The first Pasadena International Film Festival had its official opening via the Great Gatsby Gala on February 13, 2014. It was a lot of fun and featured three beloved Whedonites: David Fury, James Marsters, and Clare Kramer. David was there to give James and Clare awards; the Career Versatility Award went to James and the Visionary Award for Clare.
The night began with everyone arriving. I made it to the gala right as it opened to be sure that I wouldn’t miss any arrivals. After checking in, I took a seat near the entryway and across from the red carpet in order to people watch as others made it to the event. About half an hour later, David Fury arrived with his wife, Elin Hampton. Knowing both from seeing Elin’s play The Bells of West 87th, I walked over to say hello. Both David and Elin said hello and we chatted until the the festival’s executive director, Jessica Hardin, came over to direct them to their reserved table. It was at least another fifteen minutes before James Marsters arrived with his wife Jasmin. As James socialized with the other people who wanted his attention, Jasmin and I had a quick chat before we parted so that they could get in the long line for the red carpet.
While James was in line, Clare sneaked up on him and quickly tapped his shoulders. James jumped a little before seeing Clare and laughing while they hugged hello. After their hellos were done, Clare turned to me to say hello and catch up. Shortly after that, both she and James made it to the red carpet for quick interviews. I managed to take a few photos of James and Clare while they were on the red carpet. When James was about ready to move, I realized my pictures weren’t the best and asked him to step back so I could take one more photo, and I took the shot above. Then it was Clare’s turn, and I was able to get a lovely shot of her too.
Once the red carpet festivities were over, I joined a couple of my friends who also attended the gala for drinks and chatting while we waited for the award ceremony to start. The awards started late, but thankfully, the awards I was there to see were the first done. David walked up to the podium to applause and proceeded to give a speech about James and some of the highlights of his career with a focus on his time as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of my favorite moments in the speech was when David referred to Spike’s various nicknames, as he included both William the Bloody and William the Bloody Awful Poet. James threw his head back and laughed while Clare laughed with him.
Soon after, James went to the podium to accept his award. His speech was slightly less than two minutes, but he was thrilled to have an award he could show his parents that wasn’t based on being voted “best kiss,” etc. James also talked about how quickly a festival can take off and how happy he was to be getting the first Career Versatility Award they presented during their first year. Next, David gave his speech to present the Visionary Award to Clare. When she reached the podium, she gave a lovely speech as well, including a joke about being a creative visionary and the proof being that she and her husband have four children under the age of five.
After those awards were presented, several others were presented to people including Mimi Kennedy, Jay Sanders, and Michael Gross. All gave delightful speeches and seemed genuinely thrilled to receive their awards. Once the presentation of awards was completed, I went over to see David, James, and Clare once again, and I was lucky to gain quick interviews with all three. Be prepared to see those coming soon!
I had a fantastic time at the Great Gatsby Gala at the Pasadena International Film Festival, and I can’t wait to see what happens next year.