Tag Archives: Enzian Theater

25 by 10: The 2016 Florida Film Festival Wrap-Up

If there is one thing that I would like you know about me, it is this; I am a writer. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a “blogger” or a “journalist“. It simply means that I consider myself to be a storyteller. My job is to create worlds for my characters to inhabit, and then place these characters in unique and interesting situations.

So when you are asked, as I was, to discuss my time during the Florida Film Festival, I was presented with a very unique challenge: how do I tell a story that has already been told 24 times before? How do my “characters” react to situations that are out of my control? How do I, a real person, tell a story that is always changing with every passing year?
Most writers…heck, most people I know…would love to presented with such a challenge.

I accepted that challenge.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always compared the Florida Film Festival to a giant maze, with me as the mouse trying to get to the cheese. To accomplish this, I have worn many hats throughout the years; a volunteer. A bystander. A distant observer. However, at no point was I able to fully motivate myself to obtain said “cheese”. There were many reasons for this, but in the end, it all came down to two things; time and money. That all changed this year. I was finally able to purchase the most coveted of items; a Producer Pass. With this pass, I was able to get in to every event there was, including certain events that were invite-only.

First things first; make peace with the fact that you are not going to see every single film in the entire festival. Even if you attend every single press screening, there is absolutely no way that you could possibly see the 180+ film lineup over 10 days. Not only is it impossible, but if you’re not careful, your body may not be able to take the strain.

My advice? First, get a hotel near the theater and plan on staying there the entire time. Your body will thank you. Second, don’t hesitate to take a break. Third, don’t’ forget to eat. You’re going to use up a lot of energy going back and forth from the Enzian & Winter Park Village, so be sure to plan ahead for snacking.

Most of my time throughout the festival was spent hopping from film to film, or from film to event I attended the Producer Pass Holder exclusive Programmer’s Luncheon in March. Matthew Curtis, the Programming Director, went over the entire program long before it was announced to the public. The festival had not even started, and I was already way ahead of the curve.

There was also another luncheon hosted by Programming Coordinator Tim Anderson, so if you weren’t able to attend the one with Matthew Curtis, you could still get an idea of what to expect from this year’s selection of films. A number of pre-festival press screenings were made available to the higher level pass holders, so I was able to knock out whatever films Enzian happened to screen on that day.

The press screenings, as it turned out, were arguably one of the best parts of the festival. This is because you have a healthy mix of press members and regular people who wanted to see movies. The films were always shown on time, which was something that did not happen during the festival. Some of my favorite moments were just relaxing at the Eden Bar and chatting about the films we just watched. I will not attempt to review every film I saw, but I will highlight certain films that are worth your time, as well as those that are NOT worth your time. However, the question remains; is paying for the most expensive pass available for a 10-day film festival really worth it? This is a question that I intended to answer for myself.

DAY 1: “Let’s Dance”

  The Opening Night Film was a movie called The Lobster. Henry Maldonado, President of Enzian Theater, was on hand to introduce the film, as well as declare that the festival had officially begun. Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs was also in attendance. She made a proclamation that April 8, 2016 was to be “Florida Film Festival Day”.

The Lobster

The Lobster

  The Lobster (the Opening Night Film of the festival) is one half of a great film, and one half of an OK film. The premise alone is so compelling, that you will remained engaged with the movie throughout its entire runtime. However, once you start to think about the film and discuss it with others, the movie falls apart like wet tissue paper.

The party that took place immediately after was awesome, with tasty treats being served all night, and a live band playing inside the theater. The party ended with the patrons of Eden Bar dancing to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, and it was absolutely hilarious.

DAY 2: “Under Pressure”

  The Festival Block Party, which took place at Winter Park Village, was essentially a toned down version of the previous night’s festivities. The shorts showing on this day were very strong, both those that were screened before feature-length films, and the multiple shorts programs spread out throughout the festival.

King Georges FFF

King Georges is a documentary about a French chef so abrasive, he would make Gordon Ramsay blush. Hunky Dory is a film that I enjoyed quite a bit, but I wish more people saw. I cannot speak to the film’s 2nd screening, but the one I attended had so few people in attendance, that I wondered if it was due to the film’s story (about a bisexual drag queen taking care of his young son). Of the two main shorts programs screening that day, I thought that Shorts #2 provided the much stronger crop of shorts, with Black Swell & Other People’s People being the standouts.
Speaking of shorts, the Midnight Shorts were playing that night. The Midnight Shorts have always been a favorite among festival goers, and this year was no exception. The great thing about the Producer Pass is that if you arrive early enough (usually around 30 minutes or so), you’re guaranteed a seat inside the heater, even if tickets for that film are sold out. So if you going to the Midnight Shorts and they’re sold out, all you have to do is get there early, show the volunteer your badge, and find your seat. No fuss, no muss.

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Q&A post German Shorts. #FFF2016 #CentralFLTop5

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After a brief introduction by Tim Anderson, a huge advocate for the Midnight Shorts, we were treated to some of the most vile, disgusting, and downright insane short films that I’ve seen in a long time. This is not something that I can accurately describe to you; you literally had to see it in order to believe it.

                        DAY 3: “Rebel Rebel”

This was the first of two Sunday Brunches that took place during the festival. The food was amazing; pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, and a whole lot more were being served. I’ve never eaten so well in all of my life. I wish I ate like this all the time. It was on this day that I hit a snag in regards to my Producer status.

I attended the “An Evening with Mark Duplass”, featuring a screening of The Puffy Chair and Q&A. Everything with off without a hitch: I arrived early, got a really good seat, and enjoyed my time there. I wanted to attend the meet and greet that was to take place after the festival, but I was denied entry. My producer pass was not enough to attend the meet and greet. My name wasn’t on a list, and I am certain that there was a list.

It turns out that in order to attend the meet and greet, you had to purchase a “backstage pass”, something that I was not aware of until of course it was too late. The backstage pass ticket was something that was not available when tickets were initially available. The fact that a pass holder like myself would have to pay $150 on top of the $1,500 that I paid for Producer status is absurd. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did make fir a bittersweet end to the day.

             DAY 4: “Never Let Me Down”

 This was the first of two days in which the festival activities started later than usual. Considering that there are so many films programmed into the festival, it seemed strange that no films were shown during the day. The first film did not screen until 4:15pm, which was awkward given how early the programs from the past two days had started.

I only saw three films that day, one of which was a block of German short films affectionately titled “Let’s Deutsche”, named after the late David Bowie’s song “Let’s Dance”. Of the 6 that were screened, only 3 of them managed to catch my attention: 90 Degrees North, Dissonance & Pitter Patter Goes My Heart. I had a huge issue with the subtitles for Hausbesuche (Visiting), as the film suffered from extremely poor subtitles, complete with misspelled words & poor grammar.

Man VS Snake FFF

 Man vs. Snake was a film that I had viewed during the press screening, but I had decided to watch a 2nd time, if for no other reason than to see how it played in front of a larger crowd. It played very well, and as long as you don’t go into the film expecting The King of Kong 2, you will have a great time.

                    DAY 5: “China Girl”

Another late start. By the fifth day people were starting to recognize me. I had moved back and forth between the Enzian & Regal Winter Park, so I was easily recognized by most of the volunteers & staff. I have it admit it was a great feeling. There were even people who had bought the Film Lover pass that allowed me to get in front of them. Those were some genuinely amusing moments. I have volunteered in the past for the Florida Film Festival, so I know what these individuals have to go through just to make sure that things run smoothly over the course of 10 days.

Unfortunately, due to the short day, I only saw 2 films; Louder Than Bombs, & Newman. Other than Pickle, the short documentary that preceded Newman, I was not impressed by any of them, even in the slightest. Newman has a fascinating subject at its core, but it suffers from way too much secondhand information from people who may or have not known things that either the filmmakers couldn’t get access to, or were unable to get certain people to talk. The final 10 minutes are worth checking out, but it is a bit of a slog to get there. Louder Than Bombs has some excellent performances, but the 21 Grams out-of-order type of storytelling keeps you from fully engaging on an emotional level. A disappointing day all around.

                    DAY 6: “Life on Mars?”

After the excellent “Perseverance: Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves” panel ended, it was time to check out the documentary Left On Purpose. Without spoiling anything, I believe that you should see this film knowing as little about it as possible, as the film presents a major moral dilemma/conflict of interest that I feel is best experienced untainted by other people’s opinions.

Every short in the Animated Shorts was excellent, some of which were on par with the quality of the live-action shorts.

I finished the evening with Slash, the new film from director Clay Liford. Despite the unconventional nature of the story of the film being told in a very conventional way, Slash ended up being one of my favorite films of the festival.

             DAY 7: ”We Could Be Heroes”

We were in for a treat for today’s festivities; not only were Billy Mitchell & Walter Day, who were featured the “King of Kong”, going to be in attendance for the ‘Man vs. Snake’ documentary’s 2nd screening, but the NIBBLER* arcade game (one of only 2 available in the state of Florida) would be available to play at the festival. I missed the Q&A with Billy & Walter in order to watch the mature-rated Shorts #4 program, which I regret. None of the shorts were particularly memorable in my mind, and only one of the shorts (Bad At Dancing) contained some form of nudity, but people actually consume this kind of adult content, and other adult services like MILF phone sex which you can find online.People also love telefonsex chat Services as well.

I enjoyed my time at the Filmmaker Party, although I found it hilarious that I kept getting mistaken for a film producer. I was confused as to why it took place in Longwood (which was a 15 minute drive from the Enzian), and not somewhere in the Winter Park/Maitland area. Why was there no shuttle? It was clear that some filmmakers were missing the party in order to do Q&A’s, so I feel that some adjustments need to be made in the future so that filmmakers will be able to do both.

Later that night, I attended the Secret Screening. It was for a film called The Greasy Strangler, which had its world premiere at South by Southwest. It was interesting to note that most of the crowd was made up of Full Sail students. My first thought was; is this some type of twisted homework assignment?

Having said that, I wish I could say that I enjoyed The Greasy Strangler, but I can’t. The gross out humor in this fim is so unnecesarily pervasive that it wears out it welcome LONG before the credits roll. If you are interested at all in checking out this film, I would suggest getting a large group of friends together and riff on it MST3K-style. Otherwise, do not waste your time.

*And now, a moment of silence for all those quarters that were sacrificed to the NIBBLER machine…

DAY 8: “Starman”

  I was impressed with the selection of documentary films this year. From Man vs. Snake & Newman, to Presenting Princess Shaw, there were certainly a very diverse group of individuals being profiled. The standout for me was without a doubt the ‘fictumentary’ The Other Kids. Directed by Chris Brown, the documentary is framed more like a narrative; there are no talking head interviews, no narration over certain scenes, or the like. This matter-of-fact approach to storytelling is, while not a new approach by any means, still made for very compelling cinema, since there are many
I was able to, for the first time ever, attend an annual event known as the “Founder’s Dinner”. This dinner is not advertised in the program, except for a little blurb that I saw when I purchased the pass. The only way to get an invite is if you buy a Producer pass. I mingled with guests that I never thought I would mingle with, while enjoying the catered dinner from Black Bean Deli.

About an hour into our time there, Sissy Spacek arrived. She shook hands and introduced herself. I went to shake her hand, but was denied by one of her handlers. While I can’t say that I shook Sissy Spacek’s hand, I can say that I ALMOST shook her hand.

I made my way back to the theater, but by that time the “An Evening With…” had already begun. I made a tough decision to not attend the evening with, and instead I made a brief appearance at the Copper Rocket Pub for the Industry Party. As much as I would’ve liked to have hung out for longer than I did, my true intention was to just kill time until the next film screening; a documentary called Danny Says. I would come to find out that the Sissy Spacek Q&A was cut short, although there are many rumors as to why.

  In Search of the Ultra-Sex (AKA What’s Up, Tiger Lily? as directed by Tinto Brass) was the final film I saw that night. The film was preceded by a gleeful introduction by Tim Anderson, who told a amusing story about the printing of the photo that is featured with the description of the film, apparently they used the Spiral Bound Booklet Printing services from printstarnow.com.

I remember 6 people walked over the course of the screening. I wonder to this day what those 6 people were expecting from a movie made up of over 2,000 clips from French porn movies, since there are many sexual content online from videos to sexual services as Mature Phone Sex which is great for people looking for someone to talk about sex online. I mean, what did you think you were going to see? Or you might want to have a therapy because of porn addiction, go to pornaddiction.co.uk.

                    DAY 9: “Space Oddity”

Wrestling Alligators made its world premier. James Billie, the subject off the film, received a standing ovation. I had to cut down on the number of films so that I could be at the Awards Bash on time.

Wrestling Alligators FFF

One hour and a truckload of pasta later, the Awards Show had begun. I loved the energy of the hostess. As for the awards themselves, I only had an issue with one film in particular, but I was glad that the filmmaker was recognized for their hard work. Like with most awards shows in general, sometimes a film that is the most popular with audiences doesn’t always win, but you’re happy that the filmmakers were recognized for all of their hard work.

Chris Brown breaking down in tears when he won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature is a sobering reminder of the time and effort that filmmakers like him put into their projects, and an award provides recognition of that hard work. The awards ceremony needs a few more awards so that more filmmakers like Chris can be rewarded. Lo & Behold, High Rise, & Belladonna of Sadness are all films that I’d consider to be polarizing, but I still would reccomend that you check them out.

                       DAY 10: “Blackstar”

This was the last day of the festival, and boy, was it a bittersweet one. I got up bright and early to take full advantage of the second Sunday Brunch. This time, I took seconds, thirds, and fourths! It’s safe to say that I ate like a pig that day, which is ironic given all the bacon and sausage that was being served. After I finished eating, I headed over to Regal Winter Park, where I stayed for the rest of the day.

I managed to check out Tickled, a film that I heard buzz about even before the festival had started. Tickled was a film that…is both what I expected and not what I expected, and that is all I will say about it. The final film I watched was the Raiders! documentary. A group of young kids spent most of their childhood filming a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark with hilarious results. Except for one harrowing incident involving explosives, the film had a wonderfully upbeat tone, and was a great way to end what was a very stressful week and a half.

So the question remains; is the Producer pass worth surgically removing $1,500 from your wallet? I would have to say yes, I’d highly recommend the Producer pass.

If you’re not going to any of the parties/special events and just wanted to check out the films, then I’d recommend the Film Lover badge. The main issue that I have with buying a pass (aside from a VERY disappointing “swag bag”) is that there’s no added value of being a pass holder other than during the festival. $1500 dollars is a lot to ask someone up front, especially when you don’t know what the movies are. There should be some sort of incentive for paying such an extravagant amount.

For instance, if you purchase the VIP pass for the upcoming 2016 MegaCon Convention, you’ll have first crack at buying VIP passes for the 2017 MegaCon. It may not sound like much, but what the organizers of the event are banking on is the fact that if you’re willing to pay $400 for VIP access this year, then it stands to reason that you’ll want to pay for it next year as well.

There was also a VIP pass, but this was not available for purchase. I only met one person who had this pass, but how did they obtain it? There weren’t any VIP’s standing in line to see movies, so was this only for special events? There should be a little more transparency involved when it comes to things of this nature.

One suggestion I have for this particular issue is to offer a discount for next year’s festival. As it stands now, if you purchase the Producer Pass, $500 of that $1,500 goes to Enzian as a tax-deductible donation, whereas discounts for passes are only offered to those who purchase either the ‘Film Lover’ or the ‘Ten Day’ passes.

While is a good thing that Enzian is receiving a donation from you, outside from all of the perks it offers in the short term, you’re still paying $1,500 for what is essentially a $1,000 pass. With a $500 donation, why not offer those who purchase a Producer pass a membership to the Enzian Film Society? The benefits that come with being a Film Society Member last all year round, which would be an enticing offer for someone willing to spend that kind of money.

Now, remember at the beginning of this article when I compared the Florida Film Festival to a giant maze, and that I was the rat? Well, after so much time watching movies and spending so much with old friends (as well as making new ones) dissecting them, all in the service of attending a film festival, I came to this realization; that it’s NOT like a rat in a maze. I’m NOT the mouse trying to get the cheese. I’m an adrenaline junkie. A user whose drug of choice happens to be film. I get a contact high from chatting with other movie lovers, filmmakers, critics. For someone like myself, The Florida Film Festival is the mountain of cocaine that Al Pacino buries head in during the movie Scarface. When it’s over, you really miss that. Those ten days, more than any other time of the year, really drive home the motto of the Enzian; Film. Food. Friends.
I’d like to take this opportunity to break the 4th wall, a lá Deadpool; I don’t know how to end the article. You see…one of the hardest things about being a writer is coming up with a satisfying ending. Originally, I was going to end it with the whole “…Film. Food. Friends.” tag, but it just seemed so…expected.

My story is still being told, and it will be told again at the 2017 Florida Film Festival. How do I, the main character of this tale, leave my audience with a sense of satisfaction for joining me on this journey? The answer: I’ll just take a page out of the Deadpool playbook, and end the article referencing the final scene of a John Hughes film;

Dear Florida Film Festival,

I accept the fact that I had to sacrifice ten days of my life in Maitland for whatever movies that I wanted to watch. But I think you’re crazy to make me write an article telling you who I think you are. You see me as you want to see all of us: in the simplest terms and in the most convenient definitions…. But what we found out is that each one of us is a Producer. And a Film Lover. And a Filmmaker. An Aficionado. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club Christopher Collins

Charity leaders ring in 2016 with high hopes

The slowly recovering economy helped Central Florida’s charities and nonprofit groups provide better services to those in need in 2015. Some causes – like finding shelter for homeless veterans – scored significant gains.

But the number of people who can’t afford adequate clothing, food, shelter and safety overall is still increasing, while charitable giving and volunteering remain in a slump.

We asked a handful of key players in the public/nonprofit sector what the Central Florida giving community should focus on in 2016.

Be Prepared

“Even after the lessons learned from the 2007 recession, many surviving nonprofit organizations are still not advancing the development of a ‘rainy-day’ fund. The benefits of a contingency reserve are obvious with an emphasis on the fact that current and potential contributed income funders are more likely to look favorably on this best practice behavior. With the topsy-turvy global economy, it just makes sense to prepare and avoid financial upheaval. Make it a top strategic goal for 2016.”
— Bob Kovacevich, president, Avatar Company, a nonprofit-sector research, planning and fundraising consultancy (www.Facebook.com/Avatarway).

Support the Arts

“We at Enzian, to paraphrase a movie line, always depend on the kindness of strangers, and after they visit us, they become very dear friends. It is through the generosity of friends that our community continues to has the courage to aspire to great things. And with friends like that, we can do anything. I expect nothing less in 2016.”
— Henry Maldonado, President at Enzian Theater, Maitland.

Agency & Client Collaboration

“I hope for continued collaboration among agencies to maximize benefits to people in need. There is great work being done to organize resources for comprehensive solutions to the community. I also hope agencies continue encouraging clients to participate in their own wellness. And I hope funders increase support for existing programs — not just for new programs to be developed.
— Vickie Martin, Executive Director, Christian HELP Foundation, devoted to preventing homelessness by helping the unemployed find jobs.

Time & Talent

“I hope that 2016 will provide Central Florida with breakthrough philanthropic leadership in recruiting and deploying volunteers. Orlando was recently ranked 46 out 51 large metropolitan areas in the United States in terms of volunteerism. Volunteers are the “civic soul” of any great community. We need to do better in 2016!
— David A. Odahowski, President and CEO at Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation

Build on Momentum

“I am extremely proud to say Central Florida is leading the state in solving homelessness. The first hurdle is public awareness and empathy. I have watched our community transform from arresting and vilifying people to being empathetic and solving the problem. My hope is we continue our momentum and become the epicenter of change in Florida. ”
— Thomas Francis Rebman (homeless-hungry.org)

Focus on the Good

“Continue the great work so many charities do. I don’t think we concentrate enough on all the positive things happening in our community. We are close to finding housing for all homeless veterans, which was a huge push for the City of Orlando last year. There are many charities, too many to mention, that help children. We are a giving community in Orlando.
— Patty Sheehan, Commissioner, District 4, Orlando (facebook.com/patty.sheehan.52)

Teamwork & Cooperation

“I hope that we continue on the course of highly engaged civic and government leaders collaborating on significant social issues facing our community, such as homelessness and domestic violence. We’ve made such progress over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to it increasing.”
— Carol Wick, Chief Executive Officer at Harbor House of Central Florida

End 2015 and start 2016 on a generous note

We can all agree that 2015 has been memorable for one reason or another. With only a few hours left of 2015, we wanted to reflect on the past, present, and look toward the future.

For the past six years, we at Central Florida Top 5 have been extraordinarily humbled to partner with and support many local area charities and non-profit organizations. Many of them you will see listed below. We encourage you to support your local community in whatever way you can; some have money to spare, some have resources or even a little bit of time. Any and all help is needed and appreciated.

If you have done your part in 2015, good on you! Our friends at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida share with us their Top 5 Year End Charitable Giving Tax Tips:

  1. Double-check eligibility. You’ll only receive a deduction for organizations that are qualified to receive deductible donations.
  2. Do your research. To make sure your giving is as efficient, ethical, and effective as possible, check up on charities.
  3. Keep records. Get a receipt for all monetary donations, not just for contributions of $250 or more.
  4. You can supercharge the tax benefits of your generosity by donating appreciated stock or property rather than cash. On the other hand, if you’re looking for top-notch property management services for both rental owners and tenants, click here.
  5. Don’t miss the deadline. Your 2015 year-end gift needs to be postmarked by December 31 or made online by 11:59pm.
Remember to check with a tax professional first. Everyone’s tax reporting is different, and a professional may have more tips and pointers for you. 

Have you ever heard of the website CharityNavigator.org? CN are a charity all their own based in the United States. They help giving people of all kinds (like you!) find and support great charities and organizations by rating them with an overall score and 5-star system. Their evaluations take into account Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency, and will also eventually factor in Results Reporting. Charities they grade include public, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) charities who need support from individuals and file an IRS Form 990. It’s also worth mentioning, Charity Navigator has a fantastic section featuring Tips For Giving In Times Of Crisis.

Guidestar is another nonprofit, providing up-to-date data and is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.

While double and sometimes tripling your donation at the end of the year is always a great thing, charitable organizations and non-profits need your help year-round to keep their doors and hearts open to those who need their services. Below are a small few of the MANY great local and national organizations we like and have supported over the last six years. Some have even personally helped our Top 5 Team and our families. (In alphabetical order);

Local Charities:

A Gift For Teaching: We are Central Florida’s primary provider of FREE school supplies to teachers for their students in need. With a gift of just $50, we can provide a classroom with supplies for every child.  Even better, any gift made in December will be DOUBLED, thanks to the generosity of several local foundations; The Galloway Foundation, the Mary Palmer Family Foundation, Harriett’s Charitable Trust, and The Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation, Inc. Donations doubled before midnight December 31st!

A Gift For Music: Using a combination of after school, in-school, weekend and summer programming, AGFM has one of the most comprehensive string music education programs in the state of Florida, tuition-free. A Gift For Music faculty members work with elementary students in six Title 1, low-income schools, teaching them the basics of playing a string instrument while empowering them to explore their creativity, grow their self-confidence and embrace teamwork. Donations also doubled before midnight December 31st!

Albin Polasek Museum, Sculpture Gardens and Capen House: The Polasek is a 501(c)3 public charity whose budget is funded by donations, admissions and memberships. Your contribution is a meaningful investment in an important piece of history, community and natural beauty, such as Penny Stocks. You can support The Polasek with a tax-deductible donation in one of the following areas: Grant Match, General Operating Support, Preservation and Conservation, Gardens, Exhibitions and/or education. Click here to support!

Bike/Walk Central Florida: Promotes walkable and bikeable communities through raising public awareness and advocating for safe, active transportation, and recreation by educating walkers, cyclists, motorists and transit riders about Florida’s road laws, their rights, responsibilities, and courteous behaviors, supporting transportation corridor planning and design using Complete Streets principles, encouraging the development and maintenance of trails throughout Florida and promoting a built environment that supports physical, environmental and economic health, provides for safe transportation choices, and encourages interaction among citizens of all ages, incomes and abilities. Donate here.

Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum: The mission of the Friends of Casa Feliz – to protect, operate and maintain the integrity of the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum and its collections; to educate the public on the life and legacy of noted architect James Gamble Rogers II; and to engage the public through education and advocacy for the purpose of preserving and promoting the community’s rich architectural, historic and cultural heritage – is timelier now than it ever has been.  As a historic home museum, Casa Feliz stands as a beacon to historic preservation in Central Florida. We celebrate the legacy of architect Gamble Rogers (1901-1990), designer of Casa Feliz, now a home museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Donate here.

Central Florida Community Arts: CFCArts exists to enrich our community’s quality of life by making the arts accessible and affordable for all. They provide an inclusive and welcoming creative platform where individuals can connect by joining an artistic family, perform for audiences across the socioeconomic spectrum, and use their talents to serve the community. Shine on, CFArts! Donate here!

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida: Say goodbye to 2015 with a final act of kindness and compassion. There is no better way to end one year and begin another than by making a gift that can change lives. Before the clock strikes midnight, make an easy online donation.

Cocktails & Chemo: The Cocktails and Chemo Foundation’s mission is to create a support network for the often forgotten caregivers of cancer patients by providing one-of-a-kind care packages. The Foundation is focused on making the caregivers feel loved, special and most importantly… not alone. Thanks to the generosity of Xander Blue 8 in Dr. Phillips, C & C hosted a Stay Glam event where 18 caregivers got to relax a little and were pampered for a few hours. I was one of them. Please help them help local caregivers by supporting them with whatever you’ve got here.

Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach: With a mission to extend their hands and hearts to support those needing help by improving the quality of life for them and their families, CHHBCO has provided financial and in-kind services to more than 200 patients in the Central Florida area. 100% of their donations go directly to local breast cancer patients and their families. My family was one of them, and we will be forever grateful to founder Vanessa Echols and her volunteers! Extend a heart and hand to donate here.

Crealdé School of Art: For the Louvre of Loos! Making a donation to Crealdé will help this 40 year old school in Winter Park build new bathrooms! So far they have received $7,925 from planet maids cleaning service, and are very close to reaching their $10,000 goal. Help them make their renovation goal by clicking here.

If you need quality pressure cleaning services to Fort Myers, FL and surrounding areas. Visit home cleaning naples fl, we’re ready to meet your house cleaning needs!

Enzian Theater: Serving 110,000 annually with over 1,100 events, including 5 film festivals, community collaborations, and free public programs, Enzian Theater’s big wish is to expand to three screens. Having already updated the theater itself with new seating, carpeting and more, having two more screens will allow for more curated, educational programs for arts organizations, schools and social partners. With this expansion – a new kitchen! Click here to donate to the Enzian Forever Campaign.

Give Kids the World: Over 140,000 children have had their dream come true at Give Kids The World. No child in need has ever been turned away – and no child ever will. Give Kids The World is a place where families find joy, laughter, serenity, and a lifetime of memories. Through the tireless support of our volunteers, employees and generous partners, we dedicate each and every day to these special families. Donations of all kinds are welcomed year-round!

Harbor House of Central Florida: Harbor House empowers domestic abuse survivors to take control of their lives – rediscovering safety and self-esteem. Offering a 24-hour crisis hotline, shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and other services to literally thousands of people. Harbor House seeks to eliminate domestic abuse in Central Florida by providing safety, shelter, empowerment, education and justice. Help Harbor House help neighbors in need here.

Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation: Founded in 2007 by Robin Maynard in memory of her mom, Libby’s Legacy provides comprehensive breast health care to the underserved Central Florida community through education, mammograms, follow up diagnostics and Hope Coaches on the journey from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Libby’s Legacy also helps stage IV breast cancer patients battling by granting wishes in order to create cherished memories with loved ones through the LIVE BIG program. Their annual events mobility scooters 4 Hooters and Ellen’s Walk With the Angels in the Spring are not to be missed! Click here to donate.

Mad Cow Theatre: This magical chance to be part of our first ever Cowathon and double the impact of your gift ends at midnight tonight! Please consider a gift to Mad Cow Theatre to help us start the new year off strong. There’s another wonderful year of outstanding plays ahead! Every donation received by midnight tonight will be 100% matched up to $50,000 thanks to a wonderful, anonymous donor. Click here to give!

Osceola Council on Aging: Created in 1971, the Osceola Council on Aging, Inc. is the largest social services organization in Osceola County, providing a wide array of services and programs to meet the needs of our community. Though the name implies services for just the elderly, our scope of services extend to families as well, helping during crisis to enable generations of residents to cope with challenges. Give the gift of independence here.

Orlando Science Center: OSC turned 60 in 2015! Parents, increasingly in households where all caregivers hold full time jobs, need a place for quality time with their children, to reinforce good educational habits. Your generous donation helps support programs like Orlando Science Center’s Science for All Fund, which provides scholarships for camps, field trips, and family memberships to those in our community facing financial need. Click here to donate.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida: Through the generosity of the community, Second Harvest are driven to close the gap of unmet need in Central Florida in a variety of effective ways. Their core program of distributing tens of millions of meals per year for the clients of more than 550 local nonprofit feeding programs continues to have a growing impact. Click here to Feed Hope Now. 96.9% of your donation goes directly to feeding people in our area.

National Charities:

American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: On a personal note, I had to mention the American Cancer Society. This year has been a very tough one for my family personally, as well as for our Central Florida Top 5 family. The amount of support ACS has provided to my mom in the last year alone – at no cost – is immeasurable. Donation & volunteer information is here.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: IAVA provides valuable resources and empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community. Through education, advocacy and community building, we strive to create a country which honors and supports veterans of all generations. They are the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. They don’t just support veterans, IAVA empowers them! Connect & donate here.

Sunshine Foundation: A Philadelphia Police Officer took out a boat loans and started the Sunshine Foundation to help dreams come true for young children. 37 years later, the Foundation has opened chapters in Central Florida (Davenport), Cocoa, and all across the United States! Their sole purpose is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children ages three to eighteen, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to financial strain that the child’s illness may cause. 80% of every dollar is applied to programs serving children. Help check off their National Waiting List here.

UNICEFUSA.org: Every donation will be matched – $2-for-$1 for a $1,525,000 match – to make TRIPLE the impact for children in need. Make your 100% tax-deductible gift now and it will help provide children with desperately needed water, food, and medical supplies. Of every dollar spent, 90.2 cents goes toward helping children. Triple your impact HERE.

20 New Items on the Enzian & Eden Bar Menu

Enzian and Eden Bar have added twenty new food items to their existing menus, and as long as there are still truffle fries to be had, we’re supportive and pumped to try the new dishes.

“We are excited to provide new food items for our guests and the new items offer a broad range of delicious and affordable dishes,” said Veronica Jaramillo, Food & Beverage Manager. “We always aim to locally source our ingredients and make everything in-house, which is what we’ve done with these new items.”

So, head over to the Enzian to see “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” then check their calendar and pencil a few more films into your schedule (“The Human Centipede III,” anyone!? Maybe “Annie” is more your speed…), then make a few dates to meet at Eden Bar so you can try all of the new offerings. Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, main courses and desserts are all getting an update.

We’ve got the scoop on all of the new items for you, so you can plan ahead. Read our notes on the local italian restaurants – 93711. It’s hard to decide what to eat under the pressure of the lights dimming in the theatre. Enjoy!


Pickled Beet Hummus

Pickled Beet Hummus

Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzels – Served with spicy mustard and raspberry sauce (or nacho cheese sauce for a little extra)

Pickled Beet Hummus  – Topped with bleu cheese crumbles & pine nuts, served with pita

Fried Oysters – Breaded and fried served with sweet and spicy sauce, tartar sauce, and hot sauce



Turkey Artichoke Salad – Spring mix, sliced turkey, pine nuts, black olives, banana peppers, marinated artichokes, smoked gouda, basil, & grape tomatoes, served with oil and red wine vinegar

Beef Taco Salad – Mixed greens, beef chili, black beans, grapes tomatoes, mixed cheese, salsa, & sour cream, served in a crispy tortilla shell

Margarita Shrimp Salad – Mixed greens, margarita shrimp, Monterey jack cheese, grape tomatoes, red onion, & cilantro lime vinaigrette served in a crispy tortilla shell



Turkey Club B.L.T – Sliced turkey, smoked gouda, Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, & pepper mayo served on Texas toast

Pecan Chicken Wrap – Fried chicken, smoked gouda, peach glaze, lettuce, tomatoes

Country Beef – Roast beef, caramelized onions, basil roasted tomatoes, thousand island, & coleslaw, served on a butter roll

Braised Pork and Slaw Sandwich

Jalapeno Tuna Melt – Tuna salad & pepper jack served on jalapeno cheddar bread

Braised Pork & Slaw – Palmetto Creek Farms pork, coleslaw, & BBQ on ciabatta

Oyster & Shrimp Shorty – Fried oysters, & shrimp, lettuce, tomato, & sweet and spicy sauce

Herbivore – Button mushrooms, spinach, red pepper, basil aioli, Swiss, 3-year aged cheddar, & pepper mayo



Antipasto – Banana peppers, black olives, artichoke hearts, red peppers, salami, balsamic glaze, mozzarella, provolone, & marinara

Chicken Bacon Ranch – Marinated chicken, alfredo sauce, ranch dressing, bacon, diced tomatoes, mozzarella, & provolone

Blackened Mahi Tacos – Served on corn tortillas with coleslaw, & avocado, with beans, & rice

Steak Diane – Sliced steak topped with mushroom & onion gravy, served potatoes au gratin and broccoli



Raspberry Beignets

Raspberry Beignets

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich – Peanut butter ice cream served between chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate

White Chocolate Bread Pudding – Served with bourbon cream sauce

Raspberry Beignets – Dusted with powdered sugar, & drizzled with raspberry sauce




Enzian is Central Florida’s only full-time, not-for-profit cinema for first-run independent and international film, classic revivals, documentary features, and select family entertainment. Enzian, a member-supported organization serving the community for more than 30 years, is home to the Florida Film Festival and Eden Bar. For additional information, visit Enzian.org or call general information at (407) 629-1088.

Photos by Andres Casallas

Mother’s Day is in bloom!

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day? Need a few ideas of where to take Mom on her special day? (We at Central Florida Top 5 think Mother’s Day should be celebrated EVERY DAY!) Here are some options…

Mad Cow Theatre‘s Mother’s Day Cabaret Brunch at Ceviche on Church Street and a jazz performance “You Taught My Heart to Sing” by Michelle Mailhot and friends. Brunch will start at 12:30pm, Concert at 2pm. Tickets start at $40 with brunch, $25 without and are available for purchase by calling 407-297-8788 or by visiting orlandocabaret.com

Enzian Theater‘s Mother’s Day Brunch begins at 11am and features live music by guitar virtuosos The Cook Trio, a delicious brunch buffet with carving station, a complimentary mimosa and will conclude with a special screening of Bye Bye Birdie staring Dick Van Dyke and Ann-Margret at noon. Individual film + brunch tickets are $35, children 6-14 are $20. VIP tables are also available: table for two is $110 and a table for four is $220.

Infusion Tea is celebrating by hosting a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea date with spots filling quickly! Seating times are 12pm and a later option at 3pm. The cost is $29 per person and includes bottomless mimosas, scones with cream and jam, finger sandwiches (herbed cream cheese, egg salad, classic cucumber and a sun-dried special), petits fours, freshly baked cookies, gelato for two and a pot of tea. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 407-999-5255.

Does your mom love meat and fresh made-from-scratch sides with a twist? American Q, located inside the fabulous B Resort and Spa at Lake Buena Vista is an excellent choice! Their vintage Flatbed Buffet is tough to beat partnered with the friendly, knowledgable Cowboy Carvers who deliver table side meats so tender, they will fall right off the knife. The baked potato bar is our favorite alongside Q specialities such as; an omelet station, seafood pot station, take home mason jars, hot and cold sides and more. You can also enter to win prizes including: a B Resort Hotel Staycation, an afternoon at the B Resort Spa and Dinner for 4 at American Q! Prices start at $44.95 for adults, $24.95 for moms and $10 for children 7 chickens high and under!

Pollo Tropical has a “Mommy & Me” meal offering. Two can dine for $9.99, dine-in or take out. This includes: two entree choices of a small Create Your Own TropiChop or Quarter Chicken meal with rice and beans, choice of regular sized yuca sticks, sweet plantains and two regular fountain drinks. Text MOM2015 to 52198 for offer.

FITTPALOOZA5K™ is offering a special Mother’s Day discount on their family run/walk fitness challenge (benefiting the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation) on September 13th. When registering use the code MD5OFF for $5.00 off this weekend only.

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra is hosting a Season Finale Concert to celebrate their 2014-2015 season at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center at 4pm. A silent auction filled with some great Mother’s Day getaways may make great presents! Auction items include: a Mountain Retreat (6 night stay at a modern cabin in the mountains of western Virginia where you can hike, backpack, camp, fly fish and more), a Disney Adventure (a gift basket with Disney merchandise and four 1-day Park Hopper passes allowing guests to experience all four Disney parks), Four Orlando City Soccer Club indoor/outdoor premium Suite Seats for one game (Package #1: Orlando City v. Columbus Crew, Orlando City v. FC Dallas or Orlando City v. NY Red Bulls OR Package #2 Orlando City v. Columbus Crew, Orlando City v. Philadelphia Union or Orlando City v. Chicago Fire) Single tickets range from $8-$16, series subscription from $28-$57 and can be purchased though fsyo.org or by calling 407-999-7800.

For those in need of more (we’re talking MANY more) options across Central Florida, OpenTable.com wants to help you take Mom out for a special brunch, lunch or dinner. Heck, you can make reservations for all three! Your mom deserves it!

From all of us here at Central Florida Top 5, we wish you and yours a Happy Mother’s Day!


Florida Film Festival 2015: Film in Florida Panel

For local film buffs Florida Film Festival is the place to go for Film, Food, and Friends but it is so much more than that. There is this amazing communal culture to the festival as well. It is also a time of year where you can also indulge in several open discussions about the various aspects of the industry, both locally and as a whole. In fact, Enzian Theater itself is a place where you can meet with like-minded folk and have a healthy conversation about all things cinema.

At the Florida Film Festival panels, which are free and open to the public, you can walk away with some solid knowledge regardless of whether your involvement is as a casual viewer, full-blown cinephile, or even as a filmmaker. So without burying the lede too terribly, these takeaways merely scratch the surface of what was discussed during this panel. For more, we’ve included the entire discussion via OrlandoLIVE here:

The first and foremost of this year’s Florida Film Festival discussions was the Film in Florida panel, which focused on the importance of the Florida film community and the value of bringing in more production from outside of state. Here are my Top 5 takeaways from this panel:

“As a film community, I think it’s our responsibility, over all, to try and find solutions to bringing and keeping production here. We have great crews, amazing facilities and a supportive community.”
– Kim Dawson, Producer

“Within our region (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County) we have duplicated six of the seven continents. You can really film almost any project here. You dream it and we have it, essentially.”
– Lindsey Fuller, Associate Director Film & Digital Media Orlando Economic Development Commission

“The truth of the matter is: the existing program, that has no tax credits left, will benefit 342 projects before it’s all said and done. There’s thousands of projects that go on every year, with or without the incentives program. The notion that if the bill isn’t passed and we don’t have an incentive program; that the industry in Florida is dead, is false.”
– John Lux, IDEAS Orlando

If you’re not a friends of Film Florida, on Facebook, you should be. Because as these votes come up, they’re putting out information on their Facebook page. Along with their website, they provide easy line to the chamber of commerce. Also: Free Stickers.
– Katie Waters, Script Supervisor

Where can film students and filmmakers meet people to work with? Florida Film Festival, any of the FilmSlam, Brouhaha, Enzian events, local film festivals, go to that stuff, talk to people, meet them. If you have things you’re working on that you’re excited about; they might be interested in it. Tell them about it. You’ll probably tell a lot of people who won’t care, but eventually someone will care and check out your stuff. Just meet people.
– Jason Kupfer, Filmmaker

Top 5 | Anticipated Short Films at Florida Film Festival 2015

Have you seen this year’s Florida Film Festival trailer by Academy Award Nominee (and longtime friend of the fest) Bill Plympton? Next time you stop by, make sure to wish a very Happy 30th Birthday to the staff at Enzian Theater!


This is our list of our Top 5 Anticipated Shorts.  You can find our list of  Top 5 Anticipated Features here!




Blood Below the Skin

We see the lives of three teenage girls who, despite being in different high school circles, form a special bond after an unexpected event.  It explores the secret lives and true selves behind their bedroom walls.

You can find times and tickets for Shorts Program 4: Wake Up Little Susie here!



Dolphin Lover

In the 1970s Malcolm Brenner met Dolly the dolphin at an amusement park in Florida.  The two would go on to have a sexual and, according to him, consensual relationship. Only in Florida. (Warning: While this film is Not Rated, it is probably not one meant for younger viewers.)

You can find times and tickets for the 8X Very, Very Real shorts program here!



Midnight Shorts

This might seem like a cop-out but I’m putting the entire Midnight Shorts program, all 17 of them, on this list. Every year this program is certain to be a rowdy party with some of the most sick, twisted, and deranged shorts of the festival.  If you’re looking to awkwardly laugh, be disgusted, and most certainly offended, this is where you’ll want to be. (Warning: This program is NOT for the faint at heart!)

You can find times and tickets for the Midnight Shorts program here!



Myrna the Monster

FFF alumni Ian Samuels, writer/director of 2013’s Caterwaul, returns with the story of Myrna.  She’s an alien from he moon trying to make her way through life in LA, with punk legend Kathleen Hanna providing the voice.

You can find times and tickets for Shorts Program 3: When Will I Be Loved here!




Rory Uphold, FFF alum and creator of the popular web series OnlyinHelLA, returns with her follow up to Safety (2012).  Her character Andy is back, but this time we see her on a first date that’s quickly fumbled but has an awkward sense of humor.

You can find times and tickets for Shorts Program 2: Bye Bye Love here!

Top 5 | Anticipated Feature Films at Florida Film Festival 2015

There are over 170 films playing at this year’s Florida Film Festival! Have you seen this year’s trailer by Academy Award Nominee (and longtime friend of the fest) Bill Plympton? Check it out!


Below is our list of our Top 5 anticipated features. Our list of Top 5 anticipated shorts can be found here!



Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

Having grown up on movies like Animal House and Vacation, I certainly knew National Lampoon by name but beyond it being a parody magazine before my time, I knew little else.  Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead documents the creation, rise, and fall of an empire that would live on longer after it was gone.  The film explores not only the brilliant writers of the magazine, but it’s partnership with some of the biggest names in comedy during the early parts of their careers, including Bill Murray and John Belushi.

For more information on Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead including times and ticket purchases, click here.



The Editor

Astron-6 is a Canadian production company known for making homages to exploitation films of the past and blending it with their own style of comedy.  Their newest film, The Editoris a love letter to Italian giallo films of the 70’s, which were a blend of murder mystery and horror whose style is unmistakable.  Not only does it celebrate the works of filmmakers like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, it also pokes fun at some of their conventions.  As a long-time horror fan, this instantly shot to the top of my must-see list for the festival’s Midnight Movies. The film follows Rey Ciso, a famous editor who ends up as the prime suspect in a series of murders surrounding the newest film he’s working on.

For more information on The Editor including times and ticket purchases, click here.



Her Composition

Joslyn Jensen won the Special Jury Award at the 2011 Florida Film Festival for her performance in Without, my favorite film from that year.  While the film itself was incredibly divisive, everyone seemed to agree that her performance was terrific.  This is the first feature I’ll have the opportunity to see her in since Without and that’s more than enough for me to put it on this list.  From first-time writer/director Stephan Littger, Her Composition tells the story of Malorie (Jensen), an orchestral composition student who, after failing to get a PhD scholarship, ends up visiting high-end escort clients as a means to help pay for school.  Malorie uses the encounters as inspiration of her thesis composition and struggles to hold onto her sanity in the process.

For more information on Her Composition including times and ticket purchases, click here.



Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

The Zellner Brothers are also Florida Film Festival alumni.  Their last film, Kid-Thing, polarized FFF audiences in 2012 and I fell on the “loved it” side.  Their newest film, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, is based on an urban legend about a woman who travels from Tokyo to North Dakota after seeing the movie Fargo. It’s said that she believed the movie was a documentary and that the money buried by Steve Buscemi’s character is real. With that legend as its basis, this dark comedy follows the adventure of Kumiko as she travels across the world in search of the missing money.

For more information on Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter including times and ticket purchases, click here.



When Marnie Was There

When Marnie was There is the newest, and possibly final film from Studio Ghibli.  It’s also the second Ghibli film from Hiromasa Yonebayashi who previously directed The Secret World of Arrietty and has been an animator with the studio since Princess Mononoke.  The film focuses on Anna, a young girl who is sent to the country due to issues with her health, and her new friendship with a mysterious girl named Marnie who lives by the sea.  While the English dubbing may turn off some, GKids has a great record with Ghibli films and has gotten quite a bit of talent for the English cast, including Haillee Steinfeld, John C. Riley, and Kathy Bates.

For more information on When Marnie Was There including times and ticket purchases, click here.

Florida Film Festival 2015 Community Events Announced

FFF 2015

Can you believe it’s been 24 years since the Florida Film Festival debuted at Enzian Theater in Maitland?? The theater itself celebrates it’s 30 year anniversary this year, with plans (now public) to expand to three screens and add up to 130 seats!

Much has changed for the fest and its home over the years. Florida Film Festival has since become an Oscar®-qualifying festival, which brings even more current, independent and international cinema to Central Florida. Enzian has a remodeled theater with more seating options. With the addition of Eden Bar at Florida Film Festival 2007, tasty additions to both the theater and bar menus and comfortable new outdoor furniture, it’s no wonder the Fest goes into the wee hours of the morning! Back in 2011, Central Florida Top 5 even hosted the first ever Florida Film Festival tweetup!

Through ten days of 170 films and first-class events, film lovers mingle with filmmakers and celebrities over hand-crafted cocktails and a delicious menu at Eden Bar and inside the theater… and we can’t wait!

This week Enzian announced a list of community events taking place at the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival (April 10-19, 2015), in Maitland and Winter Park, Florida, with Primary Sponsor Full Sail University and Primary Public Partners Orange County Government and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

The full program announcement happens this Wednesday and will take place during an invite only Film Lineup Luau at Enzian Theater. Central Florida Top 5 will be there, learning about this year’s film selections, live tweeting the deets about this year’s visiting guests and more! We will also be around during the ten days of fest, so if you see any of our contributors (new or seasoned) walking around, please say hello!

ProTip: Individual tickets will go on sale to the public on Saturday, March 21st. 

FFF 2015 ticket annnoucement

This year’s community events include:

All outdoor films are free and open to the public and take place at Enzian Theater, unless otherwise stated.

Monday Night Pitcher Show, featuring (500) DAYS OF SUMMER

Sponsored by Orlando Date Night Guide

Monday, April 13th

Food & drink specials start at 6PM
Film from 8–9:35PM at Eden Bar

Who doesn’t love a good date? Cozy up on a blanket on the lawn for a free screening of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, an offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists and the young man who falls for her.

Popcorn Flicks in Central Park: GIRL HAPPY

Tuesday, April 14th

8–9:40PM at Central Park, Winter Park
251 Park Avenue South, Winter Park, FL 32789

Presenting Sponsor: Full Sail University

Co-sponsored by: City of Winter Park & iHeartMedia

Don’t miss this opportunity to groove under the stars for this special 50thanniversary screening of GIRL HAPPY! Come watch Elvis Presley on the big screen in this killer 1960s flick as he takes to the beaches of Fort Lauderdale during spring break.


Wednesday Night Pitcher Show, featuring DONNIE DARKO

Wednesday, April 15th

Food & drink specials start at 6PM
Film from 8–10PM at Eden Bar

Enzian’s audience was asked to help select this Pitcher Show by answering a question: “What film do you find the most interesting?” And the winner is …drumroll… DONNIE DARKO, the mind-bending cinematic adventure of a troubled suburban teenager who survives a freak accident only to be plagued by doomsday visions guided by a monstrous rabbit called Frank.

Bring a blanket and hang out on the lawn for this free screening. Eden Bar will be serving up your favorite cocktails, so stay after to discuss “interesting” films with fellow cinefiles. Make sure to check out some of the other terrific responses, which will be published in the FFF15 special edition program guide.

Thursday Night Pitcher Show, featuring AMELIE

Thursday, April 16th

Food & drink specials start at 6PM
Film begins at 8PM at Eden Bar

2015 marks Enzian’s 30th Anniversary! Celebrate the occasion with other Enzian fans by enjoying AMELIE for free on the lawn at Eden Bar. This magical romantic comedy from visionary French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is the third of five of his astonishing works that have played at Enzian.


For the cinephiles and filmmakers out there:

All discussions are free and open to the public and take place at Enzian Theater, unless otherwise stated.


Film In Florida

Wednesday, April 15, 11AM-12:30PM at Enzian

Presenting Sponsor: Orlando Film Commission

Co-sponsored by Tampa Hillsborough Film & Digital Media Commission and our friends at Women in Film & Television Florida


From white sandy beaches to brick paved main streets by the Vancouver, BC team, Florida is America’s backlot. The Film in Florida panel is your Everything You Need to Know Guidefor filming in Florida, from locations, to incentives, and everything in between. Learn more about how Florida has the 3rd largest talent pool in the US and how Florida can make the most out of your budget. Florida is more than just a great place to visit with your family… It’s the set of your next film. Sheena Fowler, Director, Film & Digital Media at Orlando Film Commission will moderate, and filmmakers Jason Kupfer and Tighe Arnold (“Invaders”) and Sheri Kebbel (“Dan Behind His Eyes”) will be among those participating.


After the FILM IN FLORIDA discussion, head out to Eden Bar for a mix-and-mingle with industry professionals and fellow filmmakers. This event is free and open to the public.


Florida Film Mixer

Wednesday, April 15, 12:30–1:30PM at Eden Bar


After the Film in Florida discussion, head out to Eden Bar for a mix and mingle with industry professionals and fellow filmmakers.


Making Meaning: Films that Change the World

Thursday, April 16, 11AM-12:30PM at Enzian


Films have a huge impact on our world. They not only impact how we see ourselves, but they can affect the political and cultural landscape. Ultimately, a thoughtfully expressed film can create activism and engender compassion for some of the big issues facing the world. When looking for sprinkler system inver grove heights mn, visit wagnersod.com for more information.

This panel will discuss the many ways that films impact society for better and sometimes worst. Should films simply be about entertaining, or is there a larger responsibility at hand? Are documentary films more accessible than in the past, and what new distribution models allow niche projects to reach a wider audience? What are the issues and opportunities filmmakers encounter when they join forces with organizations? Filmmakers who’ve delved into broad-reaching topics such as gay marriage, Asperger’s syndrome, poverty, citizen’s rights, the environment, and freedom will participate in the discussion. Maylen Dominguez, Program Director of the Film Production Master in Fine Arts at Full Sail University will moderate.

Across the Pond: American Screenwriters, British Madmen

Friday, April 17, 11AM-12:30PM at Enzian


What happens when two writers who happen to teach at the University of Central Florida—one in the film department and one in the English department—end up writing films for two of the most brilliant, visionary, and over-the-top (some might say “crazy”) directors in British film history? Find out as American screenwriters Barry Sandler and Pat Rushin share their experiences working with Ken Russell (The DevilsTommyAltered States) and Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy GrailTime BanditsBrazil) on the films Crimes of Passion(1984) and The Zero Theorem (2013). Both of these iconoclastic English filmmakers are known for their unpredictability, excess, and wild imaginations, and Barry and Pat will unfold the layers of creative collaboration that went into producing such a provocative sexual thriller with Russell and a playfully cerebral work of science fiction with Gilliam, so people who are into sexual material and services like Escorts in Bradford, will definitely enjoy these movies. Moderated by Stephen Schlow, UCF Associate Instructor of the School of Visual Arts and Design, Film Division.


Filmmaker Forum

Friday, April 17, 2–3:30PM at Regal Winter Park Village



The Florida Film Festival hosts some of the most talented new independent filmmakers every year and always sets aside one day just to pick their brains. This lively and dynamic exchange of ideas and know-how inevitably defines a high point in the festival—peppered with tales of triumph, challenge, and creative methods. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime airing of artistic laundry by the filmmakers who get the job done. FFF selections committee member and Rollins College Professor Denise Cummings, Chair of the Department of Critical Media and Cultural Studies, will moderate.


For those who love a great party (we do!):


All parties take place at Enzian Theater, unless otherwise stated.


Opening Night Party

8PM–2AM at Enzian and Eden Bar

8–9PM: Eden’s Cocktail Hour

9–11PM: Food will be served

Drinks will be available all night


Film & Party ticket price $110

Film ONLY ticket price $25

Party ONLY ticket price $95


Celebrate opening night and sample food and cocktails from your favorite local spots.

Participating restaurants and bars include Brio Tuscan Grille, K Restaurant, Swine & Sons, Soco Thornton Park, Tito’s Vodka, Brown Distributing, Rogue Pub, Terrapin, and more!

Locally Fresh!

Saturday, April 11, 11AM–12:30PM at Enzian

Sponsored by Edible Orlando

Tickets are $12 each


Don’t miss this delicious afternoon of local eats and a sneak peek into the world of farming, featuring Lake Meadow Natural Farms, Palmetto Creek Farms, Olde Hearth Bread Co., and East End Market. Tastes and live cooking demonstrations are included in ticket price.


Locally Fresh! Farmers Market

Saturday, April 11, NOON–2:30PM on the lawn at Eden Bar 

FREE and open to the public

After the Locally Fresh! event, head right out to the lawn at Eden Bar for a farmers market. Guests will get a chance to talk to the famers and other local vendors as well as purchase goods to take home and enjoy.

Whole Foods Market Tasting

Saturday, April 11, 5:30PM – 7:30PM at Enzian and Eden Bar

Sponsored by Whole Foods Market


FREE and open to the public


Sample a delightful spread of natural and organic tastes from Whole Foods Market.  These appetizers are complimentary for festival attendees.

Sunday Brunch Buffet

Sunday, April 12, 11AM–2PM at Eden Bar

Price: $13.99


Enjoy brunch with friends and compare notes on all things Florida Film Festival!  This mouth-watering brunch prepared by Enzian’s chef is sure to leave a good taste in your mouth! No ticket necessary.


Festival Block Party

Sunday, April 12, 3–5PM at Regal Winter Park Village

Sponsored by Winter Park Village

510 North Orlando Avenue

Winter Park, FL 32789


FREE for Festival ticket and pass holders


Look for the Winter Park Village fountain located across from the Regal cinema for a Block Party celebration of the Florida Film Festival. Festival ticket and pass holders will receive free drinks and appetizers from select Winter Park Village restaurants and also enjoy live entertainment by renowned electronic violinist Jarred Burnett. Space is limited so plan to arrive early.


Awards Bash

Saturday, April 18

5–6PM Awards Ceremony at Enzian

6–8:30PM Dinner Buffet and cash bar at Eden Bar

7–10PM Live music with The Legendary JC’s and cash bar at Eden Bar


Ticket price: $45 in advance, $50 day of event


Have you picked your favorite films of the Festival? At the annual Awards Ceremony, you’ll be among the first to find out if they’ve won! Don’t miss this exciting and fun opportunity to hang out with filmmakers as the big winners are announced. Dinner is included in the ticket price and will be served after the Awards Ceremony.


Sunday Brunch Buffet

Sunday, April 19, 11AM–2PM at Eden Bar

Price: $13.99

This is a perfect time to enjoy brunch with friends and compare notes on all things Florida Film Festival! This mouth-watering brunch prepared by Enzian’s own chef is sure to leave a good taste in your mouth! No ticket necessary.




“10 days of Awesome” A look at the Florida Film Festival

By: Nando Luis Torres

Each year the Florida Film Festival is the site of one the most anticipated events in Central Florida. Showcasing ten days of film, foods, and fun. The Florida Film Festival is a special event that filmmaker and film lovers alike will never forget.

Recently the Top 5 team went the span of the ten day festival, which went from April 4 throughout the 13th, and it quickly became evident that finding just the Top 5 reasons to attend this event was going to be difficult, simply because there was so much there to love.

The Florida Film Festival now in its 23rd year is an annual event that premieres the best in independent and international cinema. This years festival featured an astounding 170 plus films representing 26 countries. Of the films selected for this years event 137 of them had premiere status at the fest. Henry Maldonado, President of the Florida Film Festival stated “The Florida Film Festival continues to attract independent filmmakers in record numbers. With so many films appearing on Florida screens for the first time, our audience has the chance to experience amazing stories with a broad range of themes, styles, and surprises. There really is something new and exciting for everyone to explore this year.”

After ten days of fun we had to sit down and narrow it done to our Top 5 reasons to attend the Florida Film Festival and here they are.

  1. Films: If you are a fan of movies then welcome to paradise.
  2. The Food: From brunches to food tastings the Florida Film Festival will make sure you wont need to reach for the popcorn when watching the films, but its always recommended because who doesn’t like popcorn while watching movies?
  3. Panels: If you are a looking to further yourself as a film maker, then make sure to sit in on one of the many panels the fest has to offer.
  4. Special Guest: Love meeting your favorite movies stars? Then your in luck, because the Florida Film Festival has them. This years special guests included Susan Sarandon, Paul Sorvino, Giancarlo Esposito, and Shawn Christensen.
  5. Last but never least The Parties: From the Opening Night party to the Award Bash, The Florida Film Festivals offers you the chance to mingle with filmmakers and fans alike to eat drink, talk about your favorite films, or just have a good time.

One special mention I have to acknowledge is one particular film block form the Florida Film Festival, “The Best of Brouhaha.” The great thing about this block of films is that all 14 films showcased in this block are made in Florida or by Florida filmmakers. Giving the opportunity for local filmmakers to show the great working coming out of our state.

So if you are looking for a one of kind experience, then keep up to date with the Florida Film Festival by visiting their website at www.floridafilmfestival.com and join us next year for what is surly going to be another year of “Awesome.”


My Florida Film Festival Experience, so far

First, I should point out, this is my first post here, at Central Florida Top 5. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the team. I have been a huge fan and supporter. I could bore you with my stories of living in/out of Central Florida for the last 20 years (no matter how many times I leave, I keep coming back); but I think I can save that for another day.

A little background, though, on my Florida Film Festival history.

I have been a photographer for the Florida Film Festival events for the last five years. It has, most definitely, been the highlight of my year for the last five years. I take of work (because I have a ‘normal job’). I usually stay in a hotel (having living in DeLand, and Daytona for every year prior). I completely fill my entire day. I photograph every bit of the festival. I love it. I truly do.

This year, I wasn’t on the photographer list; and I was crushed. Central Florida Top 5 came to my rescue and asked me to take pictures at the Opening Night Party. I could not have been more happy. I actually cried on my way home. I was so happy to be able to do what I want to do, to do what I’m good at – photographing the Florida Film Festival.

So, here I am – I’ve attended a few things, so far. I’ve participated in some behind-the-scenes events as well.

First experience – my boyfriend is on the UCF Marketing Team for a film – Copenhagen. You can check out the facebook page, here. I got to watch this film with him, in preparation for the marketing/festival madness. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I was quite impressed, as it didn’t initially sound like something incredibly moving. It was. I think there are parts of us that can always relate to the characters/situation of this movie. I highly recommend the watch, if for no other reason than to be able to speak to you about it – we don’t have to agree! Either way, I ended up hanging posters around town (Mills, to be exact).

We were kind of worried about attendance – because the Weekly wrote a horribly scathing review, just tore the movie apart. However, I went to the premier, and it was packed! There were tons of people, and tons of ballots. Even Gabriel Byrne came out of the movie! I was incredibly pleased, and super excited for the Director, Mark Raso – as the film is playing in half a dozen festivals this month! Good news, all around. In case you missed the film, it’s playing again on Friday, April 11th at 1:15pm, at Enzian Theater.

Second experience, I got to hang out with the Orlando Weekly, and the guys at STARTFEST. They’re a student-only film festival – taking high school and college film submissions. I think it’s a great organization – the founder, Kyle Snavely, was always being asked by his students on where to submit their films, and he realized that there weren’t any student-festivals. Sure, there are festivals with student categories, but nothing primarily student-oriented. So, now there’s an opportunity for students in Florida to submit their films to a film festival – and four others – as submission to STARTFEST is also a guaranteed submission to four other Florida festivals. So, it’s a great networking and learning opportunity, as you get personalized feeback from their panel, if nothing else. An overall win-win.

Third experience, I was immensely excited to get to see Bill Plympton‘s Cheatin’. Now, for those who aren’t familiar – Bill Plympton is actually the artist behind the walls at Eden Bar. He’s also been endorsed by Quentin Tarantino. Anyway, this film was great – it was everything an adult could hope for in an animated movie. Bill’s intro was great, too – he explained that he wanted to do another animated feature, he wanted something that he believes the public actually wants to see. He explained the sketches and artistry; how it just feels so organic and unique; not like the computer-animation of today. He hosted a kickstarter to raise funds for the film, as it went a bit over-budget. And, jeez, I’m so glad everything worked out. It’s a great film, another great addition to the Bill Plympton collection. Futhermore, he stuck around afterward for a Q&A and sketching.

While waiting to see Cheatin’, I got to meet and hang out with Ron Judkins. He’s the director of another festival film, Finding Neighbors. I was happy to find out he is also a big fan of Bill! I got to speak a little about his film, as well. He’s a very cool guy! His film is playing again on Thursday, April 10th, at 7:00pm, at the Regal – He and other members of his production team will be in attendance! You should definitely check that out, as well!

Overall – I’ve been very please with my experiences. Things are about to kick it into high gear for me, though. I have booked the remaining days, and am pleased to announce I’ll get many interviews and Q&A’s out of it. I’m very much looking forward to it. Anyway, I hope this has been informative and enjoyable. I am thinking the next few updates will go over more smoothly!


Surprise Wedding Proposal at Enzian Theater on CNN!

Orlando creative and professional Sound Mixer, John Sessoms, proposed to his fiance, Kelly Stoyer, in a very unique way – at our own Enzian Theater in Maitland! Amaka Ubaka from CBS affiliate Local 6 WKMG first caught wind of their story, then it went national via CNN! A month in the planning and ten minutes in length, it’s definitely worth a watch…

Here’s what CNN had to say…


We’ll see you at the wedding… right? 🙂

Fight Club for Enzian’s Danielle

Never again will we think of Fight Club just the same!

Join us in   “Fighting For Danielle”

Help Enzian support Danielle on her road to recovery from a recent motorcycle accident!

November 21st (with an additional screening on November 24th)  (Full Details)

10PM (Silent Auction/Happy Hour), 11:59PM (Screening)

Tickets – $10

Special Happy Hour and Silent Auction featuring items from local restaurants, entertainment venues, retail stores, and much more!

10PM – Silent Auction and Happy Hour begins.
11PM – Silent Auction ends and winners are announced.

Payment for Silent Auction Items will be Cash/Check only.

Can’t attend, but still want to help? Donate here!

More details HERE