In Focus-Magazine
Award wining Film, Television and the Arts Magazine
Friday, 05.20.2022, 08:03 PM (GMT) Home Faqs RSS Links Site map Contact
::| Keyword:       [Advance Search]  
All News  
In the News
Guest Editorial
Ellen Jacoby
Bollywood Flyover
Law 101
Lori Wyman
Directors Chair
Films Made In Florida
Film Reviews
Stunt Work
Pensacola Connection
Women in Film and Television
Lego Land
Letters to the Editor
CD Review
::| Newsletter
Your Name:
Your Email:
Film Reviews
2020 Florida Film Festival Made Real!
| Sunday, 07.26.2020, 09:18 PM |   (1831 views)

Waaaayyy back in March 2020, before the world went sideways, the Florida Film Festival volunteers were treated to a cornucopia of digital visual delights when we gathered at the Enzian theater in Maitland, Florida.  That is, the ebullient theater staff gave us the rundown and lowdown of the features, shorts and special events expected to comprise the 29th Annual Florida Film Festival.  We got our t-shirts and much-treasured badges, both of which give volunteers entrée into the festival films and parties. 

As one of those volunteers, and also as a reviewer, based on the pre-screened clips, I can tell you that the hundreds of hours I expected to spend watching, discussing and writing about the more than 180 films planned for April 17-26, 2020, was going to be time well spent.  Meeting the filmmakers and chewing the fat about their films and upcoming projects at the laid-back Eden Bar.  Internationals, music-fests, food-fests and secret midnight movies. Short films, which are always such a mixed bag.  As Programming Director, Matthew Curtis says, ‘if you love everything, we’re not doing our job.’  We were all abuzz with pleasure and anticipation.

And then, as the saying goes, Man makes plans ...  Well, it appears that God apparently blew a huge raspberry at the world.

Along with every other part of our lives that's been postponed or cancelled locally, few expected that which had been a year in planning by Festival staff, filmmakers and distributors, to emerge in any viable fashion, if at all.   

No theaters were open.  No planes were flying.  No hotels, no restaurants.  No touching, breathing or eating in the vicinity of others.  Our lives basically came to a standstill; we were all in a holding pattern for months.

There were a few sparks of light.  In the interim, and even as of this writing, Enzian staff are successfully bringing a variety of films into homes through virtual media. 

Through their Enzian On Demand series, for around $10 you are able to stream new and classic films into your home, through Chromecast, Firestick, AirPlay, Apple TV, Smart TV and other mediums.  I’ve watched a few that way, as have other film-deprived people I know.

And then, sloooowly, the curve began to flatten and we were allowed to regain somewhat of a life again, outside our own homes.

With mandatory and necessary precautions, stores and restaurants were allowed to open.  Facilities and libraries.  Drive-in movies became viable, if you were able to snag a spot.  

Then suddenly, about 30 days ago, what looked to be totally impossible three months ago became a reality.  Volunteers like myself got the word that the Festival was going to reemerge! It will be running August 7-20. Most films will have only ONE screening.  Since the screening partner, Regal Winter Park, is still closed, films will only be shown at Enzian.  Seating will be limited.  Social distancing will be observed.  Masks are mandatory, unless you’re eating.  Temperatures will be taken at the door. 

Having already attended some previews for the Festival, as well as some non-Festival films, I can tell you that I feel very safe in the theater.  Whether I’m seated alone, or with my personal party, the staff are definitely going to every extent to follow the directives of the CDC.  Temperatures are taken at the door.  Seats and tables have been removed.  The food is still excellent. The films top-notch.  And the previews, for the most part, have been terrific.  And, as the days follow, I’ll share my recommendations.

In the meantime, please note that no additional badged passes are being sold, so if you have one, you’re golden.  Single tickets will be available for sale, but get them EARLY.   Last year, many shows were sold out, and that was with the mega-seated Regal Winter Park in the mix. 

However, there is an added, unexpected bonus that Covid has brought film lovers.  This year you don’t have to actually attend the Festival in person to catch a particular digital treat.  No lines.  No parking.  No driving.  No catching anything that you’ve spent months in isolation trying to avoid. 

Beginning Wednesday, July 29th, for the very affordable sum of just $40 you can purchase a virtual pass!  This virtual pass will provide access to a platform similar to Enzian On Demand, as mentioned above.  The pass will enable you to screen many films from your own home during the festival run; that is, from 8/8-8/20/20.  There will be only type of pass available, instead of the Producer, Film Lover, etc. levels previously sold.  Single film purchases will not be available, but for that $40, you can see almost every film in the entire festival.  Now that’s a good deal for anyone in need of some visual stimulation, especially if you’ve exhausted your binge-watchlist.  The final line-up will be announced the same day, Wednesday, 7/29.  Note also that, akin to actual seating, there are not unlimited slots to watch a film using the virtual pass.  Distributors will have a set number of sign-ups available. It’s recommended that you don’t wait for the last minute to jump in line.  

So here we are, mid-Covid 19, salvaging in a big way what, at first glance, should have been a total disaster for Film Festival lovers.  Though we’ve all been handed some horrible lemons these past few months, Enzian has found a way to serve up some delicious lemonade.  I hope you’ll join me… virtually that is, and drink in what the Florida Film Festival 2020 is serving – a bucket-full of mind blowing movies.

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor for In Focus Magazine.  She's been a News Editor at NBC affiliate WESH2 in Orlando for more than a decade. She was formerly with WKMG6 for 14 years as a News Editor. She spent nine years in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and MTV Networks. She also worked as an on-air host for local cable access programs. Lisa has covered the Florida Film Festival for the past 28 years as well as the World Peace Festival. She was a columnist for Lady Freethinker, a featured columnist for and for the now-defunct  She has been a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper and now for In Focus Magazine. 

Lisa Blanck can be reached at: [email protected]

    Tell friend       

::| Events
May 2022  
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

[Top Page]
adding="0" cellspacing="0">
[Top Page]