11:45am | Using a premiere to benefit an organization like the National Coalition of the Homeless would be a nice idea regardless of the nature of the film. But considering the subject matter of Halloween Party, the appropriateness of the gesture is self-evident.
Shot entirely in Belmont Shore last July, Halloween Party is, according to writer/director/co-producer Linda Palmer, a romantic comedy revolving around "a girl looking for love on the most 'deceptive' night of the year." At the eponymous party she meets a very nice guy dressed up as a homeless person. Except that his costume is no deception.
"I really liked the idea of mistaken identity," Palmer says. "And I think because of the timing of [the filming], with the economy as it is…. I have a couple of friends and family who have become homeless over the last three years. […] It wasn't like I set out to write a film about that, but that was obviously an influence."
Despite its "Don't judge a book by its cover" theme, Palmer emphasizes that this is a fun film, a bit American Pie in feel and with wall-to-wall music.
Halloween Party's Long Beach connection is strong: Co-producer Sandy Robinson is an alumnus of CSU Long Beach and eight CSULB film students worked on the film. Then there are the dozen of local residents who pop up in the film as partygoers. Meanwhile, stylists from The Loft on Broadway did hair and makeup.
With so many local tie-ins, the decision to host the first "Red Carpet Pre-release Screening" at the Art Theatre was a no-brainer.
Donating proceeds from the screening to the National Coalition of the Homeless wasn't a difficult choice, either. Founded in 1982, the nonprofit organization has a single mission: "To prevent and end homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected."
"The other thing that really struck me [about the National Coalition of the Homeless] is that a lot of people working within the organization have been homeless — or they are homeless— and they're just trying to put their lives back together."
Every donation helps. And a film that asks us to get to know people by looking beneath the surface certainly can't hurt.
Halloween Party screens at the Art Theater (2025 E. 4th Street, 90814) on Saturday, March 24th, at 9 p.m. Suggested donation: $15 per ticket. Proceeds to benefit the National Coalition of the Homeless.