- April 8, 2015
The 22nd annual Florida Film Festival took place April 5 through 14, and attracted more than 20,000 film lovers during the events that took place in Maitland (at Enzian Theater), in Winter Park (both at Regal Theaters and Central Park) and in Winter Garden. It was a blast!
I’ve covered the event for the past 17 years for both WPRK-FM 91.5 radio in Winter Park and for this newspaper. Never before have the festival events been so well received by festivalgoers, and so painstakingly put together by festival organizers.
My favorite moments of this year’s show were “An Evening with Tippi Hedren,” the leading lady of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” shot in 1963 and screened at Enzian before a crowd of about 250 people. The actress took the stage after the screening and talked about her experience making the flick and her animal rights advocacy actions. Afterwards, audience members got to ask questions. I asked her if there was any connection between the name of her daughter, Melanie Griffith, and the name of the character she played in “Birds,” and she said, “No connection.” Melanie was born in 1960.
Then there was sort of a modern cult movie named “The Princess Bride,” which included brunch with leading actor, Cary Elwes. He stuck around to answer about 50 questions and then signed posters and posed for pictures with some of his adoring fans.
The festival normally presents independent or foreign films, and showed approximately 150 films of the more than 1,500 that were submitted for presentation. Many were just a riot! Others were quite serious and all in between. Even though I managed to get to the festival all 10 days, it was just simply impossible to make it to screenings of all 150 films. I thoroughly enjoyed a French movie with English subtitles called “Renoir,” a story of the famed French impressionist artist later in his life. It was so very real to me, and I suppose it didn’t hurt that the filmmakers didn’t leave anything to imagine when showing him painting a nude model.
There were private parties and parties open to the public that went well, with a salient exception, which I won’t get into here. At Enzian, all the movies were screened in the cafe theatre where you could order off of an extensive menu. The food and drink were delicious, and made movie going an even more enjoyable experience.
It was a pretty simple task to look at the reviews in our local newspapers, buy your tickets online or at the box offices, and attend the festival. Tickets were $9; the public parties were $20; the “Evening with Tippi Hedren” was $30 and very well worth it.
Kudos to our pillar of independent film enlightenment, Matthew Curtis, who is in his 12th year as head of programming for both the Florida Film Festival and Enzian Theater.