International film festival to draw Hollywood to Menifee

DocuFilm with consul generals of Romania, Croatia, Greece, Belgium and Poland, and Official Car of the Festival Title Holder Terry Gilmore of Paradise, next to Chairwoman Barak, president Gunasti and mayor Mann

Written by Michelle Mears-Gerst
Menifee: The community of Menifee is now home to the new California DocuFilm Festival. This event will be kicking off the global season of film festivals beginning in December. Filmmakers and actors from around the world and Los Angeles will transcend upon the local community to share their expertise and talent


The location of Menifee being perfectly situated between Palm Springs and Los Angeles was one of the many hooks Menifee’s Mayor Scott Mann talked about when bringing the film festival to town.

Historically, Hollywood elite used to travel to an enclave, called Quail Valley now part of Menifee in the 1930’s. It was the perfect location for a weekend escape according to the Menifee Historical Society. Vacationers built cottages, bungalows and craftsman style homes for their retreats. It was also drew middle class sportsmen who did not want to travel from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.

Menifee’s location contiinues to help it grow and move forward in Southern California. On Monday, August 22 a meet and greet was held at the Santa Rosa Academy where foreign diplomats and sponsors converged to support the international film festival. On hand for the press conference were Eugen Chivu, Consul General of Romania; Sinisa Girgic, Consul General of Croatia; Gregory Karahalios, Consul General of Greece; Henri Vantieghem, Consul General of Belgium; and Mariusz Brymora, Consul General of Poland.

Film Fest Creators

There will be a dozen foreign ambassadors signed on to support the international film festival. Also on hand were Santa Rosa Academy Executive Director Laura Badillo and MSJC President Dr. Roger Schultz. The festival is taking place from Dec. 6 -11 in Menifee.

Mann helped bring the festival to the city by introducing television personality Daphne Barak to Menifee in 2015 when her partner Bill Gunasti was running for mayor of Palm Springs.

Mann convinced Barak to help develop a magnet and lead it as its chairwoman. Barak, is known for her books and exclusive TV interviews with A-listers of Hollywood and world leaders. The magnet Barak thought must be something to do with the entertainment and media industries. That is how the DocuFilmFestival was born.

Badillo, and Schultz, were contacted and asked to join Mann and Barack in this endeavor. Mt. San Jacinto College is a strategic partner with the festival. According to the festival organizers, the college is a great educational institution that is expanding. Becoming a partner to the festival will contribute to the college’s future growth.

The festival will take place on the 25-acre campus of Santa Rosa Academy. The campus will be transformed into the FestivalGrounds. It will also be an opportunity for local residents to enjoy the unique campus on Santa Rosa Academy.

The festival will feature documentaries from filmmakers around the world. However, youth and first time filmmakers will also have a category.

Mann has told reporters, “With Menifee’s centralized location in Southern California — an hour from San Diego, Los Angeles, the beaches, and the mountain and desert resorts — we are well positioned to have such an incredible international event here. Collaborating with our premier community college MSJC and Santa Rosa Academy charter school helps deliver a new dimension to their programs. It’s all very exciting.”

Mann brought Barak to Menifee with a vision and she is going big. The DocuFilmFestival plans to fill a large void in the birthplace of movies.

According to its website, DocuFilmFestival plans to become the only international documentary film festival in California, big enough to challenge the current leading documentary film festivals worldwide.

They are holding the event during the first two weeks of December when no other major film festival is taking place around the world.

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Contact: (760) 980-3057

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