For over 25 years, the Lone Pine Film Festival has been a treasured resource in preserving and sharing the incredible film history of the Alabama Hills and nearby Eastern Sierra region. What started out as a regional film festival in 1990, has grown into a prestigious event that showcases some of the greatest historical moments in American Western Films and modern day blockbusters.
Along the way, and with the generosity of Beverly and Jim Rogers, the Film Festival’s success generated a 10,500 square foot museum in 2006 and is dedicated to preserving the Heritage and History of the American Western Film.
However, it appears that the museum’s mission is getting a slight makeover with a name change and a physical expansion. According to the museum’s Director, Robert Sigman, the Lone Pine Film History Museum has some major plans in the works:
“The Museum’s name is being changed to the Museum of Western Film History and will pay tribute to ALL Western films, highlighting for visitors those made in this region,” said Sigman. “The expansion provides opportunity for the museum to define itself not only as an exhibiter, but an archive of the history and legacy of Western Film in America and the evolving culture on movies of the American Cowboy.”
Initially, the museum was created to represent the roughly 700 films and 1000 commercials made in the Alabama Hills and the Eastern Sierra (including Death Valley). Hundreds of exhibits spanning across, several film genres, can be viewed in the museum. Kids of all ages will enjoy learning about some of their favorite movies and seeing these exhibits. When asked which one was the most popular exhibit, Sigman had a tough time picking just one:
“Tough question – for the plus 50 – easily Hopalong Cassidy. We have one of the largest collections of Hoppy memorabilia in the US. The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans exhibit brings back many memories. To those who love Music – Our singing cowboys provides a look back at Roy, Gene, Tex Ritter and others. For a younger crowd, Django Unchained; and for kids – Tremors. We have the large animatronic worm and other characters here.”
Another popular feature of the Lone Pine Film History Museum is its expertise on the movie locations in the Alabama Hills. For those unfamiliar with the Hills, check out my review of this iconic filming location.
The museum aids in directing visitors to where some of the popular locations are. Also, during the Film Festival, there are guided tours. For those who can’t wait, the museum has created a great brochure to some of the more popular movie locations.
According to Sigman, the movies Gunga Din (1937) and Django Unchained (2012) have created the most buzz for this region in addition to the Film Festival. However, scenes from many other popular films were shot here like: Iron Man, Star Trek, Star Wars and Gladiator. Additionally, TV shows like the iconic Lone Ranger were also filmed here.
The 26th edition of Lone Pine’s Film Festival will be held on Friday, October 9 through October 11, 2015. Festivities will kick off on Thursday evening October 8. This year will feature Tom Mix’s 1937 Cord and a tour of his movie sites. Expert panelists will be on hand to discuss the region, the films, promote their books, film careers and other engaging activities. Film tours and a rodeo are also can’t miss attractions for this year’s festival. Check out the Film Festival’s official site for all of the latest news and details.
You can help support the Lone Pine Film History Museum through annual or lifetime memberships.