From The Lone Ranger to Transformers, Lone Pine has been a part of film history for more than 100 years and will be celebrating this weekend with the annual Lone Pine Film Festival.
This year’s theme, “Celebrating Centennials,” is an ode to Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios, which are both celebrating their 100th birthdays.
“Over the course of the weekend several films produced and distributed by the two studios in the Lone Pine area will be screened,” a press release from the Film Festival states. “The celebration will also salute the centennial birthday of Dale Evans, with a screening of Utah, a film she made in Lone Pine with her husband, the ‘King of Cowboys,’ Roy Rogers.”
In addition to appearances and audience participation panels with celebrities, and the famed Lone Pine Film Festival parade on Sunday, festival attendees are invited to tour the Alabama Hills and see Hollywood’s living movie sets and stop by the Lone Pine Film History Museum to see more than 100-years worth of merchandise and memorabilia.
The museum’s Board of Directors recently agreed to change the name from “The Museum of Lone Pine Film History,” to “The Lone Pine Film History Museum.”
Museum Executive Director Chris Langley said the new name “better reflects the museum’s growth and broader exhibits of the larger geographic area and is now dedicated to preserving the diverse movie history of California’s Eastern Sierra, including Lone Pine and points north and the Death Valley region.”
In addition to an 85-seat movie theater, where festival goers will have an opportunity to see a number of films shot locally, the museum boasts a collection of film memorabilia, from Dale Evans’ dress to a recreation of a set used in Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr.
For this year’s festival, the museum has some new additions, thanks to director Quentin Tarantino, who filmed scenes for his latest movie, Django Uchained, in the Eastern Sierra last year.
“A great fan of spaghetti westerns and cliff-hanger serials director Bill Witney, Quentin used the original clapper board from the Lone Ranger to mark his scenes and the film museum’s theater to screen and share his love of old westerns with the rest of the crew,” a press release from Festival organizers states. “He has kindly donated the dentist wagon that Christophe Waltz drove in the film … recognizable by the giant model of a tooth on the top.”
Tarantino also made a few other, smaller contributions to the museum.
For musical entertainment during the festival, residents are invited to check out the Sons of the San Joaquin, who will be performing two concerts at the 23rd annual Film Festival.
“The upbeat, airtight, three-part family harmonies of the Sons of the San Joaquin are being heard in a lot more places these days,” Film Festival organizers said. “This sound has carried Joe, Jack and Lon Hannnah from church and community gatherings to places like Switzerland, where traditional cowboy music is even more revered than modern country music.
The group’s sound first took shape here in the Eastern Sierra, where the family moved from depression-era Missouri.
“There were some prominent cattle ranches there,” said Jack, “and that’s where our romance with cowboys began. Our dad became a fan of the Sons of the Pioneers back in the 1930s, and he’d sing a lot of those songs. We learned our first ones from him, and became great fans of theirs, too.”
Since 1992, the Sons of the San Joaquin have recorded several albums, including “Gospel Trails,” which features Dale Evans as lead vocalist for the track “In the Sweet By and By.”
The Sons of the San Joaquin will perform at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.
The Film Festival runs from Friday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 7 in Lone Pine.