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!