Catalina Film Festival 2014 Highlights: William H. Macy, Andy Garcia, Emmy Rossum and Roman Coppola

The 2014 Catalina Film Festival attracted some of the brightest stars in Hollywood. William H. Macy, Andy Garcia, Emmy Rossum, Roman Coppola, and Jordin Sparks were among the celebrities that made their way from the mainland to the island via helicopter.

Roman Coppola and Suzette Valle at the Catalina Film Festival

Roman Coppola and Suzette Valle at the Catalina Film Festival

I was a guest of this year’s festival, and it was also my first time attending this movie fest. But I wasn’t whirled to Catalina by chopper, my rank as a member of the media transported me by complimentary ferry. The experience was nonetheless glamorous!

Read my article about the festival on TheWrap.

The meticulously executed star-studded event kicked off with the premier of the film “Left Behind” with Nicolas Cage. The film is based on the book by Jerry B. Jenkins who was also in attendance. Film director Vic Armstrong (“The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Adventures in the Secret Service”), and cast members Cassie Thompson (“Switched at Birth”), Nicky Whelan (“Workaholics”), and Jordin Sparks (“Sparkle”), were also on the red carpet.

Parties, panels, wine mixers, and, of course, movies, marked the 5th year of the Catalina Film Festival. William H. Macy announced his arrival at the festival on Twitter. Macy was noticeably thrilled to be flown in by helicopter.

Macy was on hand to accept the Stanley Kramer (“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World”) Social Artist Award, only the second actor to have this honor bestowed by Mrs. Kramer at this festival, “For bringing issues that matter to the forefront.”

CFF William H. Macy and Suzette Valle

CFF William H. Macy and Suzette Valle

In his acceptance speech, the “Shameless” actor seized the moment to place the spotlight on the “orgy of violence that seems to be engulfing us in a country that has more gun shots than Starbucks.” He ended with an appeal to his fellow filmmakers to make things better.

Singer Jordin Sparks arrived with Lance Bass as her date.

Jordin Sparks Catalina Film Festival

Jordin Sparks at the Catalina Film Festival

Sparks stars in the film “Left Behind,” which was one of the headlining films of this festival.

Lance Bass and Suzette Valle at the Catalina Film Festival

Lance Bass and Suzette Valle at the Catalina Film Festival

The red carpet events glittered with a variety of filmmakers and talent. Fans were able to get a good look at the celebrity arrivals from their perch near the Avalon Theater.

Roman Coppola on the Red Carpet at the Catalina Film Festival

Roman Coppola on the Red Carpet at the Catalina Film Festival

Andy Garcia was this year’s recipient of the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award. Garcia’s film career was highlighted with clips of his iconic roles in films like “The Untouchables” and “The Godfather III.”

The Cuban-born actor was visibly humbled by the honor and reflected on his own path to this moment.

“Because of the opportunity that this country gave to me, and the sacrifices my family made in order for me to have the freedom to be able to stand in front of you, and speak freely without any repercussions, and to pursue my dreams, is what seems to me Ronald Reagan stood for, and it’s what this country stands for,” he told the audience.

Andy Garcia and Suzette Valle at the Catalina Film Festival

Andy Garcia and Suzette Valle at the Catalina Film Festival

Putting together an event of this caliber takes a village — in this case an island — and the excitement and collaboration between organizers, volunteers and residents was palpable. Congratulations to the Catalina Film Festival for a flawless event!

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