantonello)

RIGGED (Writer: Steven Ellis)


VALLEY OF SPIRITS (Writer: Warren R Hull)
WESTEND (Writers: Michael Szalonek, Pawel Podlejski)

WESTLAND (Writer: Jason Watson)


A PACKAGE OF DREAMS (Writer: Bradley M. Look)

BEHIND THE PINES (Writer: Fatemeh Bay)

GUS (Writer: Todd Bird)


PRETTY PIRANHA (Writer: Tom Bragg)

WHEN THE MAN COMES AROUND (Writer: Joseph Pethan)


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