The Enzian Theater, identifying itself as “the best little arthouse in America,” sits modestly in the heart of Maitland. Enzian’s tagline of “Film, Food and Friends” fittingly parallels with the event that the theater has become the most known for: the Florida Film Festival.
“A lot of people refer to us as the ‘festival with a heart’ because we’re all about hospitality,” said Valerie Cisneros, marketing manager for the Enzian. “Enzian’s tagline is ‘Film, Food, Friends’ and [the film festival] is no exception. That’s our main focus – we want the films we show and the food we serve to be exceptional and we want that to bring people together.”
From April 8 to 17, thousands will flock to the Enzian at the 25th annual Florida Film Festival to indulge in hours upon hours of cinema, as well as an abundance local food and drink at one of the top-50 ranked film festivals in the world.
This year’s festival will showcase more than 180 films with filmmakers representing 36 countries. The Festival pays particular homage to short films, earning it accreditation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Live Action Short Film, Animated Short Film and Documentary Short Film categories.
On the festival’s opening night, the debut movie will be “The Lobster,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos in his English language film debut with a cast that stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. This satirical film — about single people having 45 days to find their true love or else they are turned into the animal of their choice — promises to entertain, but with an acquired taste.
“I just love the diversity and filmmaking talent that will be on display in this year’s lineup,” Florida Film Festival programming director Matthew Curtis said in a press release.
Along with “The Lobster,” other noteworthy films and events are “The Family Fang” featuring Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman in Bateman’s second directorial role. And the festival will host special guest appearances by Mark Duplass, known for his work in the HBO series “Togetherness,” as well as FX’s “The League,” and Sissy Spacek, known especially for her leading role in the horror classic “Carrie.”
The Florida Film Festival is known for being a festival for moviegoers in particular, with more of a focus on the love of movies rather than the promotion of the films themselves. All of the movies are independently made and the Enzian Theater is a not-for-profit establishment.
“I can say that film and art in general are things that all of us are passionate about, which is also what sets us apart from other festivals.” Cisneros said. “Unlike Sundance, Toronto, and Cannes, our festival really isn’t a business festival. It’s more about appreciating the filmmakers for everything they do and providing them with an opportunity to get honest feedback from our movie-loving community.”
This will be Cisneros’ third Florida Film Festival with the Enzian, helping people bond over the joy of film.
“We want our patrons to mingle and make friends, to have interesting conversations with one another, to share ideas, and to bond over all of that.” Cisneros said.
There are a variety of ticketing options over the duration of the festival that include individual tickets at $11 for a regular movie after 5 p.m. and then $9 for a matinee.
Other ticket plans include packages and passes. There are three different ticket package options at $50 for five films, $95 for 10 films and $180 for 20 films.
Along with packages is ticketless entry through passes, which includes a $99 option to all matinees during the festival, a $350 option for ticketless entry to all regular films for all 10 days, a $600 option for early access to all films, as well as press screenings and finally, a $1,500 option that allows all-access entry to all films, events and parties throughout the entire duration of the festival.
For the Florida Film Festival’s opening night on April 8, there will be a party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Moviegoers can purchase a $110 voucher to attend both “The Lobster” and the party, or individual tickets to either event at $25 for just the film and $95 for just the party. The party will feature food and drink from 10 local restaurants and 11 local bars.
The Florida Film Festival encourages all moviegoers to get to the theater at least 45 minutes early if he or she hasn’t purchased a ticket, package or pass beforehand. For additional information about the festival, visit floridafilmfestival.com.