The Backlot Film Festival was founded in 2004 by writer/producer Ross Hawkins to pay tribute to the rich motion picture history in Culver City and LA's Westside.

The first Backlot Film Festival was held at West Los Angeles College because a portion of the campus was used by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios until 1967.

The two motion picture and television studios in Culver City, (Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Culver Studios) were both built by pioneer filmmaker Thomas H. Ince.

Ince is mainly remembered for the mysterious circumstances of his death and it is forgotten that he built three major studios, produced and directed thousands of films and created the studio system still in existence today.


The First Backlot Film Festival was a tribute to the classic films of 1939, considered by many film historians to be Hollywood's banner year.
Some of the films screened were "Gone With The Wind," "The Wizard of Oz," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "The Private Lives of Elizebeth and Essex," "Huckleberry Finn" and Laurel and Hardy as "Flying Dueces"

The first Thomas Ince Award Honoree was Daniel M. Selznick and the award was presented to him by Producer Thom Mount.
Special guests at the festival included:
- Nannette Fabray, (who was featured in "The Private Lives of Elizebeth and Essex")
- Producer and Director Hugh Neeley
- Film Historian Marc Wanamaker
- WLA College President Frank Quiambo
- Former Mayor of Culver City, Steve Gourley
- Former Culver City Human Services Director, Syd Kronenthal,
- Producer, casting director and motion picture archivist Marvin Paige

The 2007 BACKLOT FILM FESTIVAL gave independent filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their work for industry executives and distributors.

The Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills was carefully chosen because it brings back the glamour of the movies' golden era when going to a motion picture was an event.

The second Thomas Ince Award Ceremony was hold in the historic Veterans Memorial Building Auditorium in Culver City, within walking distance of where key scenes from "Mutiny On The Bounty" (1935) and "Gone With The Wind" (1939) were filmed.



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