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Film Reviews
 
30 Years Of Film As Art - Florida Film Festival 2021
| Thursday, 04.08.2021, 04:23 AM |   (524 views)


Florida Film Festival 2021 – The Pre-Fest Edition

It’s April, and the Florida Film Festival, in returning to Winter Park’s now socially-distanced-temperature-checked-masked-and-gloved-waitstaff-Covid 19-ready Enzian theater, is hoping that film-lovers will also be returning to celebrate the silver screen at this, the 30th Annual Fest.

Last year’s Fest was postponed from April and re-slotted for August.  Just being able to hold a Fest under Covid duress was a success in itself.  As in years past, in-person passes, packages and priority access are available for those who relish sharing their experience in the company of strangers, though at tables comfortably 6’ away.

Unsurprisingly, in-person turnout for the 29th was low, but many people were able to indulge their passion virtually, from the comfort and safety of their own couches.  The 30th is adding last year’s virtual viewing option to this year’s model, with 159 films being offered in a variety of virtual packages.

Virtual world has been tweaked from last year.  This time around some of the films have limited viewing slots, with limited ticket availabilities.  There is no ‘one-price buys all’ shopping experience either, which was an amazing bargain that this reviewer glommed onto for the 29th

Pre-covid, attendees had to carefully schedule their FFF experience, negotiating travel and parking time from the Winter Park Regal Theater to the Enzian to determine what they could see and when.  Ah, those were the good old days, when you could opt for in-person QnA’s with filmmakers and jockey for a parking spot.  Since Covid is still with us, the temporarily shuttered Regal was omitted from the schedule as there was no way of knowing what, or when, our new normal would be. 

Yet, there are silver linings to having the FFF in only one theater.  If you’re going to spend your entire day at the Enzian, your car can remain parked and you don’t have to worry about traffic or scheduling.  Or just Uber it; leaving a space free for someone else and allowing you to enjoy a fresh cocktail at the Eden Bar.  Another plus: to make up for the lack of multiple screens, the 30th has extended the run from 10 days to 14, giving attendees an additional four days of Festing. 

Of the films selected for the 30th FFF, 151 have premiere status, including 23 world premieres.  And since the FFF is a conduit to the Oscars® for their Short Film categories, I expect the Shorts to be sellouts, both on-line and in person.  Who doesn’t want to be among those who can say “I saw it first” when the nominees are announced Oscar night?  

How potentially rewarding is it for a filmmaker it to have their Short Film play at the FFF? Well, here are some stats that deserve bragging rights.  According to Matthew Curtis, Programming Director of Enzian, Eden Bar & Florida Film Festival, this year’s Oscar nominees include two films from the 29th FFF, Feeling Through and If Anything Happens I Love You, and a pair from this year, A Concerto Is A Conversation and White Eye.  FFF 2017 included Heaven Is A Traffic Jam On The 405 which captured the Best Documentary Short; the 2019 FFF included Life Overtakes Me, which was nominated for an Oscar in the same category. In the Live Action Short category, Nefta Football Club (FFF 2019) was nominated.  In the Animated Shorts category of Oscar nominees, you’ll find Negative Space and Weekends (both FFF 2018), followed by Sister  from FFF 2019.

The Opening Night film is Because of Charley, and it is a World Premiere.  The premise involves swirling cultures and swirling winds, as it takes place in 2004, just when Hurricane Charley has come to call on Florida's Celebration community.  This is the one film that is having two showings at the Fest and is not available virtually.  Filming was completed in 21 days and is the first SAG Covid-compliant feature film completed in Florida during the pandemic.  Now that's dedication to your art.

So however you choose to Fest the 30th, the popcorn is ready and the films are waiting.  I’ll be back soon with my picks and omits.  Remember, it’s a festival - you’re not expected to thumbs up everything, or even agree with me.  If you'd like to purchase or preview what's coming up at FFF 30, click HERE

Let the movie magic begin.


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 29 years as well as the World Peace Film Festival. She was a columnist for Lady Freethinker, ShelterMe.tv and Examiner.com.  She has been a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper and now for In Focus Magazine. 


Lisa Blanck can be reached at: [email protected]




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