Cinema Stars

The Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF) is growing in stature and interest in the indy film world with each passing year. The 6th year of the festival returns for a gathering of novice and experienced, national and international filmmakers who will screen their works, network with their peers and share their advice in workshops attended by other would-be filmmakers and people who simply love movies. All of it is open to the general public, which is part and parcel to the success of the festival.
“We are very encouraged and grateful for the growing positive response that we continue to receive year after year from the Laughlin, Bullhead City, Tri-state community for LIFF,” said Dagmar “Mara” Karsen, LIFF executive director and co-founder of the event. “As a new start-up in 2012, we have watched this film festival evolve into an exciting event which the community not only welcomes, but looks forward to.
“We believe that we have enriched the filmgoing audience experience of the community and have been able to provide an insight into the world of independent filmmaking; goals which everyone on the LIFF team continues to be very passionate about.”
LIFF spans four days, Thursday-Sunday, October 12-15, and during that time there will be more than 130 film screenings, workshops on various topics, an Oktoberfest party, social and networking events, a filmmakers breakfast panel, awards ceremony, and overall conversations about the art of filmmaking.
“As we are about to host our 6th Annual Laughlin International Film Festival, we continue to be inspired and impressed with the fine independent films that we have the honor of bringing to Laughlin,” Karsen said.
“The film lineup is impressive again, as always, and we believe that the viewing audience will experience many memorable moments from coming to see these films.”
All film screenings will be shown at Laughlin Stadium 9 Cinemas in the Laughlin Outlet Center on Casino Drive. Workshops will be conducted in the Coronado Room located upstairs near the Pavilion Theater in the Tropicana Laughlin.
Film screenings at Stadium 9 are held throughout each day:
•Fri (beginning at 12:15 p.m. with last screening at 9:45 p.m.);
•Sat (10:45 a.m. with the last screening at 9:15 p.m.);
• Sun (11:30 a.m. with the closing film screening at 5:30 p.m.).
• The various films to be screened are placed in a variety of categories, including: Feature Films; Short Films; U.S. Narrative Feature Films; Short and Feature Documentary Films; Music Videos; Animation; University and Youth Films and more.
All the short films will be shown in blocks, with four to 10 films in each block. Also there are separate categories for humor, heavy drama, light drama, romantic comedy, and thriller/horror.
The roll call of both feature and short films is too extensive to list here; however, the complete list with times of screenings is available at the information table in front of the Stadium 9 Cinemas box office in the Laughlin Outlet Center, or on their website at

Tickets & Info Table…
Tickets for individual film screenings and short film blocks are $12 per person ($9 for students and seniors 55 and over). There are also “all day” screening passes available for each day, or for the full four days and $75 VIP passes that are all inclusive for all four days of films, events, and workshops, as well as workshop-only passes and individual event passes for things like opening night parties, awards ceremony or the Sunday breakfast. There are also discounts for seniors.
Complete details on the various packages, workshop and special events tickets are available online at
Information and individual tickets for film screenings are also available on site during the festival at the Sales and Information table located in front of the Stadium 9 box office. This is where pre-purchased tickets and passes can be picked up. It will be open Thurs (noon-9 p.m.), Fri (11 a.m.-10 p.m.), Sat (10 a.m.-10 p.m.), Sun (10 a.m.-6 p.m.). Further information and tickets are also accessible by calling 702-755-8391.
Filmmakers check-in/registration takes place within the Tropicana Laughlin’s Promenade Tower, Suite 284 (take the elevator closest to the parking garage), begins Thurs, Oct. 12 (3 p.m.).
A Filmmaker Lounge with an opening/kickoff champagne toast and meet and greet will be held in the Promenade Tower, Suite 285, (3 p.m.)

On with the show…
As always, the event will be focusing on recognizing and encouraging new up-and-coming filmmakers. The opening night film this year, “The Song of Sway Lake,” is collaboration between brothers Ari Gold, who co-wrote, produced and directed the film, and Ethan Gold who composed the music.
The film will be shown on Thurs, Oct. 12, at Stadium 9 Cinemas.
The Red Carpet arrival of director and actors kicks things off (6:30 p.m.) and is followed by the film screening (7:30 p.m.).
The story centers around a young record collector, haunted by his father’s suicide, who brings a bombastic Russian drifter to his family’s lake house to help him steal a one-of-a-kind record from his own grandmother. But the vision of two women — one young, one old — distracts the young men from their mission. It is the tale of the melody that haunts those who idealize a lost America.
“We are very excited to announce this will be the opening night film to kick-off our four-day festival,” said Karsen.
Both Ari and Ethan Gold will be on hand for a Q&A session at Stadium 9 at the conclusion of the film.
There will also be an Opening Night After-Party with hosted appetizers and a cash bar set for the Tropicana Laughlin’s Trellis Bar in Victory Plaza located outside in front of the property along Casino Drive, (approximately 10 p.m.-1 a.m.). K-Brick will be performing live music.
Tickets for the opening night film are $12 ($9 students/seniors 55+) include admission to the Red Carpet and After-Party, and are available at or at Stadium 9 Cinemas on Thursday.
To assure that the local community will have an opportunity to see this film, there will be an additional screening — Sat, Oct. 14 (8 p.m.) Tickets for this showing are $10 ($8 students/seniors 60+) and will be available at the LIFF sales table located in front of Stadium 9 Cinemas beginning Thurs, Oct. 12.

Let youth be served…
“This is the sixth year we have included a young filmmaker program as part of our film festival — something that is also very near and dear to my heart,” Karsen said. “It is a very important goal for us at LIFF to encourage the next generation of independent filmmakers. If we can be the inspiration for even one young person to try their hand at filmmaking, we have succeeded. To see the excitement and passion of filmmaking come alive in a young person makes our work at LIFF a total success.”
Thus, there will be a “Young Filmmaker Friday” special program to provide junior high and high school age students with an insight into the world of independent filmmaking. This special day is Friday, Oct. 13, and will feature a workshop with the theme, “Interviewing 101,” conducted by Toy Taylor and Eva Louis, Chronic Behavior LLC/Film & Fashion Futures.
The workshop is held in the Coronado Room of the Tropicana Laughlin (2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.). This program provides junior high and high school aged students with insight into the world of independent filmmaking.
Following the workshop is pizza (4:30-5 p.m.) in the LIFF Filmmaker Suite, in the Promenade Tower, Suite 284, provided by local filmmaker Brian Brown’s Desert Dream Studios (not open to the public). This will be an opportunity for the young future filmmakers to meet with a diverse group of talented independent filmmakers who will be in attendance at the festival.
After dinner, the program wraps up with a “night at the movies” to give the young people an opportunity to see the results of the dedication, passion and hard work involved in independent filmmaking. Filmmakers Friday participants will be treated to a special showing of the film “Thrill Ride” at Stadium 9 Theaters (5 p.m.).
“Thrill Ride” is a story about three kids who sneak into a mysterious rundown amusement park built by gangster Al Capone to hunt for his rumored hidden fortune. When the attractions come to life and take the kids on a wild and dangerous ride beyond all imagination, they now have to survive the night and team up with a friendly sea witch, find a secret underground ride and take on an evil mermaid, bloodthirsty pirates, a fire-breathing dragon and a menagerie of monsters—all on a school night.
This Young Filmmakers “Passport” also includes a Sat, Oct. 14 screening of the block of short films, “Lost: Finding the Way”; “Upbeat: The Happy and the Good”; and “Choices: Right vs. Wrong”; (10:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m.); and a Sun, Oct. 15 screening of “Genome” (3:30 p.m.).
Young Filmmaker Friday passes can be purchased online at for $20 and will be available for pick-up at the workshop (beginning at 2:30 p.m.) at the Tropicana’s Coronado Room.
For those only interested in attending the workshop, the cost is $12 or $10 for students and seniors 55+.
Passes may also be purchased at that time prior to the workshop or they may be pre-purchased at the LIFF sales table in front of the Stadium 9 Cinemas beginning on Thurs, Oct. 12 (10 a.m.).

Saturday workshop…
• “Actors & Auditioning: The Inside Scoop on the Audition Process,” will be presented by husband and wife team, Will and Sarah Wallace. They will illustrate exactly what happens before, during and after specific auditions. This workshop will help actors gain new insights and learn valuable tools to use during the audition process, as well as teaching aspiring filmmakers how to help bring out the best in an actor’s performance. The workshop takes place in the Coronado Room (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).

Special film
Film director, producer and screenwriter Penelope Spheeris, a.k.a. the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Anthropologist” for her acclaimed documentary films depicting the music scene in L.A. over the past 40 years, is set to receive the 2017 Laughlin International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, Oct. 14.
“We are honored to be presenting our 2017 LIFF Lifetime Achievement Award to someone with such an incredible career, as that of Penelope Spheeris,” Karson said. “She is an icon in independent filmmaking and the music culture. We could not be prouder about having her be a part of LIFF 2017.”
She will be honored for her long list of achievements as a break-through filmmaker who covered the LA music scene in depth. Spheeris is best known as the director of “Wayne’s World” (1992). The film, which was Mike Myers’ feature film debut, was a box office success as one of the highest grossing films that year. Her music video of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen) featured in the film, earned her a Grammy nomination.
A very special addition to the LIFF event, will be the screening of the short film “Dudes,” which Spheeris produced and directed in 1987. “Dudes” is a story about alienated punk kids who discover a sense of values while setting straight the death of a friend. The film stars musicians Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Lee Ving (Fear), along with actors Jon Cryer (“Two and a Half Men”), Daniel Roebuck (“Mob City”), and Catherine Mary Stewart (“Weekend at Bernie’s”).
The film never had a full theatrical release and just became available on Blu-Ray on Oct. 10.

A special free admission LIFF Oktoberfest After Party is scheduled for Pints Brewery & Sports Bar within the Colorado Belle on Fri, Oct.13 (10 p.m.). There will be a no host bar, hosted appetizers, special beer pricing, and extended Pints menu available.

•The LIFF Awards Ceremony & After-Party takes place in the Tropicana Pavilion Theater on Sat, Oct. 15 (8 p.m cocktail hour; 9 p.m. awards presentation; 11:30 after-party). Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors 55 and over).
K-Brick will be performing live music at the awards ceremony.
XIV, a band featured in the filmon the LIFF schedule, “66 and Nowhere,” will perform a song from the film as part of the awards program. They also will perform at the after-party.
LIFF will present awards to films in various categories. Appetizers will be served during the cocktail hour before the awards show. The Tropicana Laughlin is awarding a $250 cash prize to the Best University Film of their choice.

Champagne Brunch
• A panel discussion will be held with hosted directors, producers and actors during a breakfast and endless champagne mimosa brunch in the Tropicana Pavilion on Sun, Oct. 15 (10 a.m. panel discussion). K-Brick will be performing live music during the breakfast.
Tickets are $15 per person.



Thurs-Sun, October 12-15

See Showtimes for tickets