Now in its sixteenth year, Westflix (formerly known as Harvard-Westlake Film Festival) has come a long way since its start. Founded in 2004 by Harvard-Westlake alumna Elizabeth Yale '04, the first festival showcased the films in Harvard-Westlake's Rugby Theater with young alum Jake Gyllenhaal '98 as its first speaker. In 2008 the venue changed to ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood to accommodate the festival's expanding audience and the following year moved into the ArcLight's 800-seat Cinerama Dome. The festival continues to expand each year under new student leadership and faculty advisors Cheri Gaulke, Jesse Chehak, and Ted Walch.
Westflix serves as a premium showcase for student filmmakers throughout California. Films are selected by a committee of students, teachers, and industry professionals who view the entries and choose the finalists. A judging panel of industry professionals chooses winners in many different categories. Previous judges include Peter Gallagher, Kevin Costner, and Alfre Woodard. The festival screening is free and open to the public.
Each year, the festival evening features a keynote speaker who is chosen to talk about their career and success in the film industry. Throughout the years, we have had the privilege of hosting, among others, Tom Hanks, Jamie Lee Curtis '76, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Aaron Sorkin P'19, Kate Beckinsale P'17, Michael Sheen P'17, and Jason Reitman '95.
The 2011 festival began a new tradition, a day of Workshops (The Day After). On the Saturday following the annual screening, Harvard-Westlake plays host to young filmmakers and their teachers for a day of conversation and workshops with each other and more film professionals. Admission is free. Please RSVP for this event so we can provide enough food for our guests. See the Box Office tab for more info.