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Randy Spendlove, a Gilroy native and president of Motion Picture Music at Paramount Pictures, has been involved with the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival for a number of years. Contributed photo
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Randy Spendlove has been involved with the soundtracks for more than 350 movies over his 30-year career in the industry, earning a Grammy award for “Chicago” in 2004 and working with countless big-name artists.

As the President of Motion Picture Music at Paramount Pictures, Spendlove said he is looking forward to the release of the latest “Mission: Impossible” film in June, a flick where he oversaw the musical score, and had just returned from a trip to Jamaica as part of the work on Paramount’s upcoming biopic on singer/songwriter Bob Marley.

But the Gilroy native has never forgotten his roots, and his return to his hometown during the upcoming Poppy Jasper International Film Festival will not only give him the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, but will also help strengthen his bond with the region thanks to a new venture.

This year’s festival—which will screen at venues in Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista—will take place April 12-19. Spendlove will be joined by Polo Jones and other musicians during a performance at the Poppy Bash on April 14 at the Capos Event Center in downtown Gilroy.

In a phone interview with this publication, Spendlove said he isn’t able to get back to Gilroy “as often as I’d like.”

“I have a lot of friends rooted there,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the teachers and people from my childhood that are in Gilroy.”

In 2022, Spendlove and his longtime friend Jennifer Wood launched Olive + Lavender Farms in the Santa Ynez Valley’s Los Olivos.

The 150-olive tree farm in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country produces a variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Among its offerings is its garlic-infused olive oil in homage to Spendlove’s hometown.

Spendlove said the goal is to work with growers in South Santa Clara and San Benito counties to source olives and garlic for the products. He added that people travel from afar to visit the farm, which also sells its products online at oliveandlavenderfarms.com.

As a youngster, Spendlove said he picked garlic in the summers, as “that was the job you did when you lived in Gilroy.” Growing up with the Gilroy Garlic Festival was what cemented his passion for food and culture, he noted, which served as an inspiration for Olive + Lavender Farms.

“That love of food, wine and friends in an environment to get together was something I missed in my life, and I wanted to create a space that would remind me of that time in Gilroy,” Spendlove said.

Poppy Jasper Festival Director Mattie Scariot said Spendlove has been a major part of the festival for a number of years who has helped its recent growth. This year’s event showcases 260 films from 30 countries, along with almost 300 filmmakers from 14 countries, across the United States and locally, attending.

Spendlove noted that the festival has continued to expand its international reach.

“It started as a small idea in our local town and has grown because of Mattie Scariot,” he said. “Every year is bigger than the last. Now there’s a huge number of filmmakers that participate globally.”

The Poppy Bash is the biggest night for filmmakers during the festival, Scariot said, with filmmakers from 14 countries expected to be in attendance.

“It’s a big celebration for them and of them and the festival,” she said. “We really celebrate what we’ve accomplished this year and celebrate the art of film and the filmmakers.”

Alina Malletti Galore and Jayson Stebbins will serve as the emcees for the night. Award-winning British actor Ian Puleston-Davies will give the keynote speech, while the festival will honor guitarist and composer Kat Dyson with the Icon Award during the event.

Tickets and passes for the Poppy Bash and screenings are available at pjiff.org

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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