One of the worlds most inviting film festivals is located in Central Florida. The Love Your Shorts Film Festival (LYSFF) located in Sanford Florida just wrapped up their 6th annual film festival. LYSFF is a film festival dedicated to short film. Submissions from all over the world are reviewed and top notch films are screened at the Wayne Dench Performing Arts. Festival attendees vote on their favorite films for each film genre.
Comedy, drama, documentary, animation, Sci-Fi/ Horror, Florida Flavor (films made in Florida or by residents of Florida) and E for Everyone (family friendly films) genres are accepted and compete for awards and honors.
As described above, LYSFF is typical of many film festivals. However, what makes Sanford’s LYSFF special are the warm and welcoming people who run the festival, the local businesses and the people of Sanford who come out and support the festival.
The festival staff and volunteers led by the festival president Nancy Kruckemyer work tirelessly to put on a great festival. Festival director Nelson Beverly smoothly executes the festival while still being attainable and welcoming. While attending the festival I noted Beverly worked with his dedicated staff from opening to closing to bring an enjoyable festival. Festival staff and volunteers ended their long days each evening by accompanying filmmakers and attendees to after party events at local businesses.
LYSFF Sponsor speaking before the drama block
Various businesses in central Florida helped to sponsor the festival. While each block of films were sponsored by local businesses from Sanford. The local community involvement is what makes the festival different in for attendees and filmmakers. VIP area for filmmakers and special guests of the festival are a nice perk for the growing festival. Filmmakers gathered and discussed their current and upcoming film projects in the VIP area.
The LYSFF is a rare gem where attendees can see ALL festival films when a weekend pass is purchased. Most film festivals schedule films simultaneously, which requires attendees to pick and ultimately miss other films. The $55 weekend pass is truly a bargain when compared to festivals like Sundance where a festival pass is $3000. The screening blocks allow attendees to take have lunch and dinner without missing films. A generous hour for lunch and 2 hours for dinner. This works well to visit local restaurants.
Filmmakers love the festival also. Its pretty evident that the strong community effort makes the festival a special place, but for filmmakers their festival badge is essentially a weekend celebrity identifier. Sanford businesses come together to make the filmmakers visit to the city and festival a great experience. Filmmaker Lukas Hassel and Dale Metz spoke graciously about the festival, Sanford and people who made the event special. “The Love Your Shorts Film Festival is a gem of a festival. The people who put on the festival are very generous and welcoming”, Hassel said.
If you haven’t attended LYSFF in the past, plan to attend next year in 2017. The festival usually occurs each year near valentines day. Which is quite appropriate, not only because LYSFF loves short films, but because everyone appears to love the festival.
Live music at LYSFF
2016 LYSFF voting via text message
2016 LYSFF filmmaker panel
2016 LYSFF Film Block Q&A
2016 LYSFF Film Drama Block winner Director Mana Handel and actor Randolph Handel