The Central Florida Film Festival will be moving to a new venue after this year
OCOEE For the past nine years, the Central Florida Film Festival has been held at the West Orange Cinema in Ocoee, but this year will be its last.
Next year, the local festival will be moving to a new location in Mount Dora.
“We’re going to move to Mount Dora because it’s better located, and they’re festival oriented,” said Executive Director Bob Cook.
In addition to the change of location, the nonprofit will also be undergoing a change of leadership as Cook has decided to step down at the end of this year and hand the reins over to Brenden Rogers. Cook said that the reason for the change of direction was to infuse the organization with new ideas so it can continue growing in the coming years.
“(Rogers) will take it in a new direction,” Cook said. “He was actually the one who suggested moving (the festival) to Mount Dora. He’s got enthusiasm and a lot of great ideas. He’s a real movie buff, and he’s got his own movie company. I think he’ll be perfect.”
This year’s festival, which is its 12th year of operation, kicks off on Friday and lasts until Sunday. The festival includes 70 films, including short films, documentaries and foreign films representing 11 different countries. Showtimes start as early as 9:30 a.m. on all three days.
There are several highlights of this year’s event, Cook said, including visits from several Hollywood celebrities.
Friday night will feature the world premier of “Garlic and Gunpowder.” After the film, a question-and-answer session will be held with director Harrison Smith and leading actress Felissa Rose.
On Saturday, the festival will host a special fundraising event for the onePulse Foundation, which will be hosted by Lee Meriwether and Jeffrey A Johns. The featured films during this fundraiser will be “Tolerance,” “Hookup,” “The News Today” and “Still Waiting In The Wings.”
Addition Q&A sessions will be held - one on Saturday with actor Robert Carradine and another on Sunday with actor John Ashton.
Of all the films entered into the festival, Cook recommended “Treasure,” which was written and directed by University of Central Florida graduate Chris Williamson.
“It’s a coming of age kind of movie, so it’s something the whole family can enjoy,” Cook said.
Cook estimates that about 200,000 people will attend the weekend-long event.
“It’s bigger and better than it’s ever been,” Cook said about the festival.
Looking ahead, Cook said he is excited to see how the festival will continue to evolve as it transitions into a new phase.
“It’s like anything else, we don’t want it to get stagnant,” he said.
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].