Tag Archives: Florida Film Festival

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.

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

Celebrate Florida Filmmakers at Florida Film Festival 2016

The Florida Film Festival has revealed this year’s program, which is chock full of parties, discussions and special guests! Tonight, Maitland’s own Academy Awards® qualifying film festival opens with its classic Opening Night Party featuring a film called The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Colin Farrell.

While we are excited to welcome actress Sissy Spacek and director Mark Duplass to Central Florida, we are even more excited to see Florida’s awesome filmmakers up on the big screen! Be sure to follow Top 5 contributors (and filmmakers!) Rich, Jay, Allen, Jen and first time guest contributor Christopher Collins for live updates from #FFF2016!

At Enzian Theater’s annual Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase, a mix of 13 schools (nine colleges & four high schools), 7 FilmSlam Winners, and many other independent entries (totaling 62 films!) were screened. Twelve films, made right here in Florida, were selected by a combination of jury and audience votes to screen as part of the Florida Sidebar in this year’s Florida Film Festival (April 8-17, 2016), sponsored by Full Sail University.

Below is the program for Florida Shorts: The Best of Brouhaha followed by three great Florida centric documentaries! If you see one of the filmmakers at this year’s fest, be sure to give them a high five! Festival tickets are available for purchase online or at the Enzian box office: www.FloridaFilmFestival.com/tickets

Written/Directed by Jake Hammond, Produced by Chloe Lind, Florida State University, 6 min 33 sec

A moody 10-year-old boy, stuck at his little sister’s birthday party, slips away for solitude and encounters a malevolent presence hiding within the ball pit of a sprawling indoor playground.

Directed by Sterling Sims, Full Sail University, 8 min 37 sec
(Meet Sterling Simms at the 4/16 screening!)

The story of the owner of Florida Discount Music, Mike Della Cioppa, who turned an ailing music shop into a cultural music hub that the community didn’t even know it needed.

Written/Directed/Produced by Richard Lee, University of Central Florida, 3 min 10 sec
(Meet Richard Lee at the 4/16 screening!)

A deep sea diver finds himself stranded in a forbidden domain at the bottom of the ocean.  In the face of danger, he must seek out parts to repair his submarine.

Written/Directed by Lydia Dullinger, Produced by Brandon Cox, Florida State University, 7 min 28 sec

Lily has a rare genetic trait that’s causing her to grow wings during puberty.  Surviving high school gets even more complicated when she meets Logan, a gay teenager determined to be her friend.

Co-written/Directed by Steve Jean-Jacques, Co-written by Jordan Loscalzo, Full Sail University, 9 min 58 sec
(Meet Steve Jean-Jacques at the 4/16 screening!)

A girl with a death wish meets her mother’s new boyfriend with some mixed results.

Written/Directed/Produced by Christina Chang & Charlie Parisi, Ringling College of Art and Design, 3 min 52 sec

A strict father-son relationship is put to the test on a piñata ranch when the boy befriends one of the livestock and the ultimate sacrifice is on the line.

Written/Directed by Yiyi Yin, Produced by Saad Nawab, Florida State University, 15 min 4 sec

Xiao is so relieved after his perfect girlfriend returns to him.  But when he realizes she’s still in love with another man, he resorts to revenge…and the love of a mannequin.

Written/Directed/Produced by Paige Callan, Lake Highland Preparatory School, 6 min 8 sec
(Meet Paige Callan at the 4/16 screening!)

On the last day of her senior year, Maddie does not want to leave high school with any regrets.  She is finally ready to profess her true love to the boy she has liked since Pre-K.  But is the feeling mutual?

A very strong program from our June 2015 #filmmakers! #filmslam

A photo posted by Enzian FilmSlam (@enzianfilmslam) on

CARTERPILLAR [June 2015 FilmSlam Audience Award Winner]
Co-written/Directed/Produced by Ariel Zengotita, Co-written by Alex Zengotita, 2 min 57 sec
(Meet Ariel Zengotita at the 4/16 screening!)

A misfit toy car stars in this heartwarming, stop-motion film about loneliness and the need to belong.

Written/Directed/Produced by Grace Marrero, Florida State University, 7 min 26 sec

When animals fall victim to human-related incidents, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary heals and releases them back into the wild to once again be free.

NONE OF THAT  (Brouhaha Audience Award Winner)
Written/Directed/Produced by Anna Hinds Paddock, Kriti Kaur & Isabela Littger, Ringling College of Art and Design, 4 min 11 sec

A night museum guard discovers he’s in for more than he bargained for when a mysterious entity begins to censor all of the nude artwork.

Written/Directed by Armaan Uplekar, Produced by Aubrey Danielson, Florida State University, 13 min 44 sec
(Meet Armaan Uplekar at the 4/16 screening!)

Rhett and Deacon, white teenagers growing up in the Deep South, have blood on their hands after committing a racially motivated murder.  In the hours afterward, Rhett struggles to reconcile his guilt with his racial beliefs, while drawn to the affections of a local waitress.

Also included in this year’s program are three Florida centric documentaries;

Sponsored by Orlando Film Commission
Directed by Cecilia Aldarondo, SOUTHEAST PREMIERE/2ND US SHOWING

Twenty-five years after Cecilia Aldarondo’s Uncle Miguel died of AIDS, she tracks down his long-lost lover in search of answers as to why Miguel repented his homosexuality as death drew near. Uncovering the truth requires Cecilia to confront her family members with tough questions in an attempt to peel back the layers of denial associated with her uncle’s sexuality. Confronting her own family’s, the Latino culture’s, and the Church’s issues with homosexuality, she gives voice to his struggle for both love and acceptance. The search for answers about her uncle’s deathbed repentance becomes a complicated exploration of unresolved family drama. Stylish and unflinching in its approach, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART explores both the personal story of Cecilia’s own family conflict, and the larger story of the AIDS crisis during the 1980s and 1990s—particularly the under-explored history of the many Latino artists who died during that time.

Directed by Eric Rockey
(Meet Eric Rockey at the 4/17 screening!)

Growing up in conservative rural Florida, a six-year-old, gender non-conforming boy named Jeffrey wants to be a princess for Halloween.

Sponsored by Orlando Film Commission and Tampa Hillsborough Film & Digital Media Commission
Directed by Andrew Shea, WORLD PREMIERE
(Meet Andrew Shea, James Eowan and Udi Epstein at the 4/16 screening!)

America’s last true frontier wasn’t the Golden West. It was the sawgrass seas of Florida’s Everglades, where a few thousand Native Americans fled 200 years ago and refused to die out. From that fierce, hardscrabble lineage comes the last of the great Indian chiefs, James Billie—a man born into this century but forged by the mythology of the past—a hunter, poet, soldier, and charismatic leader of 4,000 Florida Seminoles made wealthy beyond their wildest imaginings by Billie’s invention of (mostly) legalized gaming on reservations. With a deep personal charm that works almost magical results on everything from alligators to politicians, Billie is untouchable—until hubris, that bane of every hero beloved of the gods, threatens to bring him down and tumble the empire he built for the tribe he loves.

Florida Film Festival 2016 Farmers Market

Connect with the 2016 Florida Film Festival online:

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.




Interview: Leah Meyerhoff (writer/director, I Believe In Unicorns)

So, while I was at the Florida Film Festival, I was able to catch the showing of I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS.

The film was introduced by Brian Quain (festival’s film selection committee) and Leah Meyerhoff (her IMDb), the writer and director of the film. Following the film, there was a Q&A with Leah, and one of the film’s associate producers, Hannah Beth King (her IMDb). After the Q&A, I got to take a few pictures of each of them, and the film’s UCF Marketing Team. It was at this time that I was able to speak with and interview Leah. Boy, did I have questions.

We got to speaking about the film, and how it came about. Leah had always had the desire to make a film that a sixteen-year-old her would’ve wanted to see. She wanted to make something pertinent, and something truly relatable – not a fairy-tale / hollywood-reality film.

Leah had previously, primarily, made shorts and non-features. She’d mentioned that, when she got to film school, she’d always thought that a director was more behind-the-camera only; rather than somebody who would stand to the side or out-of-frame, directing the actors. She was sort of ‘afraid’ to direct her actors. Through her experiences, Leah realized that you have to speak with your actors, you have to truly direct them, while letting them perform; this way, you get the most effective result.

Prior to all this endeavor, Leah was able to be on IFC’s Film School, which allowed her to make some connections, gain experience, and garner some financing for this next project she wanted to complete – I Believe In Unicorns.

While trying to get I Believe In Unicorns made, Leah starting calling around and asking her friends about things to do, where to go, and tip/tricks for the film. Through all these calls, she realized that there was a severe lack of help, for women-in-filmmaking. She found though, that she knew a lot of women-in-film. Through these experiences, she was able to garner some interest and support in starting her own organization – Film Fatales -to bring together (and support) women-in-film.

Film Fatales originated in NYC, Leah’s home. They meet once-a-month, discuss their projects, and go over future plans/ideas. Most recently, Film Fatales has expanded with an LA collective, as well. Through Leah’s research, and even Film Fatales, she was able to connect with Hannah Beth King (who happens to be from Central Florida!).

Casting seemed a bit tricky – certainly more detailed. One of the leads (Peter Vack) was chosen in a more conventional way – auditions. However, another one of the leads took a different approach. Leah was auditioning hundreds of girls for the lead, and just wasn’t connecting with any of them. She had a few requirements for the role – she needs a sixteen-year-old (as the role is for a sixteen-year-old) – she didn’t want an 18/20-year-old, she wanted somebody authentic and relatable. Another requirement was the maturity level – there are some pretty heavy, and then pretty wispy/young parts of the film, and there was a need for maturity – to be able to handle each aspect, with grace, and believability. Leah, actually, found the actress (Natalia Dyer) after asking the people behind True Grit what top-three actresses they encountered, when casting for the role of Mattie. When she saw/spoke with Natalia, she was sold. While casting for the lead, Leah also ran into Julia Garner, and liked her so much – she wrote the role of ‘the best friend’ just for her!

Another part of casting – Leah deciding to cast her own mother in the role of the lead’s mother. Leah’s mother, Toni, has MS. So does her character in the film. There was a desire for the mother/daughter relationship in the film to be somewhat tense, strained, and convincing. Leah admitted this relationship was a bit auto-biographical of that time-period in her life. However, Leah has since grown closer with her mother. Prior to casting her mother in I Believe In Unicorns, she had previously cast Toni in her short film, Twitch. After that experience, Toni was excited to work another another one of Leah’s projects.

Other notable experience for Leah include working on, and directing, music videos and commercials. Specifically, one of her most fond experiences on a music video was Joan As Policewoman‘s Eternal Flame. She remembers that being one for the books – just an all-around great time. Another favourite moment was working on Converse‘s ad, The Heist.

In the future, Leah just wants to keep making independent movies. She just wants to make movies that she wants to see, and movies that she wish she had seen. Leah is creating, working on, and producing other projects – including some projects by her Film Fatale cohorts! Hannah Beth King helped with the production I Believe In Unicorns, and in exchange, Leah is now helping produce Hannah’s first feature “Dirt Roads”, which they are hoping to shoot in Florida next year.

Leah is very excited about the future of I Believe In Unicorns, and what it may mean to her future in Indie Cinema.


I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS just recently played at Leah’s Alma Mater, Brown University. It is headed to the Nashville Film Festival. For more screenings, please check it out, here!

For more information on the film, check out their website and facebook.
For more information on Leah, check out her website and facebook.

“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!


Florida Film Festival 2013 Foodie Fantasy!

Still time to make reservations for Food and Events for Florida Film Festival 2013!

(Florida Film Festival 2013 BEST OF INTERNATIONAL CINEMA)

Upon arriving to Enzian Theatre we were greeted by:

Deviled Eggs

and Crustini

Film & Event Schedule HERE

Waiting for:

A Taste of Movie Magic with Francine Segan

TV personality, film buff, food historian, and cookbook author Francine Segan dishes out a taste of sweet and savory movie magic with history lessons from her book Movie Menus and film clips of favorite food scenes, all part of a lively discussion at Enzian. Get a peek at foodie film moments in classics such as Big NightBabette’s FeastAnimal House, and Five Easy Pieces. During the presentation, you can order from a special menu inspired by movie quotes as well as partake in some complimentary tastings.  Win prizes in a movie trivia contest that tests your foodie film knowledge! Top it all off with a special book signing at Enzian’s Eden Bar.

More updates soon –

See all the Food Parties and events





New British Shorts Now! Program Announced Featuring Dame Judi Dench, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hiddleston and Mackenzie Crook

The 2013 Florida Film Festival, sponsored by Full Sail University, is announcing an entertaining selection of international feature films that will captivate and excite audiences. The 2013 International Showcase released today includes the harsh tale of a loan shark enforcer with mother issues, a unique coming of age tale set against a British neighborhood, a shocking portrayal of accusation and scandal, and a Capture the Flag contest like you have never seen before.  With one Southeast premiere and other international titles in other programs to be announced by March 13th, this year’s Festival, April 5-14, is offering the best in current foreign cinema to audiences in Central Florida.

(Update: Florida Film Festival 2013 Foodie Fantasy!)

New to the Festival this year is the British Shorts Now! program, featuring several outstanding examples of UK short film. This program is filled with recognizable faces such as Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Liam Cunningham (TV’s Game of Thrones), and Mackenzie Crook (TV’s The Office).

“This is just an exceptional year for international films at the Florida Film Festival,” commented Matthew Curtis, Florida Film Festival Programming Director. “With a total of 24 different countries represented in features and shorts playing throughout virtually every section of the Festival, the world’s about to become a whole lot smaller to Central Florida movie lovers.”

The International Feature Films and British Shorts Now! program will be released online at www.FloridaFilmFestival.com this Friday, March 1.  Downloadable images will be available online atwww.FloridaFilmFestival.com/Press this Friday, March 1.

Festival passes and ticket packages are already available for purchase online or at the Enzian box office. Festival Pass Holders gain VIP access to all films as well as other great benefits.  Ticket package purchasers are invited to participate in early redemption, which gives them the opportunity to redeem film vouchers for individual film tickets before they are available to the public.  The complete Festival film

lineup will be revealed Wednesday, March 13.  Early redemption occurs Wednesday, March 13 – Saturday, March 16.  Individual film tickets will be available to the general public starting Sunday, March 17.  For more information on purchasing Festival tickets, packages, and passes, visit www.FloridaFilmFestival.com.



 BROKEN/UK (Director: Rufus Norris)

Skunk (newcomer Eloise Laurence) is an eleven year-old diabetic girl who lives with her lawyer-father Archie (Tim Roth, Arbitrage) and her older brother Jed. Though their family has been broken apart by divorce, they went through a long process with the https://noonanbrown.com/new-york-cdl-license-offenses/ attorney, they lead a regular life and share a residence in what seems like a normal British suburb. She hangs out with her brother and au pair Kasia, whose boyfriend Mike (Cillian Murphy,28 Days Later), Skunk has a crush on. But when she witnesses one of her neighbors, a mentally disturbed young man named Rick, get beaten up for something he didn’t do by bitter and angry older neighbor Mr. Oswald (Rory Kinnear, Skyfall), things begin to change.  The Opening Feature of Critic’s Week at the Cannes Film Festival and featuring a score by Damon Albarn’s Electric Wave Bureau, BROKEN is the award-winning feature film debut from theater director Rufus Norris. Its innovative, gritty, and powerful spin on British social realism and coming-of-age provides a curious look into a teenage adolescence surrounded by chaos and a seemingly commonplace suburban neighborhood that ultimately begins to crumble.

THE HUNT/Denmark (Director: Thomas Vinterberg)

Mads Mikkelsen, winner of the Best Actor prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, is brilliant as Lucas, a school teacher in a small, close-knit Scandinavian town. Lucas limps through an ugly custody battle over his son, only to have the promise of that situation’s resolution ruined by the accusation of his being a child molester. The charges come from Lucas’s best friend’s daughter in an innocent little lie and are so unfounded that he can barely bring himself to suffer the indignity of denying them. The investigation that follows is nothing compared to the nightmare Lucas finds himself plunged into by the social leprosy of his suspected pedophilia. The film’s unflinching focus on Mikkelsen’s character creates an inescapable and uncomfortable tension in this spellbinding new drama from Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration). Winner of two other awards at Cannes and Best Screenwriter at the European Film Awards, THE HUNT is a masterful piece of filmmaking.

 I DECLARE WAR/Canada (Director: Jason Lapeyre, Robert Wilson) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE

I DECLARE WAR definitely shows us a different side of war—the war games children engage in outside of school, perhaps during a boring weekend. The film follows a bunch of pre-teens as they arm themselves with make-believe weapons and real-life conflict for a contest of Capture the Flag, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Let the childhood games begin! In this war there are two teams—one led by P.K. Sullivan, a Patton fan who tries to win at any cost, and the other led by Quinn, who seems to run a group of misfits (they even have a girl on their side, which only adds to the tension). This isn’t just a battle about winning or losing. These kids all have their own issues to face, and this metaphorical war is just the place to do it. Skillfully blending fantasy and reality and boasting terrific performances from its young cast, this is an infectious film that brings us back to our childhoods, when adulthood didn’t seem that complicated from far away. Humorous and unsettling, I DECLARE WAR plays out like Roald Dahl crossed with Lord of the Flies or Son of Rambow.

 PIETA/South Korea (Director: Kim Ki-Duk)

South Korea’s daring writer-director Kim Ki-Duk (The IsleSpring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring) delivers a visceral film that is sure to provoke controversy. While the title alludes to Michelangelo’s serene statue, this movie uses a gritty, poor former factory district as the setting where Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin), a loan shark’s enforcer, works its small alleyways and tin-roofed workshops. Showing no emotion, he routinely cripples marginalized workers to collect on insurance policies from the Levitt Insurance Brokers LTD., robbing them of limbs and livelihood. The victims’ lives seem as meaningless as the detritus of the post-industrial machinery around them. For used packaging and used processing equipment go through the https://cwrresources.com.  A mysterious woman (Cho Min-soo) appears, claiming to be Kang-do’s mother. Unbelieving, he

inflicts sadistic violence and humiliation upon her, until eventually believing her story.  As Kang-do experiences new feelings, he begins seeing his victims and past actions differently, discovering guilt, remorse, and repentance.  The acting is superb, the movie grim, and the plot has some unexpected twists.  Ultimately, however, the story offers redemption and grace—or at least atonement.  Winner of the “Golden Lion” for Best Film at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival, PIETA is a gripping and provocative vision of extreme storytelling at its finest.


 FRIEND REQUEST PENDING/UK (Director: Chris Foggin)

Lifelong friends Mary (Dame Judi Dench, Oscar® winner for Best Supporting Actress, Shakespeare in Love) and Linda discuss the pitfalls, pleasures, and problems with using social networking to try and woo Trevor, the local choirmaster.

82/UK (Director: Calum Macdiarmid) FLORIDA PREMIERE

A postman (Nick Moran, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) lets us into his dark world in quiet suburbia.

I AM TOM MOODY/UK (Director: Ainslie Henderson) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE

Mackenzie Crook (The OfficePirates of the Caribbean) and his son Jude provide the voices in this charming tale of a failed adult who, as he struggles to perform on stage, is forced to confront his inner child.


A former trance DJ and ex-club promoter brave London’s restaurant world to provide the freshest buffalo mozzarella on the market. They’ll stop at nothing to be the best…even if it costs them their friendship.  This documentary won Best Short at the 2012 Chicago Food Film Festival.


This funny but moving family drama deals with how well we know, or think we know, our nearest and dearest.  Should we confront reality no matter how potentially painful that may be?

 THE PUB/UK (Director: Joseph Pierce) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE

As the booze flows, the line between who belongs behind and in front of the bar becomes increasingly blurred in this twisted tale of a day in the life of a North London pub.  Winner of the Best Animated or Experimental Short Film award at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival.


The tale of a grown man who struggles to come to terms with the death of his domineering mother, only to discover that she’s spending her “after life” very happily in a suburb of London.  Based on a short story by Will Self.



Michael (Michael Fassbender, ShameInglourious Basterds) and Liam (Liam Cunningham, Harry Brown, HBO’s Game of Thrones) are professional safe crackers who meet while doing a job to relieve an office safe of its contents.  The catch is a light-activated alarm system that forces the men to operate in total darkness.  BAFTA Award winner for Best Short Film.

About the Florida Film Festival:

The Florida Film Festival is the premier showcase in Central Florida for American independent and international film. Celebrating its 22nd anniversary, the Festival debuted in 1992 and is a core program of ENZIAN, a nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1985. ENZIAN and the Florida Film Festival have

served more than 1.5 million guests and hosted hundreds of notable celebrities, including Paul Newman, Christopher Walken, Oliver Stone, Glenn Close, John Waters, Emma Stone, Campbell Scott, James Caan, Ed Burns, Jason Lee, GenaRowlands, William H. Macy, Jon Voight, Barry Levinson, and Edward James Olmos. The Festival is funded in part by national and local businesses including Primary Sponsor Full Sail University and receives support from United Arts of Central Florida and the State of Florida, Department of the State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, and Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In addition, this project is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program.

For additional information:



Twitter:  @FloridaFilmFest

 About Enzian:

Enzian is Central Florida’s only full-time, not-for-profit cinema for first-run independent and international films, classic revivals, documentary features, and select family entertainment. Enzian, a member-supported organization serving the community for 28 years, is home to the internationally recognized Florida Film Festival and the Eden Bar.


Florida Film Festival 2013 Foodie Fantasy!