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Wednesday, August 15, 2018


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Final details, celebrities, events, screenings for the 2018 Film Festival
and Ticket Sales 
will go live by July 1. 

Hell Bent For Westerns 72 dpi

October  4 - 8, 2018


This year’s 29th Lone Pine Film Festival will celebrate, among other subjects, the cultural, cinematic and technical contributions of William Fox and the Fox Film Corporation with guest author Vanda Krefft, who has recently released the definitive biography on Fox, The Man Who Made the Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox. Vanda’s presentation on William Fox will highlight his many contributions to the art of film making, as well as the exhibiting and marketing of some of the great films of the 20th century.

Following our late Thursday afternoon, welcoming gala will be a pre-release screening of Perry King’s new film, The Divide. Set in drought-plagued Northern California in 1976, the story of Sam Kincaid, an aging rancher with a failing memory, Sarah, his estranged daughter, and Luke, a young ranch hand who finds himself in the midst of a family in crisis, all facing the realities of an unforgiving landscape and the need to reconcile a long-ago tragedy.

A special screening on Saturday afternoon will showcase the rare 1933 film, Smoky, based on the 1927 Will James novel, Smoky The Cowhorse. The film features Will James on screen introducing and narrating this wonderful first adaptation which stars Victor Jory and Irene Bentley. The Festival is honored to host a large contingency of the Will James Society in for the weekend. Noted Canadian filmmaker, Claude Gagnon, will be on hand to discuss his ten-year mission to document James life in a documentary to be released later in 2018.

Dennis Liff, a historian of Southern California's Iverson Ranch, will discuss the unique landscapes of the Iverson Ranch and the multitude of Westerns filmed there.

Larry Floyd, gun collector/historian, will be returning with an exciting presentation on " The Hand Gun: Western Fact and Western Film, a comparison of fact & fiction on guns and holsters used in movies. Larry will also provide background on many of the guns housed in the museum’s collection. Also returning will be Dave Matuszak with his ''Top Ten" presentation. 

Throughout the weekend, over 20 movie site tours will be led by our expert docents to complement the screenings. Movie locations will include John Wayne's Oregon Trail; Bill Cody’s Frontier Days; Hopalong Cassidy’s Strange Gamble andBurt and Donna Yost will return with a special edition of their “East of Lone Pine” tour. This year will also see a return of the very popular Gunga Din tour, as well as the Owens Valley Water War tour led by area historian Page Williams. Page will also lead a Saturday morning Arches tour.  Larry Maurice's annual Sunrise Tours on Friday and Saturday morning will be back again by popular demand as well as our Australian “Lone Piner’s” Ross Schnioffsky and Warren Davey returning for a revamped encore of their Hell Bent with Audie Murphy tour. Two new tours this year will be – Around the Lake; Into the Sand Dunes; the Films of Owens Lake led by Chris Langley and Wagon Train to the Stars – a new format on our Science fiction film heritage hosted by Robert & Krissy Oswald.

Slim Princess


We have had many requests over the last few years for an Alabama Hills geology tour. This year we are very excited to have noted, author and geologist, Dr, Allen Glazner. His 1997 book, Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley, defined the granite landscape of the Eastern Sierra. Alan will conduct a two-hour geology tour of the Alabama Hills preceded by a 60-minute perspective in the Museum’s theater. Another exciting tour, hosted by the author of the 2017 book, Gunga Din: From Kipling's Poem to Hollywood's Action-Adventure Classic, William Chemerka, will be on hand to lead two tours on one of Lone Pines greatest movie locations.

Ben Mankiewicz, host of Turner Classic movies will be back with us this year for panels and discussions as well as Wyatt McCrea, Historian Ed Hulse, Producer, Rob Word, and Diamond Farnsworth to name a few. Final details on our Friday night and Saturday night premiere screenings and additional celebrity guests will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Motel and RV park numbers are available at a new website to assist you in your visit. Please see In search bars, Select "Town" or "All Towns" > under Places - select Lodging or RV; leave "All Activities" and select "SEARCH."

While we will attempt to provide extensive information on the Festival through our Newsletters and the website, questions can be answered through email to: [email protected]or through the museum: 760-876-9103.


Tickets for this Year's 29th (2018) Film Festival

1. Review Website

2.  Download Order Form

3. For Information on Festival - Call 760-876-9103
If no answer, Barb may be on the phone wth someone else.
Please leave Message and she will call you back! 

*Receive discounts on Festival Buttons
*Invitation to Thursday evening Membership Reception
(Meet the Celebrity Guests)
*Discounts in Museum Gift Shop
*Newsletter & More...

Click Anywhere in Box to JOIN Today

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I have to be a member now or at the time of the festival to qualify for discounts?
"Member Price" discounts are available to museum members in good standing as of The Festival Dates: (October 4 - 8, 2018) and or "Button" holders. Museum associates can verify your membership end date and coordinate renewal to benefit from the discounts offered to qualifying members.

2. Do I need a Festival Button to attend the tours.
No, members and button holders receive discounts and can purchase tours at a 10% discount. Individuals, couples or groups who may be here for the day can purchase tours at full price.

3. Do I have to purchase a Festival Button?
SAVE THE DATE Web corner 15 degrees leftNo, if a member, you will still receive your discounts on tours and various events, but you WILL NOT be able to attend the various film screenings, panels and discussions.

4. Who can attend the Thursday night cocktail reception at the Museum?
The Museum's Thursday night cocktail reception is open to the public. Members cost to attend the reception is $10.00 - Non-members $20.00 per person.

5. Can I purchase Day Tickets?
YES... Daily passes are $30.00 and will permit access to all movies and panels for the specific day. Day passes are ONLY available at the ticket office.



Admission to the Museum for the three days

50% Discount on Thursday night Museum reception
 Access to All of the movies shown at the High School Auditorium
for the three days of the Festival
 Entry to Friday & Saturday Evening Special Screenings
with panel discussion post movie
 10% discount on the Movie Site Tours
 Entry to All Celebrity Star Panels @ High School Quad & Auditorium
Full Access Museum Theater Panels

We look forward to seeing you in October.

The latest information on tours, celebrities, events will be listed on our website. 

To join our Newsletter group and receive weekly updates please click here.




Don Kelsen

Don KelsenThe Lone Pine community launched its first Film Festival in 1990 to celebrate the heritage of the Alabama Hills, and Hollywood’s long history of making westerns in this local landscape. This first film festival, then called, The Sierra Film Festival attracted a LA Based photographer and videographer, Don Kelsen, who worked for the Los Angeles Times.

As Kelsen notes, “I made my first journey into the Alabama Hills in 1990 to attend the Sierra Film Festival. As a result of that trek, I became absolutely captivated with the region's natural beauty and rich film history. My love affair with the area continues to this day!”

Kelsen’s background as a professional photographer and videographer for the Times for 37 years provided a unique appreciation for what constitutes impactful composition in photographs and moving pictures. He easily recognized why movie location scouts had found the Alabama Hills to be such a desirable locale for movie production.

In one of his trips to Lone Pine many years ago, his passion for location hunting was ignited when he met Kent Sperring, Dan Gillespie and his wife Carol, all who regularly come to the Eastern Sierra to search out their favorite movie location sites. They along with a number of visitors make Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills an annual destination as they bring either stills of movies shot in the area or screen grabs from TV. Then, into the hills they go, searching out the exact spot from the still.

The energetic trio hike through the Alabama Hills several times per year comparing movie screen shots with the majestic topography of the region. Don became a happy participant in their expeditions.

A long supporter of the Film Festival and Museum of Western Film History, Don has graciously documented, in pictures and video, many of the events over the past years for the museum archives. Recognizing Don’s passionate support and his growing status as a film historian and “film buff,” the Film Festival committee approached Don in 2013 as to applying his professional skills in creating new tours and then, to act as a guide during the Film Festival. As these past five years have shown, Don has stepped up to the plate. In many years, Don had led not one, or two but three tours into the Alabama Hills landscape. (In 2018 Don will lead three tours: Frontier Days, Oregon Trail and The Round-Up.

Don diligently prepares for his tours which usually involve about three weeks of scouting in the Alabama's and then many weeks sitting in front of his home computer determining the tour route and selecting the screen shots using the latest DVD or Blu-Ray release technology to prepare custom and comprehensive tour guide “handouts” for each tour.

Don notes “Lone Pine Film Festival co-founder Dave Holland created the first guided tours through the Alabama's and local Owens Valley. It has been my honor to carry on this Festival tour tradition with freshly researched locations.  

Don looks forward to this weekends, 29th annual Lone Pine Film Festival, and to guests joining him for one of his tours. You can be assured it will be a memorable and enjoyable experience!

Editor’s note: In early 2018, Don joined the Board of the Museum of Western Film History bringing his professional experience and passion to the table to further assist the Museum in its growth plans.

Further reading on Lone pine and Movie Locations - see LA Times article April 2103 by Louis Sahagun


Join with Jay Dee Witney, William Wellman Jr. and Julie Rogers this year in a new Exhibit program called "On on One." Each of our guests will spend two hours on Friday and Saturday at the respective exhibit in the museum telling family stories and to answer your personal questions.

Jay Dee Witney
Friday afternoon (1:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
Saturday - TBD

Visit with Jay Dee – “One on One” in the museum. Jay Dee will be sitting in the North wing, in front of the exhibit he helped curate of his father’s career. He’s got lots of great stories and ready to answer any question comes his way!

About William Witney
William Wellman 72 dpiAn interviewer once asked director William Witney the secret to making good Westerns. "It's really very simple," he said. "Make sure you have good headlights on your car." At the look of puzzlement on the interviewer's face, Witney explained (with that ever-present twinkle in his eye), "because you go to work in the dark and you come home in the dark." He knew what he was talking about. This man, who would become known for his fast-paced and action-packed serials and features, started making movies in the '30s. "Back then," Witney once said, "we'd start in the morning before the sun came up, shooting with flares."

Over the years, Witney built a legacy that continues to this day. Although his hey-day in motion pictures was in the'30s, '40s and '50s, in television from the mid-'50s through the '60s and his last film was in 1982, film-makers are still being influenced by him, more than a quarter of a century later. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have admitted that Saturday afternoon serials inspired the Indiana Jones movies. Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown) calls William Witney a "forgotten master." Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1915, Witney began in the picture business as a messenger boy for Mascot Pictures, which shot its interiors on the Mack Sennett lot, later home to Republic Pictures. He mimeo’d scripts, helped gather props, did script continuity on the set and even learned editing. The first serial he helped cut was The Miracle Rider with Tom Mix.

With a 40-year career Witney directed or co-directed 24 serials, 64 features and hundreds of episodes for such diverse television series as Lassie, Sky King, Zorro, Mike Hammer, M Squad, Wagon Train, Bonanza, Tales of Wells Fargo, Laramie, The Virginian, Alfred Hitchcock, Daniel Boone, The Wild Wild West and High Chaparral. (The serial titles included such now classics as The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Perils of Nyoka, three Dick Tracys and Zorro's Fighting Legion, (a Steven Spielberg favorite).

William Wellman

Friday afternoon (1:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
Saturday - TBD 

About William Wellman


William WItney






Julie Rogers

Friday afternoon TBD)
Saturday - TBD 

About Roy Rogers & Dale Evans


Hollywood’s “King of the Cowboys,” was born Leonard Franklin Slye in Duck Run, Ohio. In this rural setting he played guitar and sang along with his uncle at local events. His early films identified him as “Dick Weston;” then, in 1938. Republic Pictures gave him his first starring role in Under Western Stars and a new name - Roy Rogers. Soon, he was Hollywood's top box office film star and would remain at the top for twelve consecutive years.

Rogers, the man, contributed to the persona of the on-screen fictional character as the quintessential "good guy," a true humanitarian. Rogers and Dale Evans along with their assorted sidekicks, Gabby Hayes and later Pat Brady (on the television show) spent all of their time righting wrongs. In a gun battle Rogers never killed his opponent, instead he would shoot the weapon from an assailant’s hand

Our Roy Rogers Museum exhibit contains Roy and Dale’s original chairs from their living room in Apple Valley, a shirt used by Roy on one of his many record covers, a slide show of family pictures and other souvenirs and memorabilia from their long and productive careers. Roy, and Dale had a long history with Lone Pine making 23 movies here. They were honored in 1998 and 2000 respectively and always had wonderful stories of their time in the Alabamas.

A particular favorite among local audiences, Under Western Stars (1938), shot almost entirely in Lone Pine, tells the story of a young congressman (Roy Rogers) elected to fight the “water company.” He once explained that the company had brought up large wind machines for a dust storm segment, but that was unnecessary since Lone Pine provided such a real storm, partially worsened by the water extraction policies of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In the film the Tinnemaha reservoir, still used for water storage, is seen, as is the L.A. Aqueduct in several scenes shot just outside Lone Pine

Roy Rogers went onto enormous success. He was listed for fifteen consecutive years as a Motion Picture Herald Top Money-Making Western star from 1939 to 1954. He was also featured in a similar poll by Box Office magazine holding first place from 1943 to 1952.

Roy eventually met and married Dale Evans and together they became a famous couple working on many charitable causes on between their busy movie careers. Roy made six pictures with scenes made in Lone Pine. Besides Under Western Stars, he made Saga of Death Valley, Utah, Hands Across the Border, Song of Texas.

Event Tickets

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TICKETS ON Sale  - July 1

Latest News

Celebrity Guests

Scott Eyman
Diamond Farnsworth
Vanda Krefft
Ben Mankiewicz
Wyatt McCrea
Conrad Palmisano
Robert Wagner
Patrick Wayne

Master of Ceremonies
Larry Maurice

Guest & Panelists

William Chemerka
Larry Floyd
Allen Glazner
Scott Harris
Don Kelsen
Dennis Liff
Julie Rogers Pomilia

Panel Moderator
Ed Hulse

Thursday Night Opening Film
Screening: THE DIVIDE 

Starring Perry King  &
Sara Arrington

Friday Night Keynote Film
The Big Trail
Starring John Wayne
Special Guest, Patrick Wayne

Saturday Night Keynote Film
Broken Lance
Starring Robert Wagner

Special Guests
Claude Gagnon and members of the 
Will James Society

J. C. Munns
Accompanist on Silents

Thursday 12:30 PM
Restored Slim Princess 
in Independence