Posted November 16, 2007 in Film

When Jo Molton, a fast-talking ex-news producer, moved to Temecula with her newborn and husband, he teased her that she’d better find a hobby since she couldn’t cook or keep house. "Temecula was so pretty, but rural—it had only one stoplight and I was climbing up the walls," she sighs. But that didn’t last long. In 1995, Molton strung together 25 romantic comedies and declared it the Temecula Valley Film Festival. Twelve years (and 700 films) later, Molton’s spent her summers hammering out the lineup for her substantial feature and documentary competition, hosting community sneak previews, and organizing visas for visiting filmmakers arriving from Kiev to Mongolia. While Molton is proud of bringing the cinema’s outposts to the Inland Empire (including two closer-to-home shorts programs centered on Canada and Italy), she’s equally pleased to showcase local talent from the universities and high schools and young talent from across America—in particular, an ambitious project called My City Now, which gave Latino kids from San Antonio to Oakland the chance to put together a 3-minute piece about their lives. Oh yeah, there’s a music festival too. "My brain is marshmallow right now," Molton moans, but this local champion of the arts wouldn’t have it any other way, it seems. The festival takes place this weekend; for the full lineup, visit


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